By Frances O’Rourke, KeyBank Capital Region Market President
Mentoring programs are on the rise as more and more companies realize the benefits. But who reaps the rewards? The mentor, the mentee, or both? The short answer – both. Mentoring can be impactful, especially for professional women.
As more companies acknowledge the many benefits of mentorship programs, some have started to implement them across all levels of the company. According to MentorcliQ’s 2022 Mentoring Report, 84% of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs. This finding is 10% higher compared to a 2018 study from PSA Financial Advisors. But the growth shouldn’t come as a surprise. Three quarters of executives say mentoring has been critical in helping them reach their current position.
Why mentoring matters
From role model and performance manager to advocate and advisor, mentors play a multi-faceted role in helping to develop a young professional’s career. They often share their experiences and wisdom to help the next generation navigate through their personal and professional aspirations.
Much has been written about the benefits of mentorship on mentees — improved employee engagement, commitment, retention, and inclusion. MentorcliQ’s Mentoring Report also indicated that 25% of employees who enrolled in a mentoring program had a salary grade change, compared to only 5% of workers who did not participate.
For young women, in particular, mentoring can be a critical factor in their success. It can lead to the expansion of their professional networks, give them access to leadership, help generate more opportunities, and even encourage entrepreneurship.
Creating a mutually beneficial mentoring relationship
Effective mentoring can be rewarding for both mentors and mentees. For example, more and more companies are embracing what’s known as reverse mentoring, which pairs a younger professional as the mentor with an older executive as the mentee. These types of mutually beneficial, cyclical mentorships encourage diversity and inclusion, increase retention of millennial workers, and facilitate the transfer of technological know-how.
What should someone do if they aren’t seeing benefits?
Mentoring should be a relationship that is mutually beneficial, empowering, and enabling. It’s important that both parties have a clear idea of what their individual goals are and what they would like to achieve.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that a good mentorship doesn’t happen overnight. Like all relationships, it should develop organically over time. However, if one or both parties aren’t seeing benefits from the relationship, they should talk and decide if they can salvage the mentorship or if it’s best to part ways.
Five steps to consider
- If you’re looking for a mentor or mentee, check with your human resources department, a professional organization, or college alumni association.
- Be flexible and find a structure or format that works best for both parties.
- Practice active listening. Every colleague wants to feel valued and that their voice is heard, so focus on listening before jumping in with a fix or advice.
- Be open to feedback and criticism. A good mentor will provide a bit of both.
- Set clear expectations and communicate them. A mentoring relationship isn’t a clear path to promotion. It’s a path to a better, more satisfying career.
Each year Key4Women celebrates the accomplishments and achievements of women as they progress on their journey to financial wellness. Join us on June 3, 2022, at the Rivers Casino in Schenectady, NY for the annual event. This year’s keynote speaker, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, will share her remarkable story of how she chased a dream of excellence from humble beginnings in East St. Louis to become an Olympic Champion and someone who many consider to be the greatest female athlete of all time. For more information about the event and attending email Susan Zongrone at [email protected].
Frances O’Rourke is KeyBank Capital Region Market President.
She can be reached at 518-257-8733 or [email protected].
Any opinions, projections, or recommendations contained herein are subject to change without notice. This material is presented for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individual tax or financial advice. KeyBank does not provide legal advice.
Finding the Right Consultant for Your Business
A consultant can help business owners who want to develop their business in the most efficient way possible, along with those who are ready to hire a dependable and professional partner to simplify and guide them in the process. But first, you must know what kind of consultant you need. Here are some common areas of expertise:
A business strategy consultant helps generate high-level questions such as, “Where should my business aim to go in the future?” “How can I grow my business?” or “What are the greatest threats to my business?” They compile market and competitor research and analysis; monitor customer, market, industry, and other business-related trends; and provide guidance on strategic plans and goals.
An operations consultant is focused on how a business can operate more efficiently, effectively, and profitably. They crunch the data to figure out optimal production lines, how to shorten order lead times, inventory management, and how to respond to shifts in market demand and changing customer requirements.
Similar to an operations consultant, a human resources consultant is brought in to ensure that the company is effectively using its workforce to achieve its stated business and strategy goals, while also ensuring that the employees are performing at a high level of productivity and efficiency. They may establish company policy and procedures that comply with applicable laws, make recommendations on leadership, or conduct training sessions.
Accounting and Finance
This type of consultant goes far beyond running the day-to-day bookkeeping or office operations. An accounting or financial consultant analyzes financial information, sets up invoicing and payment systems, prepares financial reports and tax documents, ensures compliance with relevant financial regulations, and offers advice on improving profitability based on future costs and revenues.
Technology Information and Security
This is one of the fastest growing areas of consultancy. With the rapid growth of technology and the need for related tech support, many companies have found consultants invaluable in helping improve their systems and resulting customer experience.