6 Tips for Mentoring Millennials from Millennials

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.”

Text
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 For our youngest generation, even email is outdated.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.

Get Personal
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!

Be Honest
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!

DID YOU KNOW: Twomentor helps companies build mentoring cultures with vast experience working with major corporations, organizations, educational entities and more. Schedule a call with us to discuss your needs associate@twomentor.com www.twomentor.com for our products and services + 15 outstanding Advisors

Are You a Mentoring Manager? 70-20-10

If you are in the training and development field you have probably heard of 70-20-10. My friend Raul C. recently enlightened me on this topic (thank you Raul!).

Based on three decades of research by the Center for Creative Leadership, managers learn 90% by doing, experiencing, communicating and learning from others. To break it down:

  • 70% from challenging assignments
  • 20% from developmental relationships (learning from others)
  • 10% from coursework and training

“Development generally begins with a realization of current or future need and the motivation to do something about it. This might come from feedback, a mistake, watching other people’s reactions, failing or not being up to a task – in other words, from experience. The odds are that development will be about 70% from on-the-job experiences – working on tasks and problems; about 20% from feedback and working around good and bad examples of the need; and 10% from courses and reading,” states researchers Lombardo and Eichinger expressed their rationale behind the 70:20:10 model this way in The Career Architect Development Planner.

When managers learn-by-doing (John Dewey) and receive mentoring/help from others, they are in a better position to take that learning enlightenment and return to teach others… (aka the Joseph Campbell hero path below).

According to a Deloitte survey over 79% of Millennials want their managers to be mentors and coaches in their management style.

We need to look at the role mentoring plays in this 70-20-10 model. Especially in a time where more and more people are reporting that they do not have a professional mentor they go to for professional life. In fact, over 50% report to NOT having a mentor at 40+ professional conferences where we ran surveys and polled the audience)

A good mentor:

Shares from his/her experience

Listens

Gives feedback

Tries to help another come to his/her own conclusions

Creates a safe space for communication (and confidentiality)

A mentor might take their mentee to do something experiential together

Cares about their mentees aspirations, goals and successes

A mentor is a lifelong learner and will learn from teaching and invest in his/her mentee

Finds strength and meaning in seeing another human being self-actualize (Mazlov’s hierarchy of needs- plus!)

I was speaking with some leaders from Gannett Corporation and they shared with me that in a 2015 survey, 100% of their senior leaders felt that they got to where they are today thanks to a mentor.

Can you think of your own 70-20-10 learning and what role mentors have played (or not played) in your career? Perhaps you didn’t use the word mentor before, but if that person’s help led you well onto your path, let’s stop now and reflect on that… and them.

Love to hear from you and learn from your experiences! Contact us info@twomentor.com

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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

2] If you want more diversity (i.e. women in STEM), mentor and sponsor more diversely

Uh-ho, Your Corporate Mentoring Program Needs More Attention

Courtesy of Pixabay

Co-written by Julie Kantor, CEO Twomentor and Kate Ward, Head of Partnerships InHerSight

Mentorship programs get a lot of buzz as the key to improving gender equality in the workplace. As more and more companies look for ways to increase representation of women at senior levels, mentorship or sponsorship is often cited as a key to helping women reach that next rung on the corporate ladder. And many powerful women, such as Sheryl Sandberg, have cited the importance of mentors to their personal career success.

With approximately 75% of Fortune 500 companies offering formal mentoring programs and 25% of U.S medium and large companies offering programs, corporate America has embraced the idea, but are these programs achieving their potential?

Are people being thrown together without a lot of thought to what the experience should be?

Are companies understanding the true business case for mentoring and what it means to all parties?

Do we recognize the act of mentoring, and the people who mentor as the ones who help drive engagement and retention at our companies?

Are mentors and mentees being trained?

We spent some quality time with the dynamic team at workplace review site, InHerSight. They have collected employer ratings from tens of thousands of women. One of the 14 metrics they get feedback on is women’s satisfaction with her company’s “mentorship and sponsorship programs”. We have written a lot about sponsorship in earlier posts. Turns out, at least among women, corporate mentorship programs could really use some work and investment.

A recent review of their data found that “mentorship and sponsorship programs” is the lowest rated metric of all 14 that they capture with an overall score of 2.2 out of 5 stars.

InHerSight’s research also found that a company’s mentorship program is highly correlated with women’s overall satisfaction and happiness at a company, which means if your female employees are unhappy with your mentorship program, they are more likely to be unsatisfied at work.

