BLOG

Wed 10 June 2020
Ambition In Motion leverages horizontal mentorship to help professionals elevate their work skills and break through communication barriers.

Ambition In Motion's core values are: be growth-oriented, people first, empower efficient leaders, be data-driven, and have integrity and vulnerability.

Ambition In Motion's vision is a world where the vast majority of people are excited to go to work, when they are there their expectations meet reality, and when they come home they feel fulfilled.
Wed 10 June 2020
Ambition In Motion leverages horizontal mentorship to help professionals elevate their work skills and break through communication barriers.

Ambition In Motion's core values are: be growth-oriented, people first, empower efficient leaders, be data-driven, and have integrity and vulnerability.

Ambition In Motion's vision is a world where the vast majority of people are excited to go to work, when they are there their expectations meet reality, and when they come home they feel fulfilled.

Ambition In Motion has programs for companies to match their internal employees together for horizontal mentorship (within departments, across departments, within special interest groups, for onboarding employees, identifying emerging leaders, upskilling middle managers, etc.), for professional associations to match their members together for mentorship, and for executives to connect them with other executives outside of their company for mentorship.

Learn more here: https://ambition-in-motion.com/
Mon 8 June 2020
A shift is taking place in management. Today, more people are working remotely than ever before. Managers that are (usually) staunchly opposed to letting employees work remotely are being forced to let down their guard and take the chance. But once people are allowed back into the office, will these managers still be open letting their employees work remotely?

 

As we all adjust to these changes in work, this article will help by sharing some tips that professionals can leverage with their supervisors to continue to work remotely, even after things start going back to normal (a term used loosely).

 

The biggest hurdle most managers face when it comes to allowing remote work is trust. Managers may be hesitant to admit it, but they convey this information in their word choice and explanations.

 

For example, I interviewed a professional who commutes 3 hours every day to work. 3 hours every single day! He knows he can be just as productive at home as in the office. But when he brought this up, his manager dismissed the idea, responding, “we allowed one person to work remotely one time and it completely backfired.”

 

Managers that don’t fully trust their employees often cite one-off events they’ve heard from other colleagues to ‘inform’ their decisions for managing their employees. 

 

These divisive, stubborn decisions are based on a limited sample set with a completely different set of people! Why do they do this? Their answer often boils down to fear of “getting burned again”. The simple fact is that people are inherently resistant to change. Until the pain or pressure overcomes this resistance to change, they will continue to choose the familiar path (i.e. inaction) over uncertain outcomes that require action. Their risk-averse approach can lead their direct reports to think that their manager is prioritizing their own comfort over taking a chance to give their employees flexibility. 

 

This is human nature! 

 

The best managers override this natural tendency. Unfortunately for many people, their manager may not share this open-minded approach to work.

 

Here are some tips for building trust with your manager so you can eventually stake a claim that you deserve to work remotely.

 

Be open about your obstacles

 

Vulnerability is a powerful way to build trust with your manager. If your goal is to work remotely full-time (except when necessary) but your manager opposes it, be open about the obstacles you will face working from home. Let’s be fair: these choices do have potential downsides. An honest assessment is a powerful tool for tempering your manager’s fears. If your pitch pretends there are zero downsides to remote work, you will be leaving the manager forced to come up with their own assessment of downsides because we all know that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  

 

They will begin making assumptions about your capabilities and how working remotely will affect your productivity. And if they started out skeptical, their assumptions are going to draw from this pessimistic outlook and distort reality, thus dashing your hopes of remote work.

 

By being open about the obstacles you face working remotely, you build trust. You work together with your manager to brainstorm what the obstacles are and how you can overcome those obstacles. You empower your manager to be on your team and empathize with you. You flip the script and the manager becomes a teammate instead of the barrier between you and your goal.

 

Pro tip: Dr. Robert Cialdini in his book Pre-suasion discusses the best way to deliver obstacles. He mentions that if you are going to deliver an obstacle or a weakness, that you should follow it with the terms “but”, “yet”, or “however” followed by reasons you can overcome that obstacle or weakness. From a psychological perspective, it forces the listener to focus on the last thing you said, not the obstacle itself. For example, “Working at home will definitely have distractions like the television, but I have turned my second bedroom into an office strictly for work and that will help me separate me from the rest of the distractions in my house.”

