Think back to the beginning of your career. Do you remember that feeling of excitement mixed with a bit of uncertainty? Everything felt like a new experience because it was.
Then someone along the way decided to take you under their wing and show you the ropes, open doors of opportunity and eventually help you bounce back from failure. They told you it was going to be tough, but it was worth it. They showed you what real leadership was and may have even revealed areas that they were working on and growing too. This person may not necessarily have been your boss. It could have been a coworker, or an industry colleague.
The point is we all started somewhere and can thank someone for empowering us to be the best version of our self at work.
Now that you’ve reached a level of success, isn’t the next best step to pay it forward?
Companies frequently discuss talent development programs and all the ways we can attract and retain the best employees. However, the conversation we should be having is how can we equip more employees to mentor and develop each other.
Here are three ways to empower the next generation in your office:
1. Create opportunities for engagement across departments. Sometimes the person who can have a profound influence on someone doesn’t necessarily work in the same department. People connect over interesting aspects of their job and life. Consider implementing a monthly company luncheon where each month a different department is the host. They can come up with a theme and have fun inviting other employees. HR can support the effort by motivating more people to participate. Example, show up at the monthly lunch take a picture with a coworker you haven’t had lunch with before sending it to HR for a chance to win an extra day off. Not only could this be an exciting way to engage people, it also is a platform for culture to thrive. Human Resources could curate a monthly photo album on an Intranet or post the picture of the winning employees in the breakroom.
2. Equal access to training. According to a Willis Towers Watson study, “more than 70 percent of high-retention-risk employees say they’ll have to leave their organization to advance their career.” Professional development should start as early as possible if we want to build a sustainable, empowering talent model within our companies of leaders building leaders. Find partners to help curate programs that are appealing to all levels of employees so that you are growing the talent from within. By helping people “sharpen the saw” as Stephen Covey would say, you are going to create a ripple effect within the organization of people who feel empowered because they are consistently growing. Employees who feel like they have support and resources to succeed in their job are more likely to stay with their current employer.
3. The power of suggestion. As Human Resources leaders we don’t have to wait for someone to come forward seeking mentorship to help play matchmaker within our organizations. If you know that Susie could benefit from connecting with Bobby, why would you wait to help make the introduction? Don’t assume people who want mentorship will ask for it. We have a unique opportunity as HR professionals within our organization to utilize the power of suggestion to help open doors for conversations and do so in a way that doesn’t make one person feel like they have an issue so they need it, rather it would be a great way to learn from someone else in the organization who upholds the company values and is great at what they do.
Remember, influence doesn’t just come from the top down it can be a horizontal experience. Great leadership isn’t always a byproduct of time logged in a job; long resumes but do not necessarily demonstrate true leadership.
A leader can be identified as someone who understands how to activate the highest potential in themselves and others by maximizing the strengths of each person to achieve a shared goal.
If you are looking to cultivate mentors within your organization or assess your current programs for developing leaders, let’s connect today: email@example.com