And here’s where the data was most interesting, a deeper dive showed that women’s satisfaction with their company’s mentorship program is a stronger predictor of overall satisfaction at a company the later women are in their careers.

Our assessment, women as they grow in their careers truly want to see others self-actualize. They also want to build stronger sponsoring relationships to feel validated, supported and championed in their careers.

Julie Kantor is the CEO of Twomentor, LLC a management consulting firm that is passionate about building mentoring cultures to drive retention. Please reach out for an information interview on your mentoring initiative, we are here to help. Schedule: Sophia@twomentor.com

Does She Need a Role Model, a Mentor, or a Sponsor?

It was about time to get the word ‘women’ into ‘mentor’. So, I did. Just launched my new company twomentor (t-women-tor), LLC to get the words ‘women’ and ‘men’ into STEM mentoring. It will take a unified approach. Today we celebrate twomentor’s one month anniversary with this blog and luckily not Pampers and Medella equipment at this stage of raising her.

So do girls and young women need a role model, a mentor or a sponsor? Likely all three along their professional paths.

If we want to recruit, develop, retain great girls & women in the STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) workforce we need to look at the whole pipeline and what women most need at different phases.

Reflecting back, I realize I needed three things personally and professionally:

1] A Role Model

2] A Mentor

3] A Sponsor

A role model was needed to show examples of great women: in science, in Senate, as leaders, board members, in tech, as business owners, and perhaps soon as President of the USA. The women in my family also served as key role models of women who found professional fulfillment, have families, and hung out with great loyalty with their girl friends (Mom and Ina just celebrated 55 years ‘together’ as BFFs). My father who came to America as a refugee from Hungary served also as a powerful example of resiliency and perseverance. He also taught me gratitude.

A mentor took on the role in a socratic way of helping me find answers within myself. In middle school a mentor (Karen C.) gave me an internship and taught me that I love small business. She let me work at her store for three years and helped me build some skills such as: inventory management, running the cash register, making marketing signs with Mr. Sketch pens, customer service and more. Mostly, she taught me to love work. I haven’t stopped working since, a dozen jobs and a few degrees later. A college mentor taught me how to get my work published and how to see others in their plights. A peer mentor got me into an interview for my first job at the company she worked at. Another mentor more recently taught me how to use a 3D printer. One of my mentors is a 72 year old dynamo and one is a 19 year old tech whiz.

Mentors came into my life as welcomed guides and were both male and female. One common ingredient was they all reflected that I had to have faith in myself, believing in me often before I believed in myself.

While a Mentor encourages one to climb the work ‘tree’ to new heights, a sponsor  takes on the role of going out on a limb for others. In other words, a mentor speaks to you and a sponsor speaks about you and advocates for you behind closed doors. Mike Caslin was such a sponsor in my life and I wrote about him HERE. Mike mentored me when I ran Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship in a few markets and then he championed me to take his national VP job after serving the company 20 extraordinary years. Other people wanted the job and he was the one to say ‘Let’s choose Julie.’ At several conferences recently, women would approach me and ask how to get such a sponsor. From all these discussions & research, I am becoming more convinced that we lose professional women mid-career because they do not have a sponsor.

I reflect back and clearly understand I needed three things from girl to career woman: a Role Model (s), a Mentor (s), a Sponsor (s). I think my start-up needs all three, and gratefully, they are all swirling around twomentor, llc as key advisors.

But I need to acknowledge something else here.

I am also now needed more than ever to be a Role Model, a Mentor and/or a Sponsor and I suspect you are too. It’s time to start. Start simple (invite her/him for coffee chat). Start soon. Invest in her. Pay it forward.

Julie Kantor is a global speaker on women in STEM, President & CEO of Twomentor, LLC offering mentor training and strategy to America’s top corporations. She is also Senior Advisor to Million Women Mentors and STEMconnector. 

Why I Loved Yoga With Goats: And What I Learned About Us

As I got some of my best stretches in (ever) on the yoga mats, I watched the goat circus around me. Eating, headbutting, communicating, collaborating. My heart felt light, I took each new stretch in with joy and shared smiles with the people participating around me.

Why did Yoga with Goats make so much sense to me psychologically? A bucket list item, that was never on my list? Was it that I stretched better than I ever thought I could? That I felt more connected and plugged in with people I didn’t know very well? That I felt more refreshed and relaxed than I had been in weeks? That I (gulp) really enjoyed exercising? Or maybe it was something else.

