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 firstname.lastname@example.org