If You Want To Be A Great Mentor Do These 5 Things – Carrie Kerpen


While having a mentor can make a significant difference in your career, being one can also be a valuable experience—that comes with a lot of responsibility. A great mentor doesn’t just provide guidance and answers during career transitions or sticky situations; she also provides motivation and inspiration to help her mentee get to the next level and fulfill her potential.

Want to be a great mentor? Consider these five key skills.

  1. Listen.

“Listen first,” says Whitney Gonzales, marketing manager at Liingo Eyewear. “Think of yourself as a life coach. A good mentor always navigates the mentee to a solution or a next step; they don’t solve it for them. Help to remove roadblocks for your mentee, and alternatively, create bridges for them. Also understand that your mentee is not you, so they will want or need to carve their own professional path. You don’t need to be a perfect, shining example either. Your failures and hardships throughout life and your career are just as valuable to your mentee as are your successes. And realize, sometimes you are just there to listen.”

A good listening tip is to take notes during your mentoring sessions to stay actively engaged. If you can give your mentee some direction, make sure to follow up on that direction the next time you meet: “I remember you were going to ask for the promotion. How did that go?”

  1. Deliver honest feedback.

“I love mentors that keep it real and give honest feedback, including pointed criticism,” says Coral Chung, co-founder of luxury handbag brand Senreve. “While it’s wonderful to get support and be cheered on, it’s also important to hear things that other people are not willing to say. In the early days of Senreve, some of my best mentors were also my harshest critics, but that was okay because it helped me improve, and it showed that they have high expectations from me. Ultimately, their early feedback allowed me to have a very successful launch and first year of the company.”

“A mentor’s job is to provide knowledge, inspiration, and feedback to help light way,” adds Demi Marchese, founder of 12th Tribe. “You have to be comfortable enough to be constructive and not be afraid of critiquing their work. Don’t beat around the bush. Understand who you are speaking to, their needs, their strengths and where they want to go.”

  1. Motivate and inspire.

“The key for me personally is to influence and inspire the next generation to become strong, motivated, confident, and thoughtful leaders,” says Laurel Berman, founder and creative director of Black Halo. “If I’m able to accomplish that, I consider the mentorship a success.”

Adds Marchese, “Part of your role is inspiring your mentee to reach their fullest potential and challenging their comfort zone. Help them achieve the uncomfortable.”

Pro tip: A little goes a long way. Send an article when you see something relevant for your mentee—you’ll see how a small act can have a tremendous impact.

  1. Establish mutual respect.

“The relationship should be based on mutual respect, trust and support,” says Maryann Bruce, former president of Evergreen Investments Services. “The partnership needs to foster acceptance and safety where both parties feel safe enough to communicate openly and take risks without the threat of being judged, ridiculed or condescended to.”

One of the biggest ways to show respect for someone is by valuing their time. When you mentor someone, the truth is, you may be in a position of power and your time may be in fact more valuable—but that’s irrelevant. To you, this may be a quick call, but to your mentee, this may be the most important meeting of the day—so treat it as such.

 Be present and open.

“Show up, engage and participate,” says Berman. “They say that showing up is half the battle, but when you do show up, it’s crucial to be fully present, proactive and take initiative. Be prepared to share your experiences, both positive and negative.”

“Mentors should be open and honest with their mentees,” adds Melissa Musgrove, vice president, head of social media at Regions Financial Corporation. “Be willing to make time to offer advice, but also realize that no two career paths are the same, and the mentee’s decisions and career path are ultimately up to them. Oftentimes, mentors have just as much to learn as mentees. So look not only for what advice you can give, but also use it as an opportunity to learn from someone who has a different perspective and background.”

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New Study Shows Correlation Between Employee Engagement And The Long-Lost Lunch Break – Alan Kohll


Many American employees strive to perform their best in the workplace. They work overtime, agree to take on extra projects and rarely take a step away from their desk. In reality, this “work hard” mentality isn’t effective – and it’s definitely unhealthy. Employees who believe that they must work 24/7 to achieve a good standing in the workplace have the wrong idea. And unfortunately, employees often gain this idea through employers’ attitudes.

