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5 ways to redefine mentorship

Have you ever admired a colleague for a particular talent or skill, and thought, “I wonder how they got to where they are today?”

Have you ever admired a colleague for a particular talent or skill, and thought, “I wonder how they got to where they are today?” The desire to learn from this person, and absorb some of their knowledge is the basis for mentorship – it’s wanting to learn from someone you deeply respect.

At CH2M, mentorship has always supported our success.

CH2M founder Jim Howland once said, “We have long established that great success can be obtained through bringing in bright people, giving them challenging work, and encouraging them to expand their capabilities with the help of a good coach.”

But there is more to mentorship than meets the eye. We’ve outlined five ways we redefine mentorship at CH2M.

  1. Most mentoring is bite-sized and casual. There’s a good chance you’re already engaging in mentorship. You just might not realize it. Mentoring isn’t always formal. Most of the time, it can be found in a quick question to a teammate or a new project you’re working on with people of different backgrounds and skillsets. They key is learning to identify these brief moments as mentorship opportunities and making the most of them.
  2. Mentorship is reciprocal. Effective mentorship often involves a two-way exchange. An individual in a manager or leadership position may not always have all of the answers. Similarly, every generation has a unique perspective on work and life, and has something new to offer. The more we are willing to learn from each other’s experiences, the more of an inclusive organizational culture we create.
  3. It’s an important way to transfer knowledge. As each generation retires, it’s important that there is a knowledge transfer. Mentorship gives us all the chance to learn from one another and preserve how we do what we do.
  4. Different mentors serve different needs. You can absolutely have more than one mentor, and you should choose the mentor you think would help the most with a given subject. Don’t be afraid to go to different people for different things. Choosing a mentor or mentee across social, demographic and organizational lines can also help you broaden your understanding of the range of challenges people in your company face and how your learning can progress. 
  5. It’s fundamental to developing your career. What better way to build a brand and let others know what you do – and what you’d like to do – than meeting new people? Establishing a diverse set of mentors also opens up the door for all sorts of learning opportunities, a chance to explore areas you didn’t know about and even begin establishing potential new career paths.

“You can’t just put head down and hope you’ll get recognized,” said CH2M Career Development Program Manager Bo Storozuk. “It’s crucial to connect with your colleagues. Let them know what you’re doing and what you want to be doing so you can keep moving forward in your career.”

We’re always thinking about mentorship opportunities at CH2M. Our Human Resources team recently launched a new global platform exclusively dedicated to making mentorship more accessible for our teammates. This unique program is scalable to a local level, helping employees build their network, develop a diverse perspective, grow as individuals, refine their coaching and mentoring skills, and gain insights on new areas of the organization. It may even lead to new career opportunities within the organization.

“As a mentor, it’s always a pleasure to share the experience and insight that I might’ve had to learn the hard way,” said CH2M Learning and Organizational Development Consultant Madeline Cranfield. “Mentors, enjoy the journey. Mentees, go ahead and connect with someone you admire. You might even end up learning something along the way.”

Ready to expand your horizons? Learn more about careers at CH2M.

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