Learning & Development

How to Master the Art of Mentoring in the Workplace

Now more than ever, mentoring in the workplace is essential for employee growth and success. As companies continue to work in a remote or hybrid capacity, the “how” of mentoring is changing and, according to industry experts, needs to be adaptable for virtual settings.

We recently connected with Tina Mirfarsi, VP of Communications & Culture at CarParts.com – a leader in the e-commerce automotive aftermarket – to discuss the importance of having mentors in the workplace, the impact of mentorship programs for career development, initiatives the company has put into place and more.

Here’s what she had to say.

Can you discuss the importance of having mentors in the workplace?

Having mentors in the workplace provides a foundation of support and encouragement for employees to do their best and succeed. Mentors are role models and trusted advisors to employees, supporting them in their development of new technical or soft skills, helping them navigate obstacles, and being a soundboard for new ideas. Mentorship programs don’t just benefit employees – they’re good for the whole company. They create stronger working relationships, improve workplace culture, and create a greater sense of inclusion. This all leads to higher retention rates as employees are more committed to their growth at the company.

What is the impact of mentorship programs for career development?

Mentorship programs have immense value and are an important aspect of career progression. Oftentimes, an employee’s development is not solely based on their performance; they also need guidance from people within the organization who can offer the right career advancement tools. Mentors typically have more years of experience under their belt, which means they also have a wider professional network. Mentors can make introductions for mentees and connect them with individuals in other parts of the business or more senior executives who might not regularly interact with the employee.

This will help employees gain a broader perspective, understand different areas of the business, develop leadership skills, and build their confidence. This is crucial for all employees, but especially for women, who have had to balance challenges at work and at home over the past few years. Connecting female employees with women in leadership positions empowers them to identify their career goals and learn how to achieve them – thus allowing them to reach their full potential and obtain leadership positions of their own down the line.

Being part of a mentorship program is particularly impactful for professionals just starting out in their careers. For instance, entry-level employees will be able to receive valuable feedback on their communication style and effectiveness, as well as gain a better understanding of their professional strengths and weaknesses, which can be targeted in their developmental efforts. Entry-level employees are the future of businesses, so investing in their growth will pay long-term dividends for any company.

What initiatives has CarParts.com put into place to tackle mentoring in the workplace?

At CarParts.com, we have a strong focus on women empowerment and building our female leaders up in the workplace. As part of this initiative, we’ve introduced an Open-Door Mentorship Program in which our senior female executives have committed to having an open-door policy for anyone looking for counsel and guidance. Any employee – regardless of their level or department – can request to have virtual or in-person “coffee breaks” with female executives to ask questions, find commonality and seek mentorship.

We also encourage reverse mentoring, which is the method of building professional relationships between a senior and junior employee for the purpose of planning and exchanging ideas and skills. This not only furthers relationships within the company, but also encourages collaboration, diversity, and inclusiveness. Participating in this program has given me the chance to connect with team members in departments very different from my own. I’ve enjoyed not only getting to know them but helping them navigate their careers and achieve their goals.

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