Author: Sharita Hanley
If career development is one of your highest priorities in a job, you are on par with most other workers. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, 93% of employees revealed they would stay at a company longer if that company invested in their careers. More than 50% shared that they prefer being able to learn at work and at their own pace.
That’s what makes RelationEdge’s R-Eager Mentorship program a vital piece of our company’s culture of continuous improvement, and one of the reasons many employees can see a path for growth with RelationEdge.
Spearheaded by our own driven employees Kortney Cervantes, Zach Kadlec and Elizabeth Mascia-Willman, the R-Eager initiative was created to foster leadership skills, encourage collaboration and facilitate employees’ career growth and job knowledge.
The program, which launched on September 10, 2018, pairs mentors and mentees together based on skill sets, desired career path and personality. In order to gain an insider’s perspective of the program, we sat down with 6 participants — 3 mentors (Maggie Alberts, Lilly Howell and Chris Remington) and 3 mentees (Kiren Khan, Patrick Sturgis and Trevor Yager) — to learn about their experiences.
Here’s how peer to peer mentoring has helped support their career development needs and can help meet yours, as well.
R-Eager Provides a Safe Place to Explore Possibilities, Learn New Skills and Ask Questions
Oftentimes, employees feel like they have to look outside of work to explore new roles or learn skills that fall outside of their role’s training. Peer-to-peer mentoring initiatives like R-Eager prove this isn’t true. This program offers an opportunity for employees to explore career possibilities and broaden their expertise outside of their current role.
Senior Developer Trevor Yager joined the program for the very reason of exploring various career paths. “I was wondering if I would be interested in becoming a Technical Architect one day,” he shares. Being paired with mentor and Technical Architect Maggie Alberts gave him that opportunity. Trevor says, “The program is a great way to learn from somebody else who has more experience in a role that you’re interested in. It’s a nice way to get some insight and glean some knowledge from them. It’s nice to hear what it takes and what that role is actually like on a day to day basis.”
Peer-to-peer mentoring also provides an opportunity to expand and improve your professional skills and mindset. “I’m definitely not where I want to be in terms of skill level and experience,” Salesforce Engineer Patrick Sturgis admits. Being paired with mentor Lilly Howell allows Patrick to gain new perspectives and insights. “I think it’s important for every company to have mentorship [available], because you’re obviously going to have people that have different levels of experience working for you and everybody comes from a different background with different skill sets, so it’s a great way to share ideas.”
Internal mentoring groups like R-Eager are safe places to ask questions, address issues and solve problems. “I actually had a flow I built broke,” Patrick continues. “I needed quick assistance and the first person that popped into my mind was Lilly because she’s a great Solution Architect and she’s great with flows. It was a no-brainer going to her for help, and she was there almost instantaneously even though she had a full schedule with managing calls. She really didn’t mind stopping what she was doing to help me figure out what was going on.” Peer-to-peer mentoring allows employees to build professional relationships outside of just their own team, strengthening the network of support across the company.
R-Eager Promotes a Flexible Learning Structure
Flexibility is another advantage of peer-to-peer mentoring. Traditional learning methods such as webinars, lectures and classes operate on set schedules. Unfortunately, these schedules can conflict with an employee’s already-limited free time. R-Eager, on the other hand, allows participants to set their own timetable and fit the program into their work schedule. “Some people might get thrown off by how R-Eager doesn’t have a set [time] structure,” Project Manager Kiren Khan says, referencing the flexible approach she and her mentor, Chris Remington, use. “It doesn’t feel like a class or a lecture. It’s more like; set up a meeting at your own convenience with your mentor, talk to them however long you want, whenever you want about whatever you want.” This free-form structure allows team members to learn at their own pace, relieving a lot of the pressure and time constraints surrounding career development.
Mentor and Solution Architect Lilly Howell agrees. “I liked that they gave us some initial guidelines, but that we’re able to kind of go and do our own thing. Patrick and I spent the first month or so building our relationship, figuring out we had a mutual love for college football. Now, all we [mostly] talk about is work. We just needed that time to get to know each other as humans and not just another Salesforce nerd.” Programs like R-Eager offer flexibility that allows you to learn and grow at the convenience of your own schedule while also enabling you to get to know the person you’re learning from.
