SHRM Foundation Offers Mentoring, Career Programs for Students, Emerging Professionals

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek January 7, 2022
Foundation mentoring initiatives

​The SHRM Foundation is kicking off the new year with an emphasis on developing the skills of emerging HR professionals through three separate mentorship programs: HR Pathways and Perspectives, HR Talent Accelerator, and HR Career Mentoring.

HR Pathways and Perspectives

HR Pathways and Perspectives is a 90-minute interactive webinar featuring HR professionals from different industries, functions and career levels. During the sessions, panelists will:

  • Showcase different HR career paths.
  • Share insights and lessons they have learned during their careers.
  • Provide students and emerging professionals with information on how to launch and navigate their careers.
Jason Fisher attended one of the webinars in 2021. He currently serves as a senior noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Army and is interested in entering HR after he transitions out of the military.

"The panel was incredibly helpful," he said, adding that he walked away with the knowledge that earning a SHRM certification is doable, an understanding that HR is an incredibly large field with many functional areas and a better idea of which areas he would like to explore.

Sessions of HR Pathways and Perspectives are scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 20, Feb. 24 and March 24 and are open to SHRM members and nonmembers. Registration closes 24 hours before each of those dates.  There is no cost to participate, and all events are virtual.

HR Talent Accelerator

This four-week program is for students and emerging professionals who are national SHRM members and have zero to three years of HR experience. Participants complete a project that solves an HR-related problem. Over the course of a month, participants meet in small groups with mentors to discuss their individual projects. The experience culminates in participants giving a presentation to HR professionals who offer feedback.

Sarah Noble, an HR analyst at Terracon Consultants, headquartered in Olathe, Kansas, said she learned a lot from the program when she participated in fall 2021.

"I was able to pick a project [about] an HR topic I am less familiar with and develop it with a group of wildly amazing mentors from across the country," she said.

In her current role handling employee relations, she does not have as much opportunity to observe and learn from those working in operational HR, Noble noted.

"I was feeling like I was always putting out fires and never being able to proactively help my managers develop their staff before minor annoyances turned into major problems," she said. "That is how I ended up in the HR Talent Accelerator, choosing the talent development group."

One of her biggest takeaways from the experience, she said, was discovering that collaboration is a crucial part of inclusion.

"Our entire group was from different industries, different cities, different demographics—different everything," she noted, so although all mentees worked on the same case study, "we each ended up with wildly different, but amazing, presentations."

She said the experience also showed her that learning requires vulnerability.

"At work, I always come fully prepared and practiced so that nobody has the opportunity to question my ability. This project was different," she explained. "I was willing to show up to my group of highly experienced mentors and ask for guidance. It felt uncomfortable to reveal that I was at a crossroads with my project. I was anxious that somebody was going to call me out for being an HR fraud. The opposite happened. I learned so much in that mentorship session and was able to cross the finish line with the project."

Other lessons she said she learned from the experience include:

  • The difference between presentations for end-users of the information versus presentations for the senior leaders who will approve your initiative's request.
  • The importance of an overall presentation design to win over audiences. 
  • How to apply the ADDIE model of instructional design to an actual case study. "This model is 'easy' in textbooks but challenging to apply to your talent development needs," Noble said.
  • How to fully and effectively evaluate the success of your talent development (TD) program through Kirkpatrick's Evaluation Model. 
"I do feel better prepared to return to my day job," she said, "and pull the TD opportunities out of my employee relations issues."

The spring 2022 program begins Feb. 15 and ends March 10; registration closes Feb. 4.

HR Career Mentoring

This three-month program for national SHRM members begins April 4 and ends June 30. Registration closes March 18.

Students and mentors participate in three monthly coaching and mentoring sessions. Mentors and mentees are matched based on preferences shared in their applications and may meet more than the required four to eight hours during the course of the program. Participants receive pre-event resources, and the Foundation checks in monthly with participants.

Access additional information on becoming a mentor or becoming a mentee

Other SHRM resources:
Creating a Mentor Program, SHRM Student Resources
Career Compass, SHRM and SHRM Foundation podcast
How to Find Your First Career Mentor, HR Magazine, August 2021
Employers Engage Interns with Zoom Lunch-and-Learns, Speed Mentoring, SHRM Online, October 2020
The Power of HR Mentorship: A Two-Way Street, SHRM Online, February 2020
The Mentoring Guide: Helping Mentors and Mentees Succeed, SHRMStore



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