 

Share your motivations

 

Why are you interested in working remotely? If you don’t share this, they may assume that you are up to no good. I learned some insight from a body language expert that I believe is relevant to this situation: you build trust with your hands. If somebody can’t see your hands (e.g. one was behind your back), the biological and instinctual assumption is that the hand is hidden for nefarious purposes. 

 

When you don’t show your hands, or in this case, the motivations behind why you want to work remotely, the natural assumption a manager may have is that you hid them for a reason. 

 

Everyone has reasons for the actions they take, even if they aren’t immediately apparent. Showing that your motivations are reasonable and sensible is critical to your manager being open to supporting your goal of working from home. 

 

A quick note on this, your motivations should be mutually related. If we look at the example earlier in the article about the guy commuting 3 hours every day for work, that reason alone will probably not move the needle for a manager. The reason is that it only provides benefits to you and not to your manager. Instead, if you can say that you could work more effectively and be even more productive, but that the 3-hour commute can drain your energy. This provides a clear, mutual benefit to the manager – greater productivity from their employees.   

 

 Create fail-safes 

 

Fail-safes are self-imposed regulatory guidelines for you to follow while working remotely. These provide indicators showing how productivity has changed compared to working at the office. Fail-safes provide your manager a clear metric they can use to decide whether to pull you back in. The manager’s fear is that if she allows you to work from home and your productivity falls then it will be difficult to have that conversation with you. This difficulty could lead to you getting fired or quitting, which your manager definitely does not want to have happen. 

 

Fail-safes allow your manager to look at the data, consider your output and self-imposed guidelines, and make a case for whether remote work is effective without letting their emotions or biases influence the decision. It is just data; either you hit your goals, or you didn’t.

 

Part of these fail-safes should incorporate the communal component of being physically present at the office. Some managers may not be concerned about your productivity but instead are concerned by the impact it may have on the team dynamic and company culture. One of your fail-safes should address how you will schedule regular, frequent conversations with colleagues, both in and outside of your department. These conversations should be about the obstacles that you and your colleagues are facing without being explicitly work-related. These types of conversations are the foundation of horizontal mentorship, and you would be creating your own network of horizontal mentor relationships within your company.

 

Ultimately, you may find out that working remotely doesn’t work for you. But for some people, it makes a massive difference on their productivity and their emotional health. If you follow these 3 steps, you should be able to make a strong case for why you should be allowed to work remotely.

Wed 3 June 2020
Imagine that you and a colleague with similar qualifications and backgrounds started working at a company around the same time.  You watch that colleague ascend the corporate ladder at lightning speed while you remain stuck in the same position, struggling to gain recognition and promotion for your efforts.  You’ve tried various tactics, all to no avail.  In a moment of frustration, you ask yourself, ‘What does this person have that I don’t?”  It’s not skills or knowledge, and it’s certainly not a lack of trying on your part.  But there’s something that sets them apart from you and other employees.  How do I know this?  Because I was in the same predicament, and I asked myself this question.  When I saw a fellow employee obtain his dream job, I took the initiative to ask how he did it.  To my surprise, it wasn’t his stellar resume or career accolades.  He had a mentor guiding him along the way.  

Mentors are not just applicable in the corporate or professional environment.  When you consider the education to workforce pipeline, mentors are equally critical during one’s learning years.  As a new doctoral student, I had an inkling of the challenge that awaited me when I experienced the never-ending cycle of writing and editing assignments in my very first class.  I discovered a life line in connecting with dissertation students and recent graduates.  They shared their tales of woes as well as victories.  This small group gave me a sense of community, and if they could do it, so could I with the proper guidance.  From among them, my mentor emerged – a dissertation student with the same major – and it was a match made in heaven!

The path to success is never traveled alone.  It is marked by instrumental relationships, connections, and perhaps, most importantly, a mentor.  What if I told you that instead of admiring the great accomplishments of someone else, you could experience shining moments of own with the help of a mentor?  A mentor is someone who has already arrived where you are trying to go.  He or she has experienced and successfully navigated the challenges and obstacles that you may encounter along your journey.  What better treasure than if they could share their experiences and expertise?  

