I recently read a provocative article that argued mentors have limited value; that success should be driven from within. To me, that’s a logical fallacy. Self-driven progress is critical, but that does not obviate the value of mentors (and the value of teachers, advocates, supportive peers, and talented teams). Everyone faces challenges at work, both perceived and real. Having a mentor or guide to help contextualize and navigate those challenges, whether by tapping into the mentor’s experience or by providing an outside perspective, hastens the ability for the mentee to resolve and move forward.
Studies support the intuition. Workers who have mentors are more likely to say they are satisfied with their jobs than those who do not have mentors. Nearly 90 percent of mentors and mentees say that their mentoring relationships make them feel empowered and provide a more prominent sense of confidence. In my experience, feeling comfortable at work not only improves satisfaction, it improves the quality we can deliver to customers.
So when I think about how to make the Legal Department, and the rest of Conduent, both successful and a fulfilling place to work, having mentors available is one of the important tools.
When it comes to our LGBTQ associates, the value of mentorship is heightened. The reason is as simple as it is powerful: in addition to the universal challenges that are simply part of working, the LGBTQ community, and other less-represented groups, frequently have additional concerns, many of which relate directly to feeling comfortable and confident at work. Comfort and confidence are exactly the concerns well addressed by having a mentor. So for LGBTQ associates, having mentors available is critical.
Conduent’s Women’s Impact Network, one of our Employee Impact Groups, recently sponsored a mentor matching program and invited Conduent’s LGBTQ employee group, Pride, to participate. I am proud that they were able to match mentors to 100% of the Pride members who requested one. It is a commitment to development; it is a commitment to inclusiveness; it is a commitment to our shared success.