But let me start at the base of the Santa Cruz mountains. As I started my drive up the winding hills the day before a speaking engagement at the San Jose Marriott, I marveled at the views and vistas. The winding road was idyllic and I pulled over to snap some pictures of the breathtaking ride.

Making a strong right then left in between these mini mountains, a bicyclist appeared in my sights and I slowed down. “This doesn’t seem safe,” I thought to myself and appreciated that there was no cell phone reception to distract drivers. There are a lot of blind spots and curves on this road. A mile later a few motorcycles passed me. “Share the Road,” said a big yellow sign and then another, and then another.

As I am in the mentoring space, I thought of leaders in their cars trying to get to from point B to point C and others joining the workplace on bikes and motorcycles. Five generations in the workforce. Who owns the road? How do we coexist on the journey in a really positive, safe way?

As I arrived at the base of the farm and home of Original Goat Yoga, I had a long walk alone up to the top. You see I arrived an hour early. Being a city dweller, I was a little glad I had mace in my purse in case there was an unexpected visit from a mountain lion. I joined 20 other people including my brother Andrew and sister- in- law Rachael who organized the event with gluten-free Cake Boss cupcakes and. pink grapefruit Polar Springs. They were celebrating her birthday and their 7th year wedding anniversary.

“I don’t see them as separate,” said the owner and yoga teacher Lucy when I asked her which was her favorite goat. “They are always together, like a single unit in my mind,” she shared.

Andrew and I sat next to each other on light blue and grass green yoga mats. I was in from Boca Raton, Florida and admiring him as a grown man, husband, and top executive at a very successful high-tech growth company that delivers eco-friendly products to your doorstep. Twelve goats roamed around us as we took on new yoga poses led by Lucy. They ate grass, looked at us with curiosity, occasionally used our mats to do their goatly-business, nibbled on our clothes, kissed us, and every once in a while a ruckus would break out with some healthy head-butting. Lucy, the owner, and her husband Roman were masterful at keeping everything flowing with fun, frolic, co-existence. They also shared with us their life ‘off the grid’ a few miles away from the heart of Silicon Valley.

I reflected on the isolation I am seeing in the workforce (and have written about extensively). America’s Loneliness epidemic, corporate burnout. People struggling with new leadership (and feeling valued), need for more transparency, living in silos, fear of change, growth in their companies, toxic cultures, not wanting to disturb each other. The goats represented to me COLLABORATION. We welcomed and even reveled in their disturbing ways. Clumbsy, charming, huggable, feedable, we were happy to be in their presence. They were present and we became more present to the immense benefits of yoga and their charming antics. Disclaimer: If you are a true Yogi, this might be sacrosanct. I hope that I have not offended in sharing my perspective of this experience.

They weren’t lonely and that made us more plugged into the world around us. More plugged into each other, and the fresh crisp air flowing with children’s laughter and glee. We felt a kinship with their community and became part of it for that 60–70 minutes.

I laid down on the mat for some final stretches and thought about signing up for yoga courses back home. My body felt great. Just then a two-inch hoof slammed down an inch under my right eye. It surprised me more than it hurt. I knew I would have to share a part of this story in my speech the next day, a story of connectedness, in part to explain the black-and-blue shiner on my face. We closed the day with a shared “NAAAAAAAmaste” and a bow to each other. The goat was being a goat being his/her authentic self, and a little makeup covered it all up just fine but the experiential imprint stays with me to ponder.

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Julie Kantor is CEO of Twomentor LLC. When not attending Yoga with Goats classes, she and her team help corporations, associations, and Universities build mentoring initiatives. She can be reached at julie@twomentor.com

#OriginalGoatYoga

Mentoring is the Down Payment on Our Future

“Service is the Rent We Pay for Living,” said our high school graduation speaker Marian Wright Edelman in 1987.

I agree. And reflecting add, Mentoring is the Down payment on our Future.

For the busy working woman, service & mentoring can be tough. We are increasing the hours at the office, online at home, squeezing in quality time for our kids, our partners, trying to be decent daughters and daughters in law. We have less time with our girlfriends which we know is a key linkage to our sanity. And its not just working mothers, fathers want more time with their kids too and millenials have worlds of interests outside of the office with a distinct entrepreneurial mindset to their careers.