R-Eager Broadens Your Professional Network in a Personal Way
In a world where LinkedIn and other digital platforms have become the norm for professional networking, peer-to-peer mentoring initiatives like R-Eager broaden employees’ networks in a personal way. “A big thing for me,” Patrick shares, “is having time that is carved out once or twice a week to separate yourself from your project work and just have fellowship with another RE employee. Just having that time to be able to get away, talk to other people that are in the same industry and are doing the same kind of projects is really nice.” What he enjoys most is that in addition to their professional connection, he and Lilly have developed a personal friendship as well. “Lilly and I really mesh well… we share a lot of the same interests, our personalities click really well and it’s easy to have a conversation with her. I don’t feel like it’s a subordinate type of thing,” he says, admitting he considers Lilly a friend.
Chris and Kiren share a similar relationship. “There have been days where Chris and I talk purely work… and then some days, like last week, our conversation was, ‘Hey, I read an article online about working remotely.’ We talk about a variety of things like how I can manage my workload better, organize my day better, manage client emotions and my team better — and even about how to sleep better. I’ve really gotten a lot of one-on-one wisdom.” These kinds of personal yet professional relationships result in amazing accountability partners full of positive influence.
R-Eager Provides You an Accountability Partner & Positive Influence
“For me,” Engagement Manager and mentor Chris Remington says, “this program is really about bringing up the level of all of us. As we learn from each other, we’re bringing the level of the organization up and that helps us to be more consistent in how we deliver to our clients. In regards to project managers, the program really helps to build the community within the center of excellence we’re working in.” As he holds Kiren accountable, she stays motivated to consistently give her clients the best.
Kiren agrees. “I get so much motivation. It’s not fake. It’s super genuine. I get positive feedback and constructive criticism but it’s all honest feedback. It motivates me so much because if my peer is doing this and they’re guiding me, I can do that too,” she says, explaining how Chris is keeping her motivated to pursue her Admin Certification.
The ability to create positive influence is one of the main reasons Technical Architect and mentor Maggie Alberts joined the program. “I’m not someone who gets hung up on what my title is,” she says. “So my feeling is that leadership comes from more than just a title and one of those things is influence. There isn’t anyone you can’t learn from,” she explains, acknowledging that her mentee Trevor influences her as much as she hopes she influences him. “Trevor knows a ton of stuff about Lightning I’d like to know more of. Trevor also knows a bunch of stuff about software development tools that I would also like to know more about,” she outlines, adding that her favorite part of the program is that Trevor’s so wonderful, he makes her look good! “But seriously speaking, it’s fantastic to be able to exchange ideas and see what various topics mean not only to me, but to RelationEdge as a business.”
As mentees are held accountable by their mentors, they are surrounded by positive influence which keeps them motivated. And as we all know, motivated employees excel in their careers.
It’s Your Turn
So what are you waiting for? It’s convenient, takes just a few seconds to join, benefits you professionally and personally, and helps you build lasting relationships. Every person we spoke with was enthusiastic in recommending this program to their fellow RelationEdge peers.
“Even if you think you’re not a vocal leader, you never really know how valuable your insights are for others.”
“Whether you’re looking to learn or to teach or to just share back and forth with someone else, it’s a great opportunity to be able to connect with your peers, to learn from your peers and to give something back to your peers.”
“You’re really just making a connection with another person. So the worst case is you get to know someone new at work and the best case is that you end up building a relationship and having a new colleague that you’ll always be able to reach out to whether you stay with RelationEdge or even further down the line in your career.”
“The things you get out of life are about what you put into it.”
“It’s a great way to find out ways to stay current in your particular field of interest.”
It’s your turn now. What effort are you willing to put into your desire for career development and advancement? If you’re looking to explore, ask questions, be held accountable, and build a larger professional network while making personal connections, R-Eager is for you. Listen to your peers and jump right in.
How to Sign Up
To sign up for R-Eager, go to your Home Page in Salesforce Lightning. On the right hand side of the home page, fill out the form titled R-Eager Program Enrollment.
Hint: It looks something like this