September 24, 2019
The Importance of Mentoring
By Stacy Christensen, SHRM-SCP PACCAR Inc. HR Manager
The Importance of Mentoring
“Why should I have a mentor?” What does it mean to have a mentor? Is it worth the time? These are questions that many ask themselves at some point during their career. And most whether accepting a formal or informal mentorship, find that there is quite a bit to learn from the experience. It is never too late in your career to gain knowledge and direction from a mentor.
Both formal and informal mentor programs benefit any organization as employees work together to learn from each other. The idea of partnering a more experienced, knowledgeable person (mentor) with someone who is seeking to learn and grow (mentee) is not a new idea. The concept dates back to Homer’s The Odyssey, a classic poem written in between 675-725 BCE describing the adventures of Odysseus, King of Ithaca. Mentor was a character that was in charge of looking after, encouraging, and assisting Odysseus’ son while Odysseus was away on his travels. This simple, yet revolutionary idea caught on and businesses have been establishing and encouraging professional partnerships ever since. PACCAR Leasing, through our parent company PACCAR Inc, offers employees both formal and informal mentoring to its employees and have seen success for both the mentor and mentee.
Benefits to Participants
The goal of a mentorship program is to allow a senior employee the opportunity to guide a junior employee. The mentor helps the mentee get oriented to the industry or company, understand the company culture better, and navigate difficult social or work issues. In addition to benefitting the mentee’s professional life, the relationship also benefits their personal life. A mentor can give advice on juggling work-life balance, clarifying personal goals, and overcoming social and personal challenges that may arise on the job.
Mentors also gain when they participate in a mentorship program. A study completed in England and Wales has shown mentors experience less stress and anxiety at work. This is attributed to the fact that mentors find their jobs more meaningful when they participate in a mentorship program. In addition, a formal mentorship program allows both mentors and mentees to discuss the daily stress and anxieties of the workplace. This gives a positive outlet to both participants.
PACCAR mentors and mentees have positive feedback about our mentorship program and feel it has enhanced their careers as well as aided in establishing professional friendships. Mentees who approached the program earnestly found themselves exposed to new areas of our business or promoted to new roles after working with a mentor. Mentors have enjoyed meeting new coworkers and being able to “pay it forward”.
To see how this program made an impact, just look at some of the feedback from participants of our Mentorship Program:
“This is an awesome program for mentees to have the opportunity to talk with PACCAR’s managers, directors or VPs. This program is all about helping you” – Maggie, Mentee
“I’m grateful for the opportunity provided by PACCAR’s Mentorship Program and encourage everyone to take advantage of the program.” – Andrew, Mentee
“The relationship between Mentor and Mentee is confidential; feel free to be honest” – Dale, Mentor
“It's ok if your expectation is career development or just networking, the Mentorship Program is beneficial to all participants” – Tracey, Mentor
Benefits to the Organization
Organizations as a whole benefit from mentor programs as well. An in-depth case study showed employees who participated in the program at their company were five times more likely to advance in pay grade and promotions; the mentors made even more progress. The company also was able to increase retention rates, as participants were significantly more likely to stay at the company.
In addition, companies also looking to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace find a formal program results in an increase in minority representation at the management level. PACCAR is committed to a workplace that is both diverse and inclusive. This program is a key part of our overall diversity and inclusion initiatives.
How to Participate
At PACCAR Leasing, we see the benefits of mentoring, and encourage our employees to participate in the Corporate PACCAR Mentoring Program. To learn more about the program please reach out to your Human Resources team. If you are not a PACCAR Leasing employee, find out if your company has a mentor program by asking your local Human Resources representative. If you do not currently have a formal program in place, it is never too late to start.
Encyclopedia Britannica (n.d.) Odyssey. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Odyssey-epic-by-Homer
Wikipedia (n.d.) Mentor (Odyssey). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentor_(Odyssey)
Gill. M. & Roulet, T. (2019, March 1) Stressed at Work? Mentoring a Colleague Could Help. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2019/03/stressed-at-work-mentoring-a-colleague-could-help
Beheshti, N. (2019, January 23). Improve Workplace Culture with a Strong Mentoring Program. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nazbeheshti/2019/01/23/improve-workplace-culture-with-a-strong-mentoring-program/#7daa273b76b5