… But they need us.

We are needed to be mentors and champion others. Especially as we grow in influence and have more sophisticated decision-making networks. A few words of wisdom, a listening ear, some concrete guidance, can make a world of difference to someone in job transition or trying to find their way post-college.

… And we need us.

As we start realizing that the workforce is not the diverse, merit based system we thought it was and that there are political nuances we need to understand. The stats are dismal when it comes to women on boards, in leadership roles, in STEM. We learn we need to lift each other up and consider applying a two-candle perspective (when a candle lights another candle, they can both light others and all shine equally bright. ) We need to not compete for single digit spots, but push to create and open up more seats at the table.

So I have an action item for us all (male and female). Bring on an intern this Summer. Run an ad at your local University, on Craigslist, get your HR office to help. Give her a project where she works with you on something big. Set goals. Invite her to meetings with you. Interview her on her aspirations. Have her meet with two other executives you admire. Have her represent you at an event or listen in to important calls. Teach her to use technology in a work setting, software, have her teach you (reverse mentoring). Be open about your successes and failures.

If you are looking for more diversity in your workplace, consider this part of an on-boarding strategy.

BTW – you can count your intern mentee as part of the Million Women Mentors as can your colleagues who do the same.

Light her candle, let in some additional light and life to your workplace … as she is a daughter, a sister, potentially a future mother, scientist, IT leader and she needs you to help her light up her path.

Is Corporate Mentoring Nice to Have or Have to Have?

Courtesy of Pixabay

In this weeks’ NYTimes, there was a great article “Executive Mentors Wanted: Only Millennials Need Apply,” by Kevin Roose. The topic is seasoned leaders getting mentored by our younger workforce (reverse mentoring). Jack Welch coined the phrase and we are fans of it. We actually highlighted two months ago an interview on a great initiative at Pershing (BNY Mellon Co.) where 96% of Millennial mentors stayed at their jobs four years out. It’s empowering for all parties as we grow and strengthen ties in our multi-generational workforce.

What troubles us is each day we speak to companies who are shying away from mentoring their new hires and building sponsorship initiatives to elevate women and high potential diverse employees. Companies hope mentoring is happening informally, have trouble selling it up, but each time we survey large rooms of executives and grad students, less than 40% report they have a professional mentor. Roose’s article articulated the issue and the need well, that we can no longer shirk our responsibility (and as we like to say in training, the building of our Living Legacies):

“As reverse mentoring programs grow in popularity, some young workers still lack the traditional, top-down mentorship meant to help them rise in their careers. According to a 2016 report by Deloitte, the consulting firm, more than half of young workers said their leadership skills were not being fully developed in the workplace.”… “It really is the opposite of the mentorship offer that firms have historically made to young people,” Mr. Harris said [Malcolm Harris, the author of new book “Kids These Days”]. “Now it’s just, ‘We want you to come work for us, and teach us how to do our jobs.’ ”

I guess the point is reverse mentoring, diverse mentoring, peer mentoring, traditional mentoring… we need to be much more deliberate in engineering the opportunities to drive employee engagement and retention. We’ve decided to extend our 2018 offer to help you get started. We want to see your multi-generational workforce thrive in 2018! We can help you think this through. Let’s talk!

Julie

julie@twomentor.com

You can learn more about Twomentor with our latest Overview Prezi herehttps://prezi.com/p/mtpvhyrq5_op/

Learn more about the issues: Video on Elevating Women and Millennials in the Workforce http://bit.ly/1SZ8wrq

Time to Mentor 2.0 (Mentor+Sponsor)

I was on cloud 91/2 last week at the Diversity Women’s Leadership Conference put on Diversity Woman Magazine at the Grand Floridian (heaven, two thumbs up!). It had heart, some of America’s top Diversity Leaders, 1:1 coaching, and great content. A common theme was how to recruit and retain top STEM talent, especially women and minorities. There was also a new recognition with many leaders that STEM is a new perspective on Diversity and we need more Diversity in STEM.

We will see global diversity in who possesses next generation capabilities (employability skills, digital fluency, and innovation excellence) for tomorrow’s global STEM jobs? This demand side approach (what companies need- the jobs) + new capabilities (employability skills) = STEM 2.0

I have written a lot on this topic HERE, and in partnership with Tata Consultancy Services we put out White Papers: Women in STEM Realizing the Potential.

