Colliers Engineering & Design Celebrates National Mentorship Month

By Skylyr VanDerveer

Happy New Year, and happy National Mentoring Month! Many of us start the new year off by setting personal and professional goals. With the excitement of 365 new days ahead and the upcoming mentorship holidays, such as Thank Your Mentor Day (January 21) and International Mentorship Day (January 17), what better way to ring in the new year than learning about all the benefits of having or being a mentor!

What is Mentorship?

According to The Art of Mentoring, mentorship is a helping relationship, between an employee and someone more experienced or senior, assisting in the career, professional and/or personal development. Mentorships can be beneficial for both longstanding legacy employees and those new to the company.

The Harvard School of Public Health initiated National Mentoring Month in 2002 to encourage youth mentorship. Now, over 20 years later, mentorships are encouraged and celebrated in organizations, the workforce and beyond.

Mentorships are often built on the exchange of knowledge and helping the mentee navigate new waters. These relationships are two-way streets as well, with new knowledge and development coming from both the mentor and the mentee. Sometimes, especially if you are adjusting to a new working environment, there may be questions about workplace culture and balancing professional and personal life that can be beneficial for a mentor to guide you through.

The Benefits of Having a Mentor

The benefits of having a mentor can be seen personally, professionally, and companywide. For the mentee, having a mentor outside of their direct manager can provide a great sense of belonging, especially when you are new to the office. The professional and personal experience can be used to guide both the mentee and the mentor to build a better and healthier workplace.

One of the key foundations to mentorship, according to the Harvard Business Review, is the ability to learn from each other. With younger generations who grew up with technology entering the workforce, a lot of learning in mentorships has been education on the latest and greatest developments of technology.

Surveys also show that strong mentorship programs and leaders result in employee retention. According to the University of Massachusetts Global, 91 percent of workers who have a mentor are satisfied with their employment and company. Retention rates are higher for both mentees and mentors in the workforce. Those who have mentors have a retention rate that is 50 percent higher compared to those without. Mentors also have higher retention rates, over 60 percent, when compared to those who are not mentoring.

Mentorship at CED

Here at Colliers Engineering & Design (CED), mentorships can be between technical and non-technical employees and across all our offices. So, for example, a municipal engineer can become a mentee of someone working in Subsurface Utility Engineering or in a non-technical field like Corporate Services. For someone like myself, who is in a non-technical position in the marketing department, I could be paired with someone who is a technical employee. Mentorships at CED are focused more on the professional development side, rather than the technical experience side. When getting matched with a mentor, a mentee can select what they hope to gain from their mentorship experience. Hopeful mentees choose their top focus areas which aids in matching them with mentors who identify as experts in those areas.

At CED, mentorships span the nation, and colleagues have can be paired across our 60+ offices. Mentees can also receive guidance on any professional exams they may be interested in; for example: Professional Engineer (PE), Professional Land Surveyor (PLM), Landscape Architect, Certified Municipal Engineer (CME) and more!

Our mentorship program is not just for the new hires. If you are a longstanding legacy employee and looking to explore a new skillset, you can be a mentee! Whether you have been with the company for 15 weeks or 15 years, all are encouraged to participate in the program, both as a mentor and mentee.

Making an Impact

Mentorships can help shape a person’s career. Having a strong mentor is beneficial to both employees and the company. At CED, everyone is encouraged to participate in the Mentorship program.

Developing new relationships, especially with colleagues in different divisions of the company, gives you access to key resources available. In addition, as you develop these meaningful relationships, your mentors can also become your best advocates and references.

This National Mentorship Month, I encourage you to seek out a mentor at your workplace. At CED, we’ll be launching our mentorship program, and I will be enrolling to be a mentee! As a new hire, I am looking forward to meeting more people and learning more about what we offer clients. The opportunities to learn are endless, and I am glad to be a part of a company encouraging workplace mentorships.

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