Think of a mentor as your coach and professional partner.  This is someone who wants to see you succeed, has your best interests at heart, and understands the road you are traveling.  While you are responsible for putting forth the effort, a mentor wants to help you reach your destination.  The mentor is here to help you with several things: accountability, insight, pathways, and motivation.  What many don’t realize is that the mentor-mentee relationship is mutually beneficial.  There is a well-known adage that says, “iron sharpens iron.”  The mentor delivers feedback that shapes the mentee into a stronger, purpose-driven professional.  Throughout this process, the mentor is challenged in thought, creativity, and capability in ways that might not occur outside of this relationship.  There is also the intrinsic satisfaction of helping others in a meaningful way.  One person cannot influence every other person in the world.  However, a single mentor has the capacity to plant seeds among individuals and communities and watch those fruits blossom and multiply.  This is the power of mentorship.  If more people would become mentors to others, the impact would be phenomenal and far-reaching. 
Mon 1 June 2020
Employee engagement is an extremely valuable metric for understanding your team. Engagement is strongly correlated with productivity, so if you are not measuring your team’s engagement, now is a good time to start. This data can tell you how your team feels about their work, offer potential insight on what you can do to make them more happy and productive, and give you some idea of whether or not your employees are likely to leave the job in the near future.


But, the issue with measuring engagement is that it is a lagging metric. By the time you identify that a certain department or team in your company is becoming disengaged, it is likely far too late. Re-engagement is very difficult; they may already be working on their way out and are unlikely to be willing to give management the benefit of the doubt by putting aside their frustrations. 


The first step towards avoiding fully disengaged employees is determining when they are most susceptible to becoming disengaged.  


We call this measure Engagement Volatility, and we use this to understand when employees are likely to be most significantly affected by a negative event at work.   


Many employees fully support and enjoy the company culture and really do enjoy their jobs. For these employees, it takes a lot to shake their confidence in the company.


There are also other people who may respond favorably to an engagement assessment today, but their beliefs in their work or company aren’t nearly as firm.


High-volatility employees can become disengaged in an instant. Whether from reading an email that seems passive-aggressive, realizing the bonus structure or compensation plan seems unfair or being forced to switch their work project or style, employees with high volatility can quickly become disenchanted with their company when dealing with frustrating events at work. 


My team and I at Ambition In Motion identified two key metrics for determining engagement volatility: communication barriers and dysfunctional turnover intentions.


Communication Barriers


Communication barriers represent the lack of understanding among employees about what other employees do for their work. For example, let’s say that John in accounting frequently must interact with Jane in sales to handle some customer accounts. How well does John actually understand what Jane does? If these two employees don’t understand each other’s work, there are communication barriers that can impact their work relationship, productivity, and engagement volatility.  


Communication barriers don’t necessarily tell us that the two people don’t like each other. It just means that they don’t understand what the other person does for their work and the obstacles they face.


How does this lead to engagement volatility?


Communication barriers force people to formulate assumptions about what other people do. These assumptions then lead to a lack of empathy and understanding, especially during frustrating work events. When a small miscommunication about some work task blows up, this creates an opening for people to become disengaged. It creates an opportunity to feel like they are getting taken advantage of or that the grass could be greener on the other side.


For example, let’s go back to John (accounting) and Jane (sales). John sees that Jane spent $200 on a lunch with a client and thinks to himself, “who spends $200 on a lunch?!?!” He is certain that he could have made that same sale and only spent $100 on lunch, but instead, he has to adjust budgets to fit this extra expense and his frustration grows. By discounting all of the work and skills necessary to be a great salesperson, he begins to assume (likely incorrectly) that he could do her job. This subtle frustration can grow, leading John to bring up Jane’s work ethic in casual conversations with people at the office to learn their thoughts. Once he finds somebody that happens to agree with him, it confirms his belief that he could do her job, and now he feels frustrated that she is getting bonuses and commissions on sales he is certain could have easily made. When Jane, unknowing of John’s frustrations with her, emails John, he responds passive-aggressively. He assumes that Jane knows he is frustrated and considers her lazy and inefficient. Meanwhile, Jane has no clue why his emails have become so strange, and her frustration with her work environment begin to simmer.


