The Business Roundtable today released a statement on the Purpose of a Corporation and investment in our employees was top of mind. “It includes supporting them through training and education that help them develop new skills in a rapidly changing world,” stated the document signed by Chairmen and CEO’s of Anthem, Accenture, EY, JP Morgan , Apple and 100s more.
We agree. Today’s workforce is more innovative than ever and faces unique challenges. In order for businesses to succeed, they require robust employee development and engagement strategies—strategies that must be as diverse and creative as the workforce for which they were built. Corporate mentorship initiatives are a cost-efficient, highly effective addition to training programs, ERG groups and engagement strategies that may not be reaching their full potential. Utilizing your best employee(s) as company mentors allows them to share their knowledge and experience as they help shape less experienced employees or advance high-potential talent. Here are some more reasons why corporate mentoring is vital to your company’s success:
It can be difficult assimilating into a new job and adapting to a company’s unique culture. Mentoring during onboarding is appealing to new hires because it exhibits a strong commitment from their employer to their development and training. This also enables employees to learn and adapt faster, resulting in an increase of productivity and career satisfaction. Research by Deloitte shows our younger workforce looks to work for people and companies that mentor and 79% of millennials want their managers to be mentors. There is an adage that when leaders climb the ladder they often forget the ladder is there. It is our children and our employees children on those ladders. Who will mentor them?
More than three quarters of employees have said there is a lack of career development opportunities at their companies. Corporate mentoring programs are a time- and cost-efficient method of both developing and engaging all levels of employees at the company. More experienced employees benefit from not only the satisfaction of helping mold and develop their mentee, but also by learning from and be mentored by their mentee through reverse mentoring. A mutually beneficial alliance if done right. A study on Sun Microsystems (now Oracle), by Wharton / Gartner found that people who mentored were promoted 6x more often and mentees were promoted 5x more often than people who did not participate in a mentoring program.
Many people leave their job because they don’t feel appreciated or don’t see a chance to move forward. Creating a highly effective managed mentoring program allows veteran employees to feel valued while offering career development opportunities. High potential employees thrive in businesses that provide favorable environments where they can grow. Deloitte found that retention rates are 25% higher for employees who have engaged in a company sponsored mentorship program, and mentorship decreased the odds of turnover in U.S. Army Officers by 30%. Higher retention rates mean that companies spend less money on hiring and training new talent, which is estimated by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) at 1-3x salary.
Businesses with a diverse workforce and inclusive company culture are more innovative, perform better and achieve higher revenues than less diverse companies, according to the World Economic Forum (and many other studies). One of the biggest benefits that mentoring offers is the increase of employee engagement throughout the company, and for people of all backgrounds. The support and advice of senior employees will help new employees have a better experience and feel a greater sense of belonging. The Sodexo Corporation integrated a mentoring program into its D&I initiatives and found a return of $19 spent for every $1 invested in mentoring. As people tend to seek mentors who remind them of themselves and visa versa, a little strategic planning to drive more diverse relationships goes a long way. CXO’s need to be more deliberate in who they mentor and sponsor with action planning. Did you know 86% of male executives and 64% of females who make over $249,000 a year share they have a mentor.
Knowledge is power in today’s fast-moving economy. Top executives need to share their knowledge if they want the business to continue to succeed after transition professionally. Corporate mentoring programs are the best ways to develop and groom high potential employees to replace leaders who retire, are promoted or leave the company for other causes.
Lastly, it’s a health matter. The World Health Organization recently diagnosed ‘corporate burnout’ as a disease. One of the leading causes of ‘burn out’ is the lack of human connection. Mentoring breaks down these human barriers. In our global work, we have found that less than 30% of executives share with us that they have a professional mentor and under 10% are mentoring others. Engineering human connection is not a ‘nice to have,’ its paramount to the health of your team and our companies.
