Many companies don’t offer meaningful mentoring opportunities, though they absolutely should. Navigating a new workplace is tough, as is trying to make it to the next stage of your career — especially when you have to do these things on your own.
But when you have someone more experienced in the company to lean on and learn from, getting acquainted with a new role and rising to the next level is much easier. The benefits of finding a mentor at work are tremendously important for your professional future.
Here are four specific advantages of workplace mentorship that are especially noteworthy:
Realistic Expectations and Attainable Goals
Sometimes, you’ll walk into a new job without knowing what to expect. Other times, you’ll have assumptions about what it’ll be like to work in a role, but soon find out those expectations didn’t align with the reality of the job.
With the guidance of a mentor, you can adjust your predictions about what work will be like. They can help you temper your expectations appropriately, as well as help you set realistic goals so you’re prepared to excel.
Setting goals and tracking your progress toward them is critical to your short- and long-term success at work. Mentors can help you identify and set objectives and key results (OKRs) to ensure you’re working toward individual, company, and team goals in the most effective way possible. They can also help you change OKRs and goals when needed so you can continually move forward.
Mentors can help you grow holistically. The right mentor can help you develop both your hard and soft skills, empowering you in your daily role. This can make it easier to work through difficult projects, take on new tasks, and collaborate with your peers — potentially setting you up to be a resource to your coworkers in your own right, as well as an asset to your organization.
This holistic development can also help position you to make a career shift or move to a higher position in your current line of work. This is especially true if you actively prioritize skill development and professional growth in your relationship with your mentor.
Learning the Company Culture
One of the most neglected parts of companies’ onboarding processes is ensuring new hires understand and adopt the company culture. When an employee doesn’t understand the company culture or isn’t on board with it, it can disrupt the team workflow and healthiness of the entire workplace.
On the other hand, when an employee can appreciate and understand the company culture, connect with it, and adopt it fully, they’re more likely to become a high-performing member of the team. They’ll also contribute to positive workplace culture rather than perpetuate a negative one.
A mentor can introduce the company culture to you in a meaningful and genuine way. For example, they can help you prioritize work-life balance or share less-formal methods of communication among employees. They can show you how vital technology integration is to the company culture and give you insights into the way each department works.
The secret weapon to excelling in any role at any company is being confident in who you are and what you bring to the table. If you try to be someone you aren’t, it can ultimately hurt your career and your confidence, both in and out of the workplace.
It’s much more powerful and productive to be yourself, and a mentor can help you do just that. They can reassure you when you’re doubtful of your abilities or skills. They can affirm your willingness to think outside the box. They can also give you the emotional support you need to overcome challenges at work.
When you know yourself and your value, you’re more likely to perform your best in your role and commit to the company vision. Lean on a mentor to help you grow and maintain that confidence at work.
There are many more benefits to having a mentor at work, but these are some of the most notable. Ultimately, a mentor can help you become the best version of yourself, do your best work at the company, and define pivotal next steps in your career path.
If your company offers a mentorship program, get involved. Otherwise, take things into your own hands and form genuine relationships with people in the workplace who you’d love to learn from and work closely with. Then, ask them to be your mentor and see where they take you.