At Medix, we foster a culture of solid mentoring, which improves the lives and performance of both mentees and mentors. 

When I was six years old, I met the head coach of the local high school football team, a man who is still an active mentor even today! I was a kind of volunteer ball boy who played football for this man when I got older, and I became completely captivated by how he went about his business. For example, whenever he gave a speech, he thanked his wife first. It was a simple act, but it has stayed with me all these years. He didn’t need to swear to get his point across, and he was disciplined, hardworking, and detailed in everything he did. No matter how tough he seemed, I knew I could go to him about anything. While I can’t speak for this man, I’m convinced that he got as much from the kids he guided as we got from him. Why else would he be a committed mentor all these years later? 

When I grew up and started coaching youth football, it hit me that I was now a mentor. The experience built on what I’d learned from that high school coach back when I was six, about discipline, building a winning team, and culture.

When I think of mentors, I also think of the owner/operator of a liquor store in my hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin. Even though the store catered to adults buying alcohol and cigarettes, it was also a place kids went for candy, soda, and trading cards. He paid kids for odd jobs, donated generously to causes, and extended IOUs to customers short on cash. He took care of his community, was good at explaining things, and had an affectionate nickname for everybody. When I’d come home from college, I would make a beeline straight for him so I could tell him what was happening in my life.  

Then there’s Harry Kraemer, a friend and management strategist. I play Harry’s videos before speaking engagements because it calms my nerves. I have fully adopted his Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership and have brought him to speak at Medix. He is gracious, humble, and willing to share his good fortune with others. He does an incredible job of leaning into his faith, and like that liquor store proprietor back in Appleton, he has a gift for simplifying things. When I think of Harry, I think of life, leadership, and legacy in whole new ways.

Benefits of Mentorship You Might Not Have Considered

I’ve already mentioned that the work performance of mentors and mentees improves thanks to the dynamics of mentoring, but there’s a third party that benefits, too, one that might not leap to mind when we think about mentoring – the company!

Mentors and mentees are more likely to be happy with their jobs, which makes teammates more engaged and productive. According to the blog post, Mentoring Programs: Purpose, Benefits, and How to Get Started, mentoring is linked to employee retention, a vital factor in company success. When companies lose a teammate, it impacts morale as teammates experience the loss of friends, and it drains energy from recruiters and human resources professionals. Mentoring provides safe spaces where mentees can speak freely without fear of upsetting a supervisor, asking “dumb questions,” or reading about the conversation later in a job performance evaluation. 

As a CEO, I want any so-called “dumb questions” to get asked because, first of all, there’s no such thing, and second, professional growth comes harder when people are afraid to admit what they don’t know. Slower professional growth also increases chances that a teammate won’t find gratification in their work and ultimately look elsewhere for it. 

And mentoring helps companies prevent the “brain drain” that results when seasoned teammates move on without imparting their wisdom, industry knowledge, and organizational memory to those about to move up. 

Not only that, but many mentors find themselves on the radar of top-level executives – and in the best possible way! They also stand to boost leadership and communication skills, and often, their technology expertise. This sharpening of mentors’ tech skills can come by learning them directly from their mentee. 

Last but certainly not least, the numbers of underrepresented populations in leadership roles tends to increase, which is great for organizational DEI. 

How Medix Approaches Mentorship

Every new recruiter at Medix is assigned to a mentor, someone who has seen success in their roles and has expressed a desire to help develop new talent. The more formal part of these mentorships lasts for the first 12 weeks of employment to allow new hires to acclimate to their role and familiarize themselves with corporate policies and procedures. But we don’t stop there. Each mentor remains assigned to their mentee as they move forward through their careers. Medix also assigns mentors to the teammates in sales roles to help them with the sales training process and to partner with them in roleplays and job shadowing. 

Bonus Mentorships

I’ve written frequently about Medix’s impact groups (what some organizations call employee resource groups). We’ve found that a lot of informal but effective mentoring goes on within these groups. Examples might be one teammate seeing another teammate’s name on a leaderboard and reaching out for advice, or one person describing a work challenge they’re facing and being connected with someone with the experience to help. 

These are the impact groups currently thriving at Medix: 

  • Women with Purpose
  • African American Network
  • Unidos (Latiné)  
  • Medix: Mission Military
  • Parents at Medix
  • Asian American Pacific Islander

Another plus? At Medix, teammate engagement with our DEI initiatives has gone up, such as when multiple impact groups lock arms to educate others about achievements, issues, and experiences they have in common.  

If your organization lacks a mentorship program, I encourage you to start one. If you lack a mentor, I encourage you to find one. And if you can mentor someone else, by all means, please do. The benefits will ripple far beyond yourself.