If you are ready to invest in your employees and take your company to the next level, Twomentor LLC has the proven solution for you. We can help you build a happier, more inclusive and engaged workforce through mentorship. Our experienced team will develop a customized managed mentoring program based on your company’s needs. Our ratings from our last nice clients are in the 90th percentile in terms of people’s confidence in being a mentor/mentee. We work with all types of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, mid-size business, and associations. For more information call 1-833-5-Mentor, schedule a call with sophiaD@twomentor.com, or visit us at https://twomentor.com.
by Mackenzie Moore
If you’ve been paying attention to research on the latest human resources trends, you’ll know businesses are facing two major crises: competing for talent and developing innovative and effective leaders ready to face the unique challenges of the 21st century. Both of these trends were highlighted in Deloitte’s latest report on Human Capital Trends. By and large, businesses are having a hard time developing their managers, and this poses a problem for their ability to attract and retain talent. According to Gallup’s report on Designing Your Organization’s Employee Experience, “the manager-employee relationship is the most important relationship at every stage in the employee journey.”
A white paper by the Center for Creative Leadership highlights a critical gap in the talent development pipeline: 58% of first-time managers never receive formal management training or development prior to transitioning into their new role. Consequently, more than 40% of newly promoted managers fail in the first 18 months.
Numerous studies have linked mentoring managers with increased leadership potential, productivity and the success of their teams. The Association for Talent Development found that workplace mentorship of managers resulted in a significant boost in productivity of 88%, whereas training managers was associated with a 24% boost in productivity.
A meta-analysis on the effect of mentoring managers formally by Dr. Rajashi Ghosh and Dr. Thomas Reio Jr at Drexel University and Florida International University, respectively, found career and psychological mentoring were both correlated with:
The meta-analysis, published in the Journal of Vocational Behaviour in 2015, was performed on 13 published studies, 4 dissertations, and 1 unpublished study.
The research clearly shows that formal mentoring of managers is good for business. Managers that have been mentored are more committed to the organization, lead more satisfied and productive teams, and are more prepared to transition into the next level of leadership. But, companies and superiors in the organization are not investing in mentoring managers.
Heidrick & Struggles surveyed over 1,000 professionals in North America and found that only 27% of respondents report their company has a formal mentoring program and only 9% of respondents reported finding their mentor through a formal mentoring program. Investing in a formal mentoring program for managers of all levels is critical to building a productive and innovative workforce, succession planning and developing a leadership pipeline. PRO TIP: teach your managers to become mentors themselves, because over 79% of our younger workforce want their managers to be mentors as part of their management style, according to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey (2016).
Twomentor LLC stands ready to help you maximize the potential of your managers through mentorship. We will develop and manage a customized mentoring program based on your company’s objectives. Our proven initiatives foster high-quality mentoring relationships, promote productivity, and build a happier and more inclusive workplace. Reach out to our team today to learn more: SophiaD@Twomentor.com
by MacKenzie Moore, Director, Twomentor LLC
The fact that women are underrepresented in tech (and STEM jobs in general) is frankly not news: the lack of representation of women and minorities in tech gained visibility 5-7 years ago and exploded when Google and other tech companies released their diversity reports. So, what’s new? Recently, we are seeing new and exciting research pointing to the causes for the lack of diversity and solutions for shifting cultures to advance women in the workplace. Spoiler alert: think unconscious bias and inadequate support networks.
A few weeks ago, Julie Kantor (CEO of Twomentor) was speaking at the Women in Technology International conference where they, in partnership with the IDC, shared compelling evidence for the prevalence and influence of unconscious bias surrounding all forms of diversity in the workplace. The study found that across all nine categories of diversity (ethnic, age, religious, sexual, political, racial, socio-economic, gender and disabilities) men consistently rated their organizations as more diverse that women. The largest gap occurred in gender diversity, with 45% of men rating their organization as very diverse versus only 28% of women.
Across 12 statements on gender diversity and women in tech, men and women only agreed on one: “there is a lack of female candidates for STEM roles.” The responses to the other 11 statements made it clear there is a disconnect between the perception many men have of the working conditions and desires for women in the workplace and the reality reflected in the women’s responses. For example, 22% of men highly agreed with the statement “our workplace culture is geared towards men” versus 45% of women. 42% of men highly agreed with the statement “men and women in STEM roles are paid at approximately the same rate at my organization” as opposed to 24% of women. The authors point out “people simply don’t know what they don’t know” and bringing this unconscious bias to the forefront of education, training and workforce development is critical to elevating women in the workplace.
The IDC and WITI point out a common misconception that women primarily want flexibility in the workplace and job benefits. In reality, the main career gaps for women in tech are compensation and pay, work/life balance and a sense of purpose. These three gaps are closely followed by opportunities for promotion and ongoing skills learning. Given that men hold 75% of all jobs in IT, men play a critical role in filling (or making it possible for women) to fill these career gaps and changing the corporate culture of tech companies.