Chaining yourself to a desk or scarfing down your lunch in your cubicle isn’t a recipe for success – it’s a recipe for disaster. Without taking adequate breaks from work, employee productivity, mental well-being and overall work performance begin to suffer. Overworked employees often deal with chronic stress that can easily lead to job burnout. While this not only negatively affects employee health and well-being, it negatively affects the bottom line, too.

This is why it’s important that employers start encouraging employees to take breaks throughout the workday – especially lunch breaks. These breaks are essential in helping employees de-stress and re-charge for the rest of the workday. Regular breaks can also help improve overall job satisfaction. A recent survey by Tork shows exactly how important lunch breaks are, along with how rare they are in the North American workplace.

According to the survey:

  • Nearly 20% of North American workers worry their bosses won’t think they are hardworking if they take regular lunch breaks, while 13% worry their co-workers will judge them.
  • 38% of employees don’t feel encouraged to take a lunch break.
  • 22% of North American bosses say that employees who take a regular lunch break are less hardworking.

These statistics are really a shame because regular breaks create better employees. In fact, according to the Tork survey, nearly 90% of North American employees claim that taking a lunch breaks helps them feel refreshed and ready to get back to work. There are many research-backed health, wellness and performance benefits of taking breaks. Here are just a few examples of the benefits of regular breaks:

  • Increased productivity. While taking breaks might sound counterintuitive when it comes to boosting productivity, it’s one of the best ways to do so. Employees gain focus and energy after stepping away from their desks. A lunch break can help prevent an unproductive, mid-afternoon slump.
  • Improved mental well-being. Employees need time to recharge. Stress is incredibly common in the North American workplace, and it has detrimental effects on employees. Taking some time away from the desk to go for a quick walk or enjoy a healthy lunch helps release some of this stress and improves mental well-being.
  • Creativity boost. Taking a break can give employees a fresh perspective on challenging projects. It’s hard for employees to develop new ideas or solutions when they’ve been looking at the same thing all day. A lunch break will most certainly help get those creative juices flowing.
  • More time for healthy habits. Regular breaks, including a lunch break, give employees time to practice healthy habits in the workplace. They can use break times to make a healthy lunch, exercise, meditate, or engage in a self-care activity.


Besides these awesome benefits of regular breaks, the Tork survey also revealed that employees who take a lunch break on a daily basis feel more valued by their employer, and 81% of employees who take a daily lunch break having a strong desire to be an active member in their company.

North American employees who take a lunch break every day scored higher on a range of engagement metrics, including job satisfaction, likelihood to continue working at the same company and likelihood to recommend their employer to others.

I recently spoke with Jennifer Deal, the Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership and Affiliated Research Scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations at University of Southern California (USC). She had this to say about Tork’s research and employee lunch breaks:

“The Tork research shows that employees who take a lunch break are more likely to be satisfied with their job, and say they are as effective and efficient as they would like to be. This is consistent with other research, which shows that taking breaks from work is important for recovery – and adequate recovery is critical for top performance.

Energy isn’t unlimited, and just as athletes have halftime to rest during a game, employees need to rest so they can do their best work. Taking a break in the middle of the day for lunch is a recovery period, allowing employees to come back refreshed and reinvigorated for the second half – as this research clearly shows.”

Both Tork and Jennifer agree: employers will benefit from employees who take breaks. But how can employers change the mentality that “breaks are for slackers” in the workplace? Below are a few tips for encouraging employees to take breaks at your office:

  • Revamp break rooms. Be sure that the office has at least one break room for employees to retreat to whenever they need some time away from their desks. Provide comfortable furniture along with table and chairs for eating lunch. Employees will be more inclined to take breaks and lunch breaks when they have a comfortable space to do so.
  • Provide incentives. As a part of your workplace wellness program, offer employees some sort of incentive for taking regular breaks and a daily lunch break. Try creating a “break challenge” and have employees document their breaks throughout the day. Reward employees for their participation.
  • Discuss the benefits. Many employees aren’t aware of all the health and productivity benefits of regular breaks. Send out an email blast, put up some flyers or have managers give talks about the importance of taking some time away from the desk.
  • Take breaks yourself. Leading by example is always the best route. When employees see that their managers are taking lunch breaks and taking short breaks throughout the day, they’ll feel more encouraged to take breaks, too.

While the act of encouraging breaks is a huge step in the right direction, it’s also important to ensure that these breaks are healthy. For example, employees could potentially use break time for unhealthy habits such as getting fast food, smoking or scrolling through social media. Spending break time practicing poor health habits won’t yield productivity and wellness benefits.