Mentoring has a key role to play on moving the needle for girls & young women professionally and we need to much more to recruit, onboard and retain diverse STEM talent. Most of the companies at the conference advocated heavily for formal and informal mentoring within their corporations. One challenge in the informal space was an inability to put metrics and outcomes behind it. Remember, you get what you measure. Mentoring increases employee satisfaction and retention. TheBusiness Case for Mentoring by our friends at Chronus shares a lot of good datapoints. For example, note the huge increase in mentor and mentee retention at Sun Microsystems (now owned by Oracle) 2006 case study as well as who got salary increases and promotions

To take a step back…

Mentor 1.0 over the past several decades was:

– How is your home life?
– Let’s discuss thoughts on career life balance
– College and application help
– Let’s work together on your resume
– Let’s go to a movie or shoot some hoops

There is much value in Mentoring 1.0 and the care and support behind it.

The difference is Mentor 2.0 includes a distinct skills-based focus and sponsorship component* ie.:

– Here are the specific skills you will need to make it in the 21st century economy
– Let’s discuss job opportunities in various geographies and what they pay (women in STEM make 92 cents on a dollar for example of what men make vs. other careers that pay 77 cents on a dollar)
– Let’s discuss what type of education and experience you will need to get a good job or advance in your career
– Let’s connect you with opportunity (FIRST robotics competition, Python coding class, Sit down with CEO of a IT firm and create an opportunity to shadow her, Visit a laboratory …)
– Let’s have lunch with the SVP at XYZ company and focus on three things we want to learn about his/her professional path and work.
– Let’s see if we can get you a summer internship ( Did you know according to Gallup only 4.5% of high school students were in Summer internships last year? )
– Have you set up a Linkedin page? Let’s take an online networking class, together
– Let’s discuss two key books for young women over Sushi and blue sparkly pedicures:The Confidence Code and Executive Presence

 

* Put simply, Mentor 2.0 will have a key role in on-boarding and retaining a diverse workforce as we combine skills-based Mentoring and most ideally Sponsorship.

A mentor talks to you, listens and guides you.

A sponsor talks about you. Your sponsor (who respects you highly and knows exactly what your capable of) champions you for opportunity (internships, jobs, promotions, university entrance).

Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s CTI research showed us that men are 46% more likely to have a sponsor. Women in STEM often also share they have male sponsors that truly helped them in their careers and opened doors.

Women will likely feel more comfortable starting as a mentor. Then with a growing good relationship and rapport, move it to a Mentor 2.0 relationship, and then to Sponsorship (or helping find a sponsor through advocacy of your mentee). This Mentor 2.0 strategy will dramatically expedite a diverse STEM workforce with both mentor and mentee high-fiving.

But don’t get all Geico- caddywhompus with concerns. Start with just 2 hours a month, 20 hours a year with your mentee and request your mentee pay-it-forward too.

Julie Kantor is President & CEO of Twomentor, LLC a management consulting firm that builds mentoring cultures & elevates women in STEM. She lives in Bethesda Maryland with her husband, middle school daughter and Havanese puppy, Naomi.

Don’t Have Time to Mentor? You Might Want to Rethink That

Pixabay

“I have talked more people off a ledge from leaving our company,” said Cheryl* CEO to her leadership team. I watched her in awe. She is a true leader who gets the power of people, the power of a pay-it-forward culture. After all, she was part of a strong chain of leaders who championed her and she respectfully claims that honor and wants to see the legacy continue. With the cost of losing an employee at 100–300% salary (SHRM), I cannot help but start putting dollars on a virtual excel spreadsheet for all the casualties that did not happen as a result of her interventions. The value of those authentic talks. The value of taking the time to see and share with the people who work with you, for you, your peeps, your companies future.

Cheryl put a much stronger stake in the ground when she announced that she was connecting bonuses to “how we invest in our people,” with mentoring being one key strategy. She understands that an investment in people = a stronger workplace culture = retention = engagement + productivity = =revenue and ROI= more smiles.

As I took the stage at Cheryl’s conference, Bob’s conference, Darren’s corporate conference and dozens more through my work @Twomentor I always ask the question “How many of you have a mentor and/or someone you go to for professional advice?” The answer, please take this in, is under 40% even in the highest levels of our rockstar companies. I ask what the impact has been of having a mentor (or sponsor)? I “wouldn’t be where I am today”, “my mentor challenged me,” “he believed in me, changed my life” “kicked my a — and showed me where I needed to grow,” and so much more.