There is promising news: multiple studies (first a study published last February by the PNAS and now the research from the WITI conference) have shown that one promising method of elevating women in the workplace is providing and facilitating access to adequate support networks and mentorship for women.
WITI and the IDC found that use of a professional mentor is positively correlated with a 10-17% higher income for both men and women. 84% of men who earn above $250,000 have had a mentor as opposed to only 69% of women. Additionally, men with mentors receive more frequent mentorship than women, with 70% of men meeting with their mentors daily or weekly, as opposed to only 29% of women.
Researchers at Northwestern University published a report in the PNAS (see the HBR article here) show that successful men and women have very different support networks. Successful men had social networks with “centrality” – a close circle that shared information on job prospects and employers. Successful women also had high centrality, but they had an additional network of 1-3 women supporting them. The dual network goes beyond providing information on job prospects and employers—it gives them information on corporate culture, how friendly the workplace is to women, and a network to ask for support when challenges arise.
The same study found that women who had strong dual networks (high centrality like men and a female circle) “landed leadership positions that were 2.5 times higher in authority and pay than those of their female peers lacking this combination.” And if women’s networks were most similar to male support networks: high centrality and no inner circle of women, they were placed in leadership positions that were the lowest in authority and pay.
Now, it is important to note that this study was performed on MBA students and not women in tech. More research is needed to confirm that successful women across sectors succeed with similar support networks. However, the needs described by the IDC’s report on women in tech are the focus of women support networks found in the study on MBAs: the women support networks were sharing advice and knowledge of workplace culture, female friendly work policies, lack of work/life balance and opportunities for promotion,
Taken together, these studies show men and women both need to be part of the solution to advancing women in tech. A creative and holistic approach to promoting women in the workplace is necessary. First, address unconscious bias in the workplace. Open up discussions and trainings on unconscious bias in your workplace. Are there pay gaps? Are you providing women with access to a wide array of support networks? Remember, the goal is to give them a way to develop high centrality and to choose a close inner circle of women across all facets of the organization, and in their department.
Mentoring programs targeted to shift corporate culture, create support networks for women, and address unconscious bias are shown to be very effective.
Twomentor has partnered with WITI (Women in Technology International) in order to begin offering creative and long-lasting mentoring programs to WITI’s corporate membership. The partnership is built to empower the corporate partners with many mentoring options that will improve recruitment, employee engagement and retention across the globe. Twomentor’s CEO, Julie Kantor will preform the duties of Master of Ceremonies at the 25th Women in Technology Summit from June 9-11, 2019, hosted by WITI.
“Over the past 30 years WITI has been the go-to-organization for women in technology looking to advance their career and grow their community,” said Carolyn Leighton, CEO and founder, WITI. “This new collaboration will allow our corporate partners to take advantage of Twomentor’s unique mentoring programs and help drive employee retention and inclusivity.”
An Association of Talent development report has shown that 75 percent of executives believe that mentoring was a key to their success. A separate Deloitte study revealed that over 75 percent of millennials believe that having a mentor is vital to their career growth.
A report from Wharton-Gartner discovered that mentors were promoted six times more often than non-mentors, while mentees were promoted five times more than their non-mentee peers. The retention rate for both groups was as 20 percent higher. Mentoring has been proven to help develop and keep new employees and it allows current employees to excel, which saves companies as much as 300 percent the cost of constantly refilling these open positions.
With Twomentor’s unique Mentor Roadtrip Flash Mentoring, companies receive a hands-on session facilitated by our professional staff that will take the participants on a journey of mentoring. The workshop is a dynamic 60-90 minute experience that will boost your conference and create a culture of clarity around the business case and create a value proposition of mentorship, showing it to be a driver of engagement and retention for employers. Twomentor also will offer the same service to employee resource groups and associations that desire to launch their own strategic mentoring and recruitment initiatives.
“Our goal is to help create a multi-generational and gender inclusive workforce where businesses benefit from more engaged employees,” said Julie Kantor, CEO and founder, Twomentor. “By partnering with WITI, we can help companies build sustainable mentoring initiatives and further elevate women and diversity in corporate America.”