And the domino effect goes on and on from there…


Our team identified that 68% of engaged employees still feel communication barriers between themselves and other employees at work (e.g. they feel they don’t understand what other people do for their work). Even engaged, productive employees encounter these frustrating events, and these can lead directly to high engagement volatility. 


Dysfunctional Turnover Intentions


There are 4 types of turnover for employees at work: variable, invariable, functional and dysfunctional. Variable, invariable, and functional turnover are types of uncontrollable turnover. They are based on factors outside of a company’s control – e.g. a spouse getting a job in a different city and the employee moving with their spouse, the employee being bad at their job and getting fired, or an employee receiving an offer for significantly more money from another company and the current employer being unwilling or unable to match the salary. 


Dysfunctional turnover is the type of turnover a company can control. Dysfunctional turnover is based on two key factors: the clarity of their job responsibilities and purpose within the company, and their perceived respect level from their colleagues and supervisor(s).


When employees are unclear about what they are doing or why they are doing it, they are highly susceptible to becoming disengaged because the work becomes purposeless. They have no idea if what they are doing is correct, and they have no idea about how their work plays into the larger picture of the company. Lack of purpose and value at work drags down engagement and productivity.


70% of employees avoid difficult conversations (like asking for clarity on their role or task) with their boss, colleagues, or direct reports, according to a Bravely study. Essentially, people fear or feel uncomfortable asking for clarity. This contributes to their engagement volatility and if the “what” and “why” of their work isn’t clarified quickly, they could become disengaged.


The perception of respect is the other critical factor to dysfunctional turnover intentions. When employees don’t feel respected by their colleagues or supervisor, they will have high engagement volatility. 


The perception of respect is the key. 


To be clear, respect is important, but the effects are not directly based on whether or not colleagues or supervisors actually respect the employee’s work. It is based on whether the employee perceives that their work is respected. If they don’t feel like they are appreciated for their contribution or that the feedback they receive is sincere, they quickly become disengaged.


Solution


One way to better understand your team’s engagement volatility is by sending your team Ambition In Motion Engagement Volatility Assessment. It takes roughly 5 minutes to complete and can provide great insight into your team’s likelihood of becoming disengaged. You can break it down by department so you can better understand if there are some departments that have higher/lower engagement volatility than others.


Once you understand your team’s engagement volatility, you can work towards identifying what steps you should take to ease your team’s volatility and stabilize your employee engagement.


One great way to accomplish this is by implementing a Horizontal Mentorship Program. Horizontal mentorship helps your team break through employee communication barriers, improve clarity of your employees’ roles and responsibilities, and build empathy and respect across your team.

Wed 27 May 2020
I am extremely happy with my decision to become a professional mentor via Ambition In Motion. I was able to connect with my mentee and form a genuine, close relationship which I am certain will continue into the future. Through my experience as a mentor, I have been able to discover what makes a professional mentor-mentee relationship truly impactful. 

It is one thing to simply ask a mentee about their goals, but another thing to get to know them on a personal and professional level, finding out what their long-term career dreams are, and working with them to outline a plan that helps them achieve their goals allows for a better, more personalized mentorship experience with more accurate goals that can be achieved. 

It has been demonstrated that you can absolutely achieve goals and develop a cordial relationship by strictly talking business. On the other hand, I have found, in my experience, that taking the time to learn more about your mentee, getting to know their personal and professional backgrounds, asking them what is going on in their life, and being interested in them as a friend, fosters a sense of trust and allows for a deeper connection that will enrich you both as a mentor/mentee, and as an individual. 

This was not only a positive experience for my mentee to gain some guidance and perspective on their professional endeavors, but was also an opportunity for me to grow not only as a mentor, but also as a professional. One of my favorite quotes is: “when you aren’t learning and growing, you aren’t living.” This quote applies so well to this situation. In life, we should all strive to never stop learning, growing, and improving ourselves. Being a mentor has given me the chance to grow by spreading my own wings and becoming introspective on the experiences I have had and the lessons that I have learned. I have also been able to learn from my mentee, which was a valuable part of this whole experience. Even though my role was to be a source of advice and guidance for my mentee, my mentee had other valuable life and work experiences that I was able to learn from and apply to my own life and career. 
This “give and take” was a pleasant surprise and added benefit of this already beneficial program. 

