If career growth or change is on your list of goals for 2022, then you might want to consider an often-underrated professional growth hack—mentoring. And, with today being Thank Your Mentor at Work Day, there’s never been a better time to look at what mentoring is, and why it matters for us here at Quik. Because let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like appreciation to express our gratitude to those who inspire us, and believe in us, and guide us in the right direction. And, with the revolution the pandemic has brought to the world of work, mentoring has gained a new-found importance across several industries, including iGaming, making awareness around this professional tool increasingly crucial to both mentors seeking to empower those around them, and mentees looking for inspiration and guidance on how to grow professionally.
What is mentoring?
Mentoring allows people to help or give advice to others, providing mentees with guidance and tips from mentors with more experience in the field. In the workplace, this transfer of knowledge is invaluable for those seeking career progression—as it often provides them with the necessary tools and feedback needed to boost their growth, both on a professional level, but also on a personal one.
Why is mentoring important?
Both formal as well as informal mentoring bring advantages to all those involved—mentees get a chance at experiential learning, allowing them to internalise and learn precious skills on the job, as well as receive crucial, and unbiased feedback and guidance from more experienced colleagues in the industry. This, in turn, is likely to improve their work and performance, increasing their job satisfaction, and their chances for promotions and salary increases.
Fostering a mentorship culture has proven benefits at a wider business level. Not only does it promote a learning culture, one in which sharing of knowledge and experience is valued and encouraged, but it can also lead to an overall, better and healthier business. If your employees are happier, it’s likely that their work, engagement and performance are better, and it’s also less likely that they’ll try to seek job satisfaction elsewhere, improving a company’s retention rates and overall performance.
Mentoring at Quik
The above and much more are just some of the reasons why we’re strong advocates for mentoring here at Quik. Sharing of knowledge and experience are key to innovation. And, with that topping our list of priorities, there is also employee growth and satisfaction.
Naturally, as with most work-related topics, mentoring has changed drastically over these past two years. The pandemic, and the overall increase in hybrid and remote work arrangements have brought immense opportunity to organisations worldwide, but it’s also led to new, often underestimated challenges. Not only were companies forced to shift and adapt their communication strategies, but with fewer of those so-called water cooler moments, employees, experienced or new, have had to adapt and find new ways to not only get to know their colleagues, but also recreate those often casual interactions that are key to career growth.
As a result, mentorship in the workplace has gone through great changes throughout these past two years. A lot has been said and written about in-person vs virtual communication in the workplace, and, if we want to be completely honest, it’s hard to debate the pros of meeting in person from a business point of view. It makes it easier to read social cues, pick up on any reactions and emotions, and even just notice how they’re affected by what you’re saying. But, that’s not to say that virtual communication can’t be just as great. And while our worries might have shifted from finding the right meeting room, to ensuring our connection is working well, Quik’s mentoring program has adapted well to the remote revolution.
Our Mentoring best practises
This is why we thought we’d share some of the ways we’re making it work—hoping to inspire and motivate others to empower their teams through mentoring, regardless of whether this happens virtually or in-person.
1. Build an authentic connection
Effective communication is key to successful mentorship. Having a solely-online relationship with someone makes it harder to speak up and open up about your struggles and failures. This is why regular communication between mentors and mentees can help alleviate this. One way of doing this is through scheduling regular check-ins such as 1:1 meetings. Although having a set of priority points to talk through helps ensure nothing important falls through the cracks, however setting an informal tone to these meetings will help mentors appear more approachable in the eyes of less experienced mentees, and will help create a safe space for them to openly chat about their success and problems.
QUIK TIP: Instead of jumping straight to your session, ask about your mentee’s wellbeing and have off-topic conversations for a few minutes. This will not only show you care about the mentee but will also help you find a common ground outside of work.
2. Listen and communicate your expectations
Knowing each other’s roles and expectations is key to being organised and knowing when to reach out. It’s key for mentors to define their roles, and for mentees to communicate their needs and their goals, so that these can be defined and prioritised with the help of their mentors.
Naturally, one crucial element of communication is listening. Pay special attention to what your mentee is telling you both explicitly during your 1:1 meetings, but also implicitly through their performance. And, as a mentee, ensure you’re taking note of the feedback your mentor is giving you, and putting it into practice.
QUIK TIP: To optimise communication during your mentoring meetings, turn off any notifications, and ensure you’re working from a dedicated workspace. This will minimise any distractions and allow you to focus your attention during online meetings.
3. Lead by example
As a mentor, you have the power to drive the change you want to see. And, that comes with immense responsibility. Leading by example is a key aspect of great leadership—regardless of your current rank. If you’re incredibly passionate about instilling a certain skill or trait in your mentees, make sure you’re demonstrating that same skill or trait in your own work. Not only are your mentees more likely to pick up and learn by example—they’re also more likely to understand the real benefits it will eventually bring them if they can see it in action.
QUIK TIP: You don’t have to be perfect to be a mentor. You can still make mistakes and be a great example for your mentees. Owning up to your mistakes is an often- underestimated yet essential part of trust building.
Every day is a good day to celebrate your mentor—more so today on Thank Your Mentor at Work Day, which is celebrated on the 25th of January 2022. Don’t forget to take a minute or two to thank your mentor—sending them a virtual card, emailing them, or making a call is a great way of doing this. Let them know they make a difference in your life by being your mentors. Showing them this appreciation can really make their day, and strengthen your relationship in the long run. And, don’t forget to keep an eye out for any new or junior colleagues looking for support and assistance. You never know; you might be the one receiving a thank you card next year, showing you gratitude for being someone else’s mentor.