Kantor will be the emcee at the Women in Technology Summit and will also deliver the Mentor Roadtrip Flash Mentoring experience on June 11th at 8:30 PDT in order to engage the conference’s attendees and help them t support each other in the professional arena.
To learn more about Mentoring initiatives, visit www.twomentor.com today.
Oh, No. Not Matt Lauer! Did Russell Simmons just step down? #MeToo continues and seems like a slow-motion movie that plays on and on. There is a toxic vibe in the air in Hollywood, Wall Street, on Capitol Hill, weary HR executives abound. According to an ABC News- Washington Post poll, over 33 million U.S. women have been sexually harassed and 14 million abused in work-related incidents.
In the past year, I have had several companies ask if I could do a special session for high-level male employees and managers on mentoring women.
As I reflect, I have been very fortunate in my life to have phenomenal mentors and sponsors, both male and female. One male leader gave me two life-changing ‘breaks’ including his own job when he left the company. He still mentors me decades later. I have always felt a debt to him to pay- it- forward and help others, especially those getting their corporate sea-legs.
Traveling around the country, most leaders I meet (male and female) agree that they are where they are today, because someone else mentored them, saw something in them, believed in them. These are life-changing, game-changing relationships! In facilitating mentor training sessions I’ve had the opportunity to speak with executive women in almost every industry. Most share with me that men, in particular, mentored them. Men were often in higher positions of power, generous with their time, willing to make introductions.
“I would now tell men to just not do it [mentor women],” said Darren* a male entrepreneur I had coffee with yesterday as we discussed this article. “It’s too dangerous now with all the toxicity out there. You have to be ultra careful and conscientious with what you are saying.”
Will men pull back on mentoring and championing because they are afraid of being inappropriate? Fear the perception of having an affair? Decide only to mentor [or gulp- hire] other men? That would be a massive setback.
Additionally, in the workforce, we are moving to a new era of mentoring managers. The vast majority of Millennials want their managers to serve more as mentors and coaches as a management style. Mentoring is no longer a nice to have or a have to have, mentoring just IS. It is part of the new contract between progressive employees and employers.
Dr. John Soncini, Ph.D. spoke with us about how important ‘Mirroring’ is in mentoring. “We women need mirroring from male sources,” says Soncini. “Mirroring means to see yourself reflected in the eyes of the mentor (or…mother, father, husband, boyfriend, friend) as valuable: including your intelligence, capability, professionalism, attractiveness, etc.,” adds Soncini. “Women, especially need this mirroring from their fathers, so, as an extension, from male mentors too! Clearly, when the boundaries are SAFE, male mentors have a particularly strong and positive impact on the person mentored!”
As I read today about Matt Lauer’s apology as the latest #MeToo-Man-of-the-Hour, I decided that it was time to write this piece on healthy mentoring boundaries and say to men that we absolutely need you as mentors and champions.
Here are 8 recommendations:
1] JUST SAY NO– If you have a history of being accused of sexual harassment, sexual violence, you probably should find other ways to add value to the world. Don’t mentor one on one if you or your HR team feel concerned. If you are in a leadership role or management role, consider mentoring through public meetings with your team or small groups of diverse people. If you are feeling a strong physical attraction, help her find another mentor.
2] SAY YES TO MEETING IN PUBLIC– Yeah, hotel rooms are a no-go for any and all mentoring. Meet your mentee at Starbucks, in a conference room at work, have a great lunch at the new restaurant that opened up. Keep the relationship professional.
3] APPEARANCE & ASPIRATIONS– As a general rule of thumb, keep the focus on your mentee’s goals and aspirations. It’s ideal to have the mentee share 2-3 goals that are the focus of the mentoring relationship. I would keep comments about your mentee/mentor’s appearance to a minimum. “You look very professional today.” or “that’s a nice outfit.” Positively ‘mirroring’ your mentees accomplishments, efforts and sharing empathy in times of challenge are most welcomed.
4] ASK IF YOU ARE UNSURE– Ask your colleagues to help you understand what is okay or not okay. Ask for mentoring feedback. A lot has changed over the past several decades and you need to be up to speed. Something that was a compliment years ago like “spin around, let me see your new dress,” might be a threat today. Please watch this amazing video Deloitte UK put out on diversity. Best I’ve seen. STUNNING and eye-opening.