If asked to participate as a professional mentor again, I plan to participate again with absolute certainty. I am so thankful for this chance to help someone grow, and for myself to grow as well. 
Mon 25 May 2020
One of the biggest reasons people join professional associations is for the opportunity to network and educate themselves on the most up-to-date topics in their field. Most professional associations go about delivering this value via conferences and local meet-ups by individual chapters of the association.

With COVID-19, most conferences have been canceled or postponed for a TBD date. This poses a major threat to association managers because if they aren’t able to provide networking or educational opportunities to its members, why should their members keep paying their annual dues? 

After speaking with a handful of association managers and board members, I have learned that many professional associations are losing membership because of the coronavirus and its subsequent impact.

The truth is, you can only get so much engagement through digital educational sessions and panel discussions with guest speakers on Zoom or YouTube. These activities simply can’t replicate the personal nature of having intimate, vulnerable, one-on-one conversations among colleagues. Large, digital meetings rarely lead to honest discussions about areas they want to improve and the opportunities they would like to pursue. 

One great way to keep association members engaged in educational and networking opportunities is horizontal mentorship. Horizontal mentorship means connecting two professionals together for a mutually beneficial mentoring relationship where both professionals learn from each other while sharing their personal insight.  

Traditional (or vertical) mentorship is predicated on an imbalanced mentor-to-mentee relationship which exacerbates power imbalances. Traditional mentorship embeds unequal roles into the relationship and this has negative consequences: after 6 months, only 18% of vertical mentoring relationships are considered productive and high quality by participants. Horizontal mentorship focuses on building relationships based on shared alignment of Work Orientation. This ensures that the two professionals’ value systems and reasons for working are aligned. Mentor relationships built this way are 4 times more likely to last 6 months and be rated as productive and high-quality by the participants, compared to traditional mentorship. 

This article offers 3 reasons why professional associations should engage their members virtually through a horizontal mentorship program.

  1. Horizontal mentorship develop close-ties and a localized community from a global, national, or even state-wide membership base that is relying on digital interaction

Previously, these far-flung members might not have been able to easily connect for meaningful conversations. Through horizontal mentorship, previously-distant members that might not have ever interacted one-on-one can now build strong, deep-rooted social bonds, further increasing the value they gain from their association. While these types of connections are always plausible, horizontal mentorship provides the framework for consistently building durable, valuable relationships among members. 

2. Horizontal mentorship provides a new level for members to engage with the association 

The commitment of jumping from one’s role as a general member to volunteering for the association can be significant and not every member is prepared to make that leap. Horizontal mentorship provides an opportunity for association members to deeply engage on a new level that works with their personal schedule and professional aspirations.

3. Horizontal mentorship helps members learn from each other and share experience

Providing educational content and connecting the right members together is not easy. Some educational sessions at conferences are more relevant to some people versus others. Rather than “fishing with dynamite”, horizontal mentorship creates personalized opportunities for members to learn from each other, ask questions specific to their own circumstances, and network with other members with similar perspectives on their approach to work (i.e. work orientation).

Now more than ever, associations must strive to find new, effective ways to connect members and increase engagement. Horizontal mentorship provides the opportunity for association members to engage with other members on an intimate level that works for their availability in a meaningful, virtual way. 
Wed 20 May 2020
In the business world there is a difference between what outsiders or customers believe about the internal operations of a company and how employees view the reality of how things actually operate. I believe knowing who actually makes the decisions, upper management expectations, and what characteristics promote upward mobility in a particular company, are the things that make a mentor invaluable. Mentors can see where you fit in best and where you need improvement. They are able see attributes as well as faults that we may not see or be willing to admit. Mentors are those who are there to provide the truth and not worry about padding your ego; this is all to make mentees better. 

