“Do you want to sell toothpaste all your life?”
This question, and the moment after it, is one of the strongest memories I have in my life. In a lovely coffee shop on the corner of 23rd and 8th, reflecting on what I wanted to do with my life was the most significant turning point of my life. That was when I had the ultimate clarity about the direction I wanted to take my career in. That was when I knew I could never take that cushy marketing job and lead an ordinary life. And that’s because the person asking me the question had faith that I was meant to take up something more significant. He presented the possibilities of what I could be, the things I could do, the impact I could create. He pushed me away from comfort and familiarity, urging me to explore unknown waters and pursue a career in technology. A job that led me to build BHyve.
This person, James, is my mentor. A father figure who consciously and subconsciously groomed me to the place I am today. As we look at all the Father’s Day posts on social media, I’m compelled to think about the critical role mentors play, especially in workplaces, as father figures we look up to.
As young graduates passing out of college, we are all advised to seek mentors. We are asked to look for people who inspire us, challenge us, give us hope, direction and a safe environment to fail and learn. But how many of us are fortunate to find mentors that transform our careers at the right time? Mentoring at workplaces happens by chance. You’re lucky If you find someone who sees the spark of talent in you and is willing to put in the time and effort to groom it. Most workplaces are built to get the work done. Employee grooming and wellbeing is usually left to L&D managers and employees themselves.
“Ask for as many coffee meetings as possible. That’s how you will know people, and people will know you.” So I was told, in my first internship. Sounds completely foolproof.
But we all know the tremendous impact a suitable mentor can have on your career graph. In my personal experience, I have reached out to mentors at essential crossroads in my professional life and have gained from their thoughts and suggestions.
An experienced hand
Not through classrooms and textbooks, mentors are able to grow us through lived experiences. They can share their journey and pitfalls and make sure you don’t make those same mistakes.
A looking glass
One of the prominent roles mentors play is being an unbiased lens that can help you reflect on your actions, realign priorities and keep you on track to success. They intervene at moments of doubt, confusion and provide much needed clarity.
Be your fallback option
One of the most crucial things my mentor told me was, “If you feel confident about a thing, go do it. If it succeeds, you would have earned it. If it fails, I still got your back”. This affirmation was vital to push me out of my comfort zone, get me to take certain calculated risks and know, and I would have a fallback.
Can you imagine the risk-taking and innovation a simple statement like this can unleash if every employee at your organisation had a mentor to back them!
Having a father figure at the workplace is a quintessential requirement for any young employee to thrive and reach their full potential.
So today, on Father’s Day, we reflect on our needs at the workplace, our needs to get mentored, our needs to have a human safe place, an embodiment of someone who can demonstrate workplace fatherhood. And again, fatherhood in our context is gender independent.
Employees of young age have an impressionable mind, and guiding them through the tricky corporate waters is what a ‘Workplace Father’ can do! But that begs the question, ‘Why aren’t workplaces driving mentorship in their design? Why aren’t their structural practises to help young employees discover and connect with people who can help them grow? ‘
We want to ask this question this Father’s Day and provide BHyve as an argument to become a platform to give this mentorship. Not leave mentorship as an activity of chance, or even worse, a checkbox activity, but use BHyve to unleash the power of mentoring, guide the organisation’s young brains, and transform them into future leaders. Mentor them as fathers, groom them towards creating their own success stories.
Effective mentorship can also help retain this ever curious and ever-important talent and provides a significant pipeline of fresh new ideas to be cultivated. One of the founding philosophies of BHyve is to simulate these relationships of the workplace with the help of artificial intelligence.
To book a demo with our organisational psychologist to explore how you can use BHyve to launch a Mentor Network at your organisation, Log onto www. https://bhyve.io/