5] IT’S GREAT TO TALK ABOUT YOUR FAMILY– My mentors have been family men, and I am a family woman. They invite me to dinners or events with their kids, parents sometimes and visa-versa. They ask about my husband Marc and how my daughter is doing every time we connect. It builds lifelong friendships, trust. On the flip side, I had a potential major client behave very inappropriately after a colleague and I met with him. I used the “happily married” response following a barrage of texts that he sent following the meeting. With over 60% women being single, I realized one should not have to use the “I have a boyfriend” response. In discussions with 8 women friends, many single, we decided a clearly stated “I do not mix business with pleasure,” was a simple option to shut down these types of advances right away.
6] KEEP IT ABOUT PROFESSIONAL GROWTH– In a professional mentoring situation, I would suggest 80%-10%-10%.
I would encourage you not to delve too much into your mentees personal life too much unless he/she brings it up. Ask any HR professional and they will likely have additional guidance especially for management situations.
7] AFTER 8 IS TOO JUST LATE- Alcohol and mentoring are just not a great combination. “Lead me not to temptation…” Dinners, bars 1:1 are not ideal. I know I wouldn’t want my husband’s colleagues seeing me out for dinners with a male mentor(s)/ mentees, so I opt for lunch, coffee or a group event if I am at a conference.
8] THAT’S SOMEONE’S KID OR WIFE– Remember your mentee is someone else’s daughter (or son), mother or wife. It is such a huge honor to be able to mentor someone else’s family member in the world of work and more. How would you want a mentor to treat your own daughter or son? I often think of mentees as a little brother or sister, a niece, someone you care for and want to see grow. She does need and value your advice. It’s an incredible gift with a lifelong impact. It’s a sacred trust.
Julie Silard Kantor helps leaders build their living legacies through mentorship and sponsorship. She and her team at Twomentor, LLC are helping to build a much-needed mentoring revolution through thought living-legacy leadership work, mentor training, mentor culture building, Mentor Road Trip™ flash mentoring web sessions and more in many sectors. Two adages that drive us are:1] The people who mentor at your company are the people who drive retention at your company and 2] If you want more diversity (i.e. women in STEM), mentor and sponsor more diversely
“I’ve been mentoring for years but have never been formally trained,” shared a prominent CEO with me a few weeks ago. We scheduled three hours together and really focused on what does it take to be an effective mentor. Here are 8 of our recommendations at our company Twomentor. I’m sure you can add a few more to the comment section below.
As I cross the globe discussing the business case for mentoring, I have noticed that under 50% of professionals have a mentor… There is an opportunity to give and receive help that should not be underestimated especially if you want to increase employee retention and advance your career trajectory.
1] Listen- To be a successful mentor, you must be an attentive listener. This shows that you are genuinely interested in what is going on in your mentee’s life. Listen closely to gain a better understanding of where he/she is coming from, and to help you advise them appropriately. Find out what your mentee knows and what her/his blindspots might be as a newcomer in the working world.
2] Balanced- A mentee comes to you to share news, to ask for advice and opinions, and sometimes to let out their frustrations. Your job is not to agree with everything your mentee says, but to help him/her think rationally about situations and approach them from a level headed perspective.
3] Trust- Your mentee is going to come to you with all sorts of things, some of which may be personal or things they don’t want shared with others. He/she is telling you this because they trust you and value your advice. This is a great honor. It is imperative to keep conversations confidential and not break your mentee’s trust, unless it is a violation of HR policies or could cause real harm to the individual/company.
4] Be Open and Try Not to Judge- Mentoring requires a willingness to share about your own experiences that relate to your mentee’s queries, and be able to give thoughtful advice. Better yet, if you can lead your mentee to finding his/her own conclusions through your stories. The more open and authentic you are, the more open to sharing your mentee will be as well. You also must be open-minded. Unexpected conversations and situations are very likely, however you are here to help and advise, not judge.
5] Availability- Mentoring is a time commitment, and regular meetings are crucial in developing a good relationship. No matter how much you like your mentee, if you don’t have the time for them it is best to let them know and help them find a different mentor who can devote more time. We move into an era of skills-based mentoring as older generations are learning to pass the baton and embrace reverse mentoring in the workplace.
5 1/2] Many college students I speak with also share, they value mentors who are networked who might open some doors down the line.
