Get a mentor – it could be the best thing you do this summer

Iona Bain

Happy in your job? If not, perhaps it’s summer blues – nine out of ten employees cover for colleagues on holiday, working an average six extra hours a week, and for one in ten the stress may prompt itchy feet, according to freelance agency ElanceoDesk.

But mentoring can help. In the UK, six out of ten business leaders have had mentors and 97per cent said it helped their career. A recent US study found mentees at all levels were five times more likely to gain promotion, and 75 per cent of Fortune 500 executives said it had been hugely valuable.

But the scheme has to be right. Three mentees out of ten said the relationship with their mentor lost momentum and failed.   A typical guideline might be two hours a month for six months – but with the option to continue the relationship voluntarily.

UK companies are increasingly adopting a ‘knowledge share’ approach to training and development. It’s more effective as well being cheaper than ‘one size fits all’ whiteboard sessions or external courses. Mentoring fits it perfectly. Employees should find out what is on offer, and how they can actively participate.

Does your boss know about speed mentoring, being trialled in the construction industry ? Quickfire one-to-one sessions allow senior staff to transfer knowledge to younger recruits – and the scheme has already been tweaked to allow time for the oldies to quiz the newbies.

That’s because reverse mentoring is catching on, enabling older workers to keep up to speed on technology through help from younger possibly more switched-on colleagues – but also to broaden their perspective. Dell, for instance, has a GenNext initiative supporting inter-generational networking, while Sodexho has GenMatch. Is your firm on board?

And if you want to be a mentor yourself out in the community, schemes such as Team London/Do-it Trust’s online volunteering service include opportunities to mentor young people.










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