I believe my career would have progressed much differently and faster if I had the benefit of a mentor. I learned the unsaid protocols and the importance of making contacts, and how you deal with individuals the hard way. I later learned that sometimes who you know is just as, or more important, than what you know in some industries. I also learned over time that the way you communicate with people varies by the individual. Personalities vary; therefore, your approach toward each person may also need to vary. This is true for peers as well as for supervisors. These are known as soft-skills, which also include decision-making and networking. I wish I had someone to fill those gaps during the beginning of my career. I later met others who had mentors, or influential individuals, during their career and every response seemed to be similar. They all believed their mentors, or influencers, had a major impact on the success of their careers. 

Here is an example of when I wished I had a mentor. I was working at my agency headquarters and I knew I wanted to get promoted to a position outside of headquarters. I thought all I needed to do was work hard and create quality programs. I eventually found out that I needed to go beyond this by improving my networking skills within the building and within the outer offices. I needed to be known by the “right” people and have a good reputation among those same individuals. I learned you have to have  allies among the decision-makers to get anywhere within my organization. If I had known this earlier, my approach to navigating my career path would have definitely been different.

In order to get and keep mentees on the path to their self-defined success, mentors are there to be encouraging, a sounding board, a trusted advisor, and to nurture the mentee’s personal growth and leadership qualities. Mentors should help mentees realize their potential through candor and tough love to promote self-motivation, self-realization, confidence, and self-discipline. Most of all, mentors are there to share their experiences and keep the mentee from making the same mistakes the mentor made along the way, which become learning lessons without the pain. Mentors are there to help mentees succeed and in return the mentors also benefit because their own skills may improve as a result of the interaction with their mentee. I believe one of the most important aspects of a mentor/mentee relationship is the long-lasting connection that may result from the interactions. A bond that fosters consistent guidance and trust. 
Mon 18 May 2020
I recently wrote an article about the importance of mentorship for executives, and I wanted to write another article specifically about why HR executives should have mentors.


If anybody has ever seen the American version of The Office, they may associate HR with Toby. If you haven’t seen The Office, Toby is a well-intentioned HR professional but is hated by Michael Scott, the branch manager. Their acrimonious relationship is because Michael perceives Toby as the “killer of fun” or put another way, the killer of innovation and new ideas.


We watch the show from Michael’s perspective because he is the boss and the main character, but let’s take a second to put ourselves in Toby’s shoes.


Toby is an HR team of 1 where he has to manage all of the HR functions of the entire branch. If Michael comes up with an inappropriate, or even illegal, idea and Toby doesn’t step in to stop it, the company could get sued and Toby is at fault. For comedic relief, we laugh at the antics and the angst between Michael and Toby. 


But if we put ourselves in Toby’s shoes, I think the dilemma becomes clear. How do we handle novel HR scenarios and issues without having the experience and information necessary to be sure we are choosing the right action? 


After interviewing over 50 HR executives in the past 3 months, I have learned that most companies have more HR projects that their HR team can possibly handle. Their work turns into a process of constantly taking care of what is most pressing right now while deferring an ever-growing list of lower-priority tasks for a later date “when things calm down”.


HR executives must understand what’s going on within their own company while also monitoring other companies to assess how they are doing to see if they are falling behind in any way. 


HR teams can end up isolated from other the broader HR professional network, save for the occasional SHRM conference or HR networking event. This lack of professional connection can be an obstacle to handling all of the work thrown at HR executives. An experienced network of like-minded colleagues can greatly improve your work and can help you avoid the emotional toll of not having somebody you relate and connect that can console you on how to balance the load of everything being thrown at HR executives.


So, why should HR executives have mentors?


1. Learn about what other HR executives are doing


If you are getting your guidance on what innovations you should consider pursuing at your annual SHRM conference or planning organizational changes and innovations years in advance, you are probably reacting to old advice. For example, let’s say you find a promising new Learning Management System at a conference in August. It seems valuable so you bring it up to your HR team in September, and you focus on ironing out all of the kinks in the plan before presenting the idea to the other company leaders. Now it’s December. But, budgets are approved for January in November/December meaning that now you are waiting until the following January for implementation. Now, your innovative idea from 18 months ago is finally being implemented and it’s already a bit out of date. 