6] Model- You are being watched. “Just while observing you, mentees pick up many things: ethics, values and standards; style, beliefs and attitudes; methods and procedures. They are likely to follow your lead, adapt your approach to their own style, and build confidence through their affiliation with you. As a mentor, you need to be keenly aware of your own behavior.” (E. Wayne Hart, Forbes.com)
7] Honesty- Be you. Do you. We live in an era where people would rather work for authentic leaders over ‘brands.’ “If you’re brave enough to ask your mentor for advice, he or she needs to be brave enough to give you a straight answer. If you’re contemplating taking a new job, for instance, and you explain the situation and ask for your mentor’s point of view – he or she should give it to you, unvarnished.” (Erika Andersen, Forbes.com)
8] Goal Oriented- “A good mentor continually sets a good example by showing how his/her personal habits are reflected by personal and professional goals and overall personal success.” (Franchise Growth Partners)
Today we caught up with Heather Lageman, Executive Director of Leadership Development at Baltimore County Public Schools on mentoring and our multi-generational teaching workforce… We were so taken by her thought process and observations, we wanted to share them with you!
Twomentor: How is technology impacting the Mentoring of millennial teachers? What are you seeing?
Heather: It is difficult to make sweeping generalizations about any generation (for example, I just heard the other day that a study showed that Gen Xers are more addicted to social media and are on Instagram and Twitter more than Millennials). However, it is very clear in what I am seeing that social media and technology need to be a complement to the mentoring experience, rather than the substance. Colleagues who teach online have bemoaned the lack of engagement and connection, and veteran teachers speak nostalgically about the time when a faculty was truly a family. I believe we need to be very intentional about how to use technology to provide a way to sustain face-to-face connection over time, and enhance long-distance and just-in-time connectivity, while emphasizing the humanity and personal interaction needed to build deep and meaningful relationships of mutual support and learning.
As we focus on building learner-centered environments for our students, we must also create learner-centered coaching experiences for our adults. Choice matters, and learners of all ages engage most deeply in activities that they select to meet their own individualized needs. In this time of creativity and customization, shouldn’t we all be able to create our own personalized learning experiences, especially in the mode of coaching?
In a recent blog I wrote for Learning Forward, I spotlighted the work of a district in New Jersey using Google Hangout to building a professional learning community for busy principals and leaders – but the key is that they also incorporated a balance of face-to-face and individual coaching sessions. It is all about balance, all about choice, and all about the learner.
Twomentor: We talked about Millennials preferring to connect through technology versus connecting face-to-face for Mentoring with others. Heather can you speak more to this? What do Millennials benefit from the most in a Mentoring relationship?
Heather: Just as we can’t fire our way to Finland to increase student achievement, we can’t Google our way to teacher retention, support and effectiveness. Humanity is critical and nothing can replace developing relationships, listening, and sharing experience. Many millennials have been raised in a technology-based relationship model. They have friendships based on people “met” in chat rooms, playing online video games, and on social media. We are faced with the challenge of supporting a workforce with a variety of experiences and needs. Those educators who have not engaged in deep, sustained human connection might not yet know the power of a mentoring relationship. A balanced mentoring relationship can bring them the support and camaraderie that comes with collaborative learning with colleagues of all ages.
The mentoring relationship can be mutually beneficial as both people inspire, learn, and grow together. Warren Berger, the author of A More Beautiful Question, talks about how when the world gets more complicated and complex, we need to question more because we have to be learning and changing. He asserts that we need questioning more than ever, and we are less comfortable with it. The mentoring relationship is the perfect place to build our capacity and grow as questioners….and as listeners.
Balancing the positive elements of a technological connection – the flexibility and just-in-time learning and support intrinsic in Google Hangouts, Voxer, and #edchat, with the personal connection of face-to-face reflection and conversation, make for an accessible and personalized support system designed to meet the needs of the whole person. Then everyone is afforded the powerful opportunity to feel the energy that comes together when people start talking.
Twomentor: Is there tension in education between the generations? What interventions have you found to be effective?
Heather: Once we recognize that we all have value and worth, and we all want to be truly seen and heard, then on a human level it becomes clear that we all have much more in common than we realize. One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Maya Angelou is “Do your eyes light up when your child walks into the room?” I believe this applies to everyone we encounter as people and as educators. It gets at the human connection we all crave, regardless of our generational ties.