Although employers can’t necessarily control how employees utilize their break time, they can certainly encourage healthy habits in the workplace. Here are some healthy break ideas:

  • Walking clubs. Team walking clubs are an excellent way to encourage regular breaks and physical activity. Encourage employees to form walking clubs with their colleagues and take two 10-minute walks each workday.
  • Healthy snacking. Stock company kitchens and break rooms with healthy snacking options like fresh fruit, veggies, hummus, and nuts. Encourage employees to take a midday break and do some healthy snacking together
  • Gym time. If employees really don’t want to leave the workplace for lunch, encourage them to use the gym instead. If you have an onsite gym, allow employees 30-minutes of on-the-clock time to use the facility. If you don’t have an onsite gym, consider bringing in a weekly yoga instructor or providing vouchers for gym memberships.
  • Socialize. Quality work relationships improve both mental and physical health. They help reduce stress and boost job satisfaction. Encourage employees to take breaks together by providing a game room or fun weekly team activities.
  • Quiet time. Sometimes break time is best spent as quiet time. Offer employees a quiet area to retreat to when they need to clear their minds and recharge. Employees can use this space to meditate, read or listen to some relaxing music.

Encouraging employees to take regular breaks throughout the day, including lunch breaks, is an easy way for employers to boost employee wellness along with work performance. Employers don’t want overworked employees running their business – it’s terrible for the bottom line. Help your employees feel refreshed and reduce some stress by allowing them to take regular breaks throughout the workday.

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How A Culture Of “Doing The Right Thing” Can Be Good For Business – Megan Hansen


MOD Pizza was founded with the goal of using business to make a positive social impact. Founders Ally and Scott Svenson realized that through the fast-casual pizza segment they pioneered, MOD could create a positive effect on the lives of their fiercely loyal employees. MOD’s hiring philosophy – that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not – continues to drive their success and gives their employees purpose.

The Challenge

When MOD learned that 5.5 million young people in the U.S., ages 18-24, are out of school and unemployed, they saw an opportunity to not only impact lives but solve a critical business need.  Like many other companies, MOD was having difficulty recruiting entry-level workers to keep up with the 2,000 MOD jobs created every year through their rapid expansion.  MOD was also challenged with high turnover; although their rate was typical of the restaurant industry, it was higher than they would like.

The Solution

Through FSG’s Innovation Lab program, MOD set out to discover whether a partnership with a community-based organization could help address their high turnover and recruitment challenges through providing them with both a pipeline of career-ready youth and the wrap-around supports these youth needed to be successful.

MOD decided to focus their pilot partnership in the Bay Area where MOD restaurants were facing upwards of 67% turnover at the 90-day mark.  Next, they identified potential partners in the region and ended up forming a partnership with JUMA, a national youth-centered social enterprise that was also interested in piloting a new employer partnership model.

The Result

Less than a year into the partnership, MOD is finding that their collaboration with JUMA is having an impact on their recruitment and turnover. Of young people hired by MOD during the pilot, only 50% turned over by the 90-day mark compared to 67% for the region.

When asked what they value most about the partnership, general managers shared that not only has the partnership eased their recruitment challenges, but it has also provided them with an amazing opportunity to invest in the youth.  MOD plans to scale impact hiring at a national level, building both partnerships and a database of community-based organizations that all MOD general managers can tap into as talent pipelines and for support.

Additionally, through the MOD-JUMA Pilot Study, MOD learned that 70% of their 6,000+ employee base are 18-24 years old and that the retention strategies implemented to support the youth hired through the pilot would also be beneficial for their entire employee base.  This has led to the launch of several new initiatives:

  • New KPIs: MOD has begun to hold General Managers accountable for turnover rates. They have set a company goal of reducing turnover by 20% and in 2018 are already seeing a measurable reduction in turnover and cost due to this change.
  • Education Benefits: Through their new Human Resource Information System, the team learned more about employees and their education levels.  With many of MOD’s youth lacking a college and sometimes high school degree, the company is hoping to add an education assistance program to their benefits package to help staff develop their skills for careers at MOD and beyond.
  • Transparent Career Pathways: MOD has developed resources that easily outline the steps and requirements to become a general manager. Their employees come from various backgrounds and bring their own MODness to the team. They recognize that they shouldn’t operate on the assumption that every employee intrinsically understands the pathway to promotion but should instead support employees in helping them get there. They also recognize that MOD might not be a long-term career for everyone, but they can equip employees with meaningful professional development for job opportunities outside of MOD and create pathways for wage progression.