My next question is “How many of you currently mentor other people?” Always under 20% stand up. WHAT@!#! Most companies err in believing mentoring should just happen holistically. I believe more and more we need to engineer it in a dynamic fun way with creative flexibility. I believe people are afraid to look weak in asking for help or intrusive in offering help. But the helping of each other is the bridge where the magic occurs.

We also are confronting a loneliness epidemic in our country and it’s hitting our youngest the hardest. It’s not just “lonely at the top” anymore. In fact, recent overall studies that show that 54% of American’s feeling lonely and isolated.

Darren* stood up at the conference after a flash mentoring session. He had a management problem that was nagging him for weeks related to his new promotion. “I was concerned about it every waking moment,” he shared. He found his answer and began action planning following a speed mentoring conversation with a seasoned leader. “When he was talking, chills just went over my body,” said Darren at the conference. “I knew he was right and I had gone to my manager and others, but he was the one who made me see a solution I hadn’t seen.”

Mentoring. Is it nice to have or have to have? I have the time or I don’t have time is the question you will have to answer for yourself and your company. … and having a leader like Cheryl at the top quadruples the chance of systemic success.

For your own time, if you go with “Yes” I would carve out 10–20 hours a year to mentor others or ask for help, get started. Schedule that walk and talk or that drive to Peet’s Coffee.

“Mentoring is a muscle you flex, it grows stronger the more you use it,” says Cheryl. Time to hit the gym.

Julie Kantor and her team at Twomentor are here to help you build or boost a sustainable mentoring initiative to retain your best talent. She can be reached at julie@twomentor.com

Going Through Big Corporate Changes? Time to Start Mentoring Initiative at Your Company

What happens when the leaders leave (or are replaced)? When the revenues are not resembling hockey stick performance? When a big company gobbles up a smaller company? When there is an 8% layoff of the workforce? People start feeling like their jobs might be on the line. They feel a new leader might not understand their contributions. They might feel someone is trying to steal their lunch. Culture changes. Isolation increases along with Indeed.com searches. Linkedin resumes get brushed up. Mistrust or toxicity coupled with insomnia can seep in. 

I’ve heard it many times in my five years of building mentoring initiatives. “Julie, with all the change, shouldn’t we wait until after things calm down to get started with our mentoring initiative?” a top HR executive asked me.

In running both mentor and mentee training, often the rising-star mentee is looking for someone who can help them navigate the new environment. Someone who will sit down with an iced coffee (or Ben & Jerry’s pint) for a chat, a safe haven to reflect on, ‘How do I best position myself in the midst of change?’ ‘How do I get off to the right start with my new boss?’ ‘How can I be part of the solution, when I am worried about how things are going financially?’

The mentor, often with more experience, might not have all the answers, but likely has experienced more change in their tenure and will have new perspectives to offer up.

The mentor serves as a role model. They care about their mentees goals and objectives and can be instrumental in talking someone ‘off a ledge’ who is nervous. Encourager and challenger, the mentor often will help the mentee understand their role in better ‘owning’ their career trajectory and not being the victim in a who-moved-my-cheese environment that we are seeing more and more.  Change = Today’s Reality.

I was watching Good Morning America a month ago and the words ‘America’s Loneliness Epidemic’ crawled across the bottom of the screen. Curious, I Googled the UCLA research and it was eye-opening. Almost 1:2 Americans (20,000 in the study) stated that they sometimes or always feel alone, lonely or left out. Particularly hard hit are our youngest generations. How does that manifest in a workplace which is often a key pillar in our lives and psychological/financial stability? Read more HERE on the study’s findings.

In building a pilot-to-sustainable and scalable mentoring initiative, we create an opportunity for our workforce to not isolate. A world where people are recognized for helping-each-other. We engineer and hold the space for people to connect with morale-boosting support from the top. Employees have the learning conversations with structure in place.

When I ask hundreds of mentors in trainings what do people most come to them for advice on, the response is usually:

1] To help them advance their career,

2] To learn how to network better,

3] To be better at people management, leadership and

4] To help them prioritize

With the fast-paced corporate growth and more predictable flux ahead, do you want to wait for another season or reason to show your people you are a stand for them as they take a stand for each other?

Julie Kantor is CEO of Twomentor, LLC a high impact company that provides mentor strategy, training and execution for large companies and organizations. She can be reached at julie@twomentor.com