If the culture created in a school is truly a collaborative culture and all members of the staff and community are valued, then perceived differences are embraced in positive, non-threatening way. If we are all thinking the same way, then no one is innovating, creating and exploring new ideas. It is refreshing to see a shift happening from a more traditional, hierarchical mindset where veterans received ideal schedules, duties, and rooms in the building while new teachers received the challenging schedules, students, and often had to “float” without a classroom of their own, to one where we recognize and build off of the strengths that each person, veteran or new, brings to the table. Much like the military sends highly trained individuals like Navy Seals to handle the most complex and difficult missions, in education we should do the same and incentivize sending our highly effective teachers to help our neediest children learn and grow.
As an active member of Learning Forward (learningforward.org), I am thrilled to see a concerted effort to increase collaboration across the school, especially in the form of designated time for professional learning communities (PLCs), intentional scheduling to allow colleagues to plan together, and tools that allow teachers to build a true sense that we all are needed and bring our own gifts to our work.
Celebrating each of our unique gifts and recognizing the humanity of our colleagues and our students is the most effective way to create a safe place to risk, grow and honor mutual learning. It lays a foundation of trust that is essential for truly rich mentoring. While technology can be a wonderful complement to the relationship building process in this busy world, so much of trust and vulnerability is communicated nonverbally, and so face-to-face interaction is critical to establish the trust, true connection and understanding that enable people to fully engage online.
Twomentor: How can mentoring change an organization?
Heather: I believe that mentoring is the key to transforming lives. In my work with leaders at all levels, our theme has been “We all need a coach.” Both personally and professionally, we all deserve to have an experienced, trusted advisor and confidant. Someone who can support our growth and learning. Someone who can be our cheerleader and our advocate, as well as our honest critic and facilitator of self-reflection.
My life has been changed by every person who has taken the time to coach me through different portions of the journey of my life with kindness and compassion, while helping me be my best self. The mentors in my life have provided me with a safe place to learn to fly or to just free-fall, as one of my favorite bands Florida Georgia Line would say. This is why I believe we must all “lean in” and bring others along the learning journey with us. Personalized mentoring is the best succession plan we can offer.
#Millennialteachers #twomentor #BaltimoreCounty
Heather Lageman serves as the Executive Director of Leadership Development for Baltimore County Schools in the Office of Organizational Development. In addition, she is Program Manager of The Council of Educational Administrative and Supervisory Organizations of Maryland (CEASOM) Code.org Regional Partner Program and was facilitator of the Networks and the Internet Writing Team for the K-12 Computer Science Framework. Heather is a member of the National Task Force on Assessment Education and serves on the Board of the Maryland Assessment Group. She is also President of the Learning Forward Maryland Affiliate and Chair-Elect of the Learning Forward Foundation, and Vice-President of Maryland Affiliate of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).
Julie Kantor is CEO of Twomentor, LLC. Twomentor helps companies build mentoring & sponsorship cultures with a passion for elevating women and millennials in the multi-generational workforce.
by Bridget McKeogh, Twomentor
We spoke to a dozen working millennials and asked them what they look for in a mentor. Here are the top six tips on mentoring from Millennials themselves!
Give Practical Feedback and Actionable Steps
Millennials are programmed for trial and error. They have grown up adapting to new technologies and learning new skills from watching YouTube videos. They want something to try NOW. Erik Borresen, a teacher at the Carmen Schools of Science and Technology, 27, explains that “Hands on experience is the best way that I learn.” Millennials want the band-aid ripped off. If there is something they can be doing better, tell them. Jenna Gebel, a second year MBA candidate at Wharton, wants “Candid, practical advice.” Give them an avenue to fix the problem. Michelle Sheahan, Associate Director and Budget Manager at Georgetown University says that the key is to “Provide constructive feedback. Be willing to openly discuss ways in which your mentee can improve” Alisha Glennon, 31, Vice President of Development at Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), wants you to “Use personal examples, point out concrete mistakes you made and the lessons learned.”
This might seem obvious, but be willing to text. Millennials are phone averse and often don’t even listen to their voicemail. In fact, this trend is so strong that some major companies, like Coca-Cola, are ditching their phone systems all together. Millennials are quick to respond to text messages, where it could take hours or days for a return call. Want to grab a quick coffee because your schedule opened up? Text! Otherwise you could miss the window of opportunity. We also have learned from Christopher Mims in the Wall Street Journal that to Generation Z (teens and early twenty year olds just entering the workforce) “Email is for connecting with old people, the digital equivalent of putting on a shirt and tie.” For our youngest generation, even email is outdated. Mentors must keep up with the changing technologies or they won’t be able to connect with young colleagues.
