Workplace mentoring programs offer a lot of benefits for the mentee, mentor, and even the organization. That is why over 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs. These companies benefit from
Moreover, employees who participate in workplace mentoring programs can benefit from
The idea of networking can often make some people feel uneasy. The word alone can bring up images of insincere sales pitches or blatant self-promotion. But it shouldn’t be that way. The essence of networking is to genuinely connect with others. There should be a supportive relationship where a useful exchange of information is made. While there may be some uncomfortableness around the idea of networking, the reality is that it is still one of the best ways to uncover job opportunities or stay informed about industry news.
A LinkedIn study found that 80 percent of people believe that networking is vital for career success. A further 70 percent of respondents were working at a company where they had a network connection.
Building a network is not always easy. It takes time and effort to build connections and trust with others. Workplace mentorships are able to help the networking process by allowing mentees the opportunity to benefit from a mentor’s contacts. Moreover, both mentors and mentees can strengthen their interpersonal skills by working on networking activities together.
Investopedia defines networking as “the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest.” The benefits listed include uncovering job opportunities, expanding their list of contacts, and gaining knowledge about news or trends for an industry.
Networking can happen either in-person when two individuals connect either at work, a conference, or at a workshop. They will often exchange contact details and stay in touch, creating a mutually advantageous relationship. But, it can also happen online through social networks like LinkedIn or Twitter. And, those involved in a workplace mentoring program can also add connections from their mentor’s network.
As important as networking is to build a successful career, it is essential to remember that it is a skill that needs to be developed. Therefore, mentors should avoid pressuring mentees to network. In the same way, a mentee should not demand that a mentor make introductions to a network contact. Rather, a mentee can request that build a network be one of the goals they work on during the mentorship.
Having a mentor at work can have several advantages, including expanding your network. This can happen in a couple of different ways including:
Being able to benefit from a mentor’s connections is a good way for mentees to grow their network. However, there are some things to keep in mind when trying to get the most value from a network. These include:
Give back - Networking is not just about how to get something. Rather, building a network should begin by giving something of value to a new contact. Consider it like putting a deposit into the relationship to create some goodwill and bond.
Balance - Strive to have a balanced relationship with network contacts. It should be a mutually beneficial relationship. That means, contacts should feel comfortable asking for something as well as giving something.
Professional - Being professional is vital for networking. That means, offering constructive feedback when it is called for and avoiding talking badly about anyone. This will help build a strong reputation among network contacts.
Networking is essential to a successful career. Being able to draw on the network of a mentor can give mentees an advantage, particularly if they have just started at a new company. Drawing on the expertise and network connections of a mentor can be life-changing.