With a strong network, a fellow HR executive mentor could have informed you about the Learning Management System back in March. You could have brought the idea up to your team and ironed out the kinks in preparation for the conference in August and been ready to implement it by the initial January. You’ve just cut your time-to-implementation time by half from 18 months to 9. 


2. Expand your network to other HR executives who can relate


When people don’t know each other that well, they have a tendency to only share the good things in their world – e.g. “My company was listed in the top 100 places to work”, or “we have made 30 new hires in the past month and are growing exponentially.” These conversations are pervasive at conferences or networking events. Brag fests and casual banter are fun pleasantries, but no one should mistake these for the deep, meaningful conversations that drive innovation and professional development. 


A fellow HR executive mentor from outside of one’s own company allows you to open up, share, and relate to another executive that shares your mindset, but has their own experiences. These connections, and the vulnerable conversations that occur in these mentorships, make HR executives not only better at their jobs, but most importantly, happier at work. 


3. Get advice on how to handle unfamiliar scenarios


The world changes all of the time. People are not antique toys that can be put in plastic boxes and held in place until they retire. There are actions and reactions that HR executives cannot control, and when uncertain situations strike, you have decisions to make. Here’s the most important decision: do you keep it to yourself and try to handle it alone for fear that asking for advice will make you seem ineffective at your job? 


A fellow HR executive mentor might have faced that type of situation before. At a minimum, they can ask relevant questions and share their thoughts based on what they have experienced before. And at best, they can share their wisdom and help you find the key to solving the problem. 


As an HR executive, you are whom your company turns to when they have an HR question, regardless of whether you know the answer. Mentorship provides HR executives with their own team of informal advisors, and a fellow HR executive mentor makes life easier because they provide balance, insight, and perspective that you cannot find from your current network. 

Wed 13 May 2020
I have been a mentor for the last two semesters and have had a total of 3 mentees. Each mentee approached the relationship a little differently but always from a positive standpoint. Each had their own interests and their own perspectives. I found it very rewarding to be able to provide my perspective on many, if not most, of their interests. I think I was able to provide some guidance on going forward with both school and career. One thing I stressed was balancing school and personal interests. Both are needed in my opinion. Too much emphasis in either direction is not the best way to proceed. While in school, schoolwork needs to be the primary interest but it also needs balance with personal activities.

One area that seems universal with all 3 mentees was where to go after graduation. We would discuss their interests and why. Some would have a very good idea of what interested them and what they wanted to pursue while some did not. One thing I stressed to them was that whatever direction they decided to go they had to be able to make a living and pay the bills. It is great to pursue your passion as long as it will result in getting a job that will pay the bills. If your passion will not result in a job that will pay the bills, pick another area of interest that will result in a good paying job.

All 3 mentees were interested in how I decided to become a chemical engineer. In my case it was very logical – I was good at math and science and I was told that being an engineer could utilize my talents. I decided on chemical engineering after entering college when I again looked at what I was good at – math and chemistry. All 3 asked about my co-op experience and my view of co-op. I am very positive on the co-op experience and would definitely recommend it to anyone in engineering school.

Two of the mentees asked about my finances. I do have a limited amount of experience in that area as I studied and took the exam to get a limited broker’s license (Series 6). I did pursue that for a short time but decided it wasn’t for me in the long run. I was able to recommend what I would do if I were them going forward after getting a job from a financial standpoint – first order of business is to put 6 months of living expenses in savings for a rainy day. Second order is participating in a 401(k) savings program thru their employer (if available) and maximizing the company match.

I was able to provide resume review (thru a friend of mine that has a lot of experience in that area) for two of the mentees which both thought was helpful. Other topics were discussed as well depending on the interest of the mentee but the most important ones from my standpoint are listed above. All calls for all the mentees lasted a minimum of 45 minutes with most over an hour. A positive attitude on the part of the mentee and the mentor makes this program very worthwhile for both – it certainly did for me and I would venture to say you would get the same response from the mentees. None of the calls were limited by time – on either end.

Any Questions?

Leave us a message and a representative will get back to you

Building Mentor Connections Through Work Orientation

Kickstarting Mentorships For Fulfilling Careers