Don’t be afraid to get personal with your mentee and talk about things outside of work. Millennials want to care for and by cared by coworkers. PGi research tells us that 71% of millennials are looking for a second family at work and a staggering 88% want their workplace to be social. Almost every millennial interviewed touched on this point. Preya Nixon from the National Utilities Diversity Council, wants a mentor who “Encourages discussion about personal life AND professional life.” Jenna wants her mentor to help her “marry my professional and personal goals as a female professional.” Cynthia Bell, 26, Sales Operations Manager at Industry Dive, needs to “have almost a friendship with (her) mentor” for the relationship to be effective. Quintus Cunningham, a college senior, echoes this sentiment, “I want to feel cared about by my mentor, not just me as a student or employee, but me as a person.” Mentors, go ahead, let your guard down, tell a story, listen to their stories, offer follow-up questions the next session or a quick text of encouragement here and there. It will go a long way!
Millennials are not easily fooled. They are quick to fact-check or corroborate a story on their smartphones and have been honing this skill since the middle school. To have a successful mentoring relationship – be authentic. Our millennials interviewed kept coming back to this topic. Dylan McGuire, 23, Marketing Coordinator at Bowie Gridley Architects explained, “True mentorship comes from being able to explain actions and truly care that they get it, not just show/tell someone what to do. It needs to all feel real and honest for it to truly stick.” They want you to talk about your mistakes and why it was important that you made them. Be candid. Ryan Reese, 31, Director of Student Life at The Field School says, “Mentors shouldn’t sugar coat.” It’s important to give honest feedback in real-time. Talk about company norms and expectations. They will appreciate getting the heads up from your as opposed to reprimanded by a manager. Nervous about delivering hard news? Be sure to set up this ‘norm’ at the beginning of the relationship. Madeline Conicello, a middle school teacher, said that she and her mentor had a code-word for tough feedback, they called it a ‘band-aid moment.’ “When she told me that she had a band-aid moment coming or I saw band-aid on the agenda, I knew tough feedback was coming. I was prepared. I also knew she was telling me to help me.”
Focus on Self-Advocacy
Millennials are independent. In fact, Red Brick Research shows that 79% of millennials would consider leaving their jobs to work for themselves. This autonomy and entrepreneurial spirit has great benefits, but at what costs. Many millennials have trouble navigating and negotiating within their own company, so they leave. Teach your mentee how to advocate for themselves and work within the company. Michelle says, “Discuss explicitly ways in which your mentee can negotiate and promote themselves in the workforce. If you can provide specific numbers for industry standards or based on your experiences, that is invaluable.” Salary, bonus and raise norms are especially important for young professionals as they enter reviews or contract negotiations. Bennett Pang, biologist, 26, wants to know how you got to where you are. “I have one version of how to get ahead in my mind, but my guess is that there are loads of other avenues as well.” Show your mentee that there is no right path to success, rather many different ways to achieve.
Learn from your Mentee (Reverse Mentoring)
There are advantages to being a mentor and not only the “feel-goods” you get from helping others. Several studies have shown great benefits to the mentor including higher retention and an increase in promotions. Sun Microsystemsfollowed 1000 employees over five years and found that 25% of mentees and 28% of mentors received a raise, compared to only 5% of managers that did not mentor. Are people promoted because they are wearing their mentor ‘hat’? Of course not. They are promoted because they themselves are getting better. Millennial mentees have a lot offer. They are creative and focused, motivated and energetic and, not to mention, rulers of the Twitterverse. Use them! Ask them questions, lean on them. Millennials need to feel valued. Cynthia wants a mentor who “Understands that I can be a resource too! I’ve posted jobs on behalf of my mentor and connected her to other people I think she’d find interesting.” Some of the millennials we spoke to simply want the mentor to treat them as equals. Caila Driscoll, 26, high school math teacher, wants “Conversations to feel like two peers discussing something, where each has valuable input, rather than one older, more experienced person, telling the other what to do, I think it builds mutual respect and understanding.”
In the end, every mentoring relationships will be different, but if you want the inside track to connecting with millennials – use these six tips!
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