How Mentoring Can Help Women Climb the Corporate Ladder
It’s a common misconception that women do not help other women in the workplace and that those who do make to the top it do so with little help. However, when navigating today’s competitive work environment, it’s important to reach out for guidance. With more and more women leaning in and entering the professional workforce, mentoring is an invaluable way to build up more successful and talented businesswomen.According to “How To Build a Successful Mentoring Program,” a guide created by the University of North Carolina’s online MBA program MBA@UNC, more than three-fourths of Fortune magazine’s prestigious top 25 companies offer mentoring programs. These programs give senior members of the business community the opportunity to mold the progress of younger members, making more efficient and well-versed employees simply by taking advantage of the resources at hand.There are plenty of ways to implement an efficient mentoring program for women in the workplace; these include one-on-one, peer and group mentoring programs. In a workplace world where misogyny (outright and internalized) still exists, women have to help each other out. Mentoring is the best way to propel women further and further up the corporate ladder.The Guardian has published multiple online pieces focusing on mentoring among women. Some say that it’s a rare workplace occurrence, while others say that it is commonplace and often accidental, while others still mention the need for more female role models. MBA@UNC’s mentoring guide was created after the program director of the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, Horace McCormick, stressed the importance of such programs in many aspects of business—from retaining employees to increasing inclusiveness in the work environment. Think of mentoring as a sort of “pay it forward” ideology—a new employee is mentored by a more senior member of the workforce, and years later she mentors a new hire from an entirely different perspective.Mentors can teach new hires the ins and outs of a business, from everyday knowledge that is directly related to the type of work they are doing, to seemingly mundane, office trivia like how to work the coffee maker or where to buy a cheap lunch. Mentoring can mean weekly meetings or short, daily conversations or a burst of intense one-on-one work that only lasts a few weeks. Whichever method is utilized isn’t important; what is important is that the mentoring takes place. It is especially important for recent graduates who often fail or quit when starting a new job without the help of a mentor. Mentoring increases the longevity of engagement and the quality of a worker.For those who are looking for mentors, try social media. LinkedIn and Twitter are incredibly helpful in the professional world and you could find a mentor from your own company and beyond. For higher-level employees, take a young woman under your wing and watch her grow into a successful businesswoman to add to the ranks.