How to Be an Effective Mentor
November 11, 2013
The nation's workforce is undergoing a profound shift as many of today's seasoned workers reach traditional retirement age. As such, demand for professionals in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields is forecast to dramatically outpace the supply of STEM workers. Mentoring programs can help close the generational skills divide and mitigate the projected shortage of STEM workers, according to advocates of the programs. There will be 31 million job openings in the economy through 2020 due to baby boomer retirements, according to a report by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce For employers, mentoring is one of the most effective methods of attracting, retaining, and developing employees. For mentees, the process increases their knowledge and skill, and helps them develop a sense of loyalty to their employer. Participants are likely to advance their careers faster and increase their earnings. There are also professional and personal benefits for mentors, say advocates of mentoring programs. "You'll get as much out of it as your mentee," Rene Petrin, founder and president of Management Mentors Petrin's Boston-based consulting firm, which primarily serves Fortune 1000 businesses in virtually every industry - including high-tech, finance, and utilities - has been designing and implementing mentoring programs for more than two decades. Petrin recently listed what he considers the benefits of serving as a mentor:
- It is an opportunity to give back to your company;
- It strengthens communication skills;
- What's learned in the mentoring process can be applied to working with other staff members;
- It can re-energize professionals in all aspects of their career;
- Mentors often discover that they have much more knowledge and expertise than they thought;
- Mentors often gain a great deal of satisfaction in helping someone grow personally and professionally.
- Can I commit to the time needed and agreed upon with my mentee?
- Can I bring an objective viewpoint to our conversations?
- Am I clear that being a mentor is about the mentee and not about me?