What’s Next

MOD continues to build on their work with FSG and the Innovation Lab to lead in the Opportunity Employment space. Using their business as a platform, MOD is exploring new ways to impact lives at the store level and beyond. By sharing their story, MOD hopes to demonstrate the business value of collaborating for talent instead of fighting for it, and how investing in the lives of employees can produce a positive ROI. The company calls this “Spreading MODness” – the ripple effect of doing the right thing. That is MOD’s purpose and for them, it’s good business.

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The 6 Worst Kinds of Late People (And The Message They’re Sending) – William Vanderbloemen


You know these people. The late people. They make you crazy. You may be one of these people. The truth is, I’ve been all of these people at one time or another. And all seven of these people make me crazy too.

What people don’t realize is how the simple mistake of being late carries big consequences. When I’m late, it sends unintended messages to the room about me, and it’s not good. If you’re in an interview with me and I get one these messages, you may put yourself in an unwinnable position.

Meet the six worst kinds of late people and the message they are sending:

1. The “Frantic”

Every one of us knows this person. They run in the room with hair on fire (actually, they usually run in the place with wet hair), and bustle in just as you’re getting started (and after you’ve already waited).

Message sent: “I am drama.”

This kind of lateness projects a life that is out of control. A life that stays in drama mode. In the thousands of searches I’ve done over the years, I’ve never had a client ask for someone that is drama. In fact, most people want team members who are calm.

Conversely, being on time reduces stress.

By some estimates, the stress relief industry (products, books, etc.) is an $11 billion industry in the US alone. Here’s a free way to achieve what people are paying to find: be on time.

2. The “Unaware” (aka The Self Absorbed)

Ever have someone walk into a meeting late and not even notice they’re late? “Oh, have you all been waiting?”

Message sent: “I’m more important than you.”

The old saying is true: we measure what matters (to us). If you take steps to be on time for our meeting, you are actively communicating that you respect my time. Conversely, an innocent oversight of time can project a really self-absorbed image. That’s tough to recover from.

3. The “Unapologetic”

Some people just walk into a meeting late and keep rolling as if nothing has happened.

Message sent: “I don’t care.”

Being on time shows you can execute on a promise. Interviewing, at its root, is an attempt to size up whether or not a candidate can do a job. Showing up on time means that one of our very first contracts (the appointment) is one you can execute on. Being late and not apologizing? That tells me not only that you cannot do the job, but also that you do not care.

4. The “Victim”

“You won’t believe what happened to me on the way to work…” Actually, you’re right; I don’t believe you.

Message sent: “I’m a victim.”

Nobody wants to hire someone that’s a constant victim. Far too often, people respond to an error with excuses, with stories of what happened to them that cause them to be late. Yes, things happen, but not time after time. And when they do happen, the rare and refreshing response is the person who finds a way to own their mistake and learn from it.

5. The “Considerate”

How many times have you gotten the email or text from someone right before the meeting telling you all of the reasons they’re going to be late? Sometimes, this is a good thing, but most of the time?

Message sent: “Don’t believe me.”

I appreciate the heads up, but when the heads up is a three-page email, and the person walks in late with a Starbucks in hand, things get suspicious. How you respond to an error makes all the difference in how it is received. But wasting time writing a long email because the line for coffee is too long? That diminishes credibility.

6. The “Chronically Late”

This one is the worst, and whether you realize it or not, it sends a very clear message:

Message sent: “Don’t count on me.”

Being on time shows you’re in control of your life. It’s a broken world, and people are sometimes late for reasons out of their control. Try to drive anywhere in Houston one day and you’ll understand. In the end, an appointment is an agreement. If you constantly break my trust by failing to fulfill our agreement, I’m at the least going to think you’re undependable, and at worst not going to trust any of your promises.

Now that we have done over 10,000 face-to-face interviews at Vanderbloemen, I realize it’s the simple things that separate great candidates from the rest of the field. This one tip may be the most valuable…..Be on time.

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