Be a Mentor During National Mentoring Month

Mentoring is integral to HR and SHRM certification

By Rena Gorlin January 10, 2019
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​Mentoring is top of mind as 2019 begins. January is National Mentoring Month, the nationwide campaign to promote mentoring in the U.S. led by a coalition of public and private organizations. It is also only a few weeks after the death of former President George H.W. Bush, who strongly promoted volunteerism and mentoring through his international nonprofit, Points of Light. These goals are shared by SHRM and the HR profession, as is evident in the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (SHRM BoCK) that forms the basis for SHRM certification. 

According to primary sponsor MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, the annual month-long observance "focuses national attention on the need for mentors. … [Each] of us—individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and nonprofits—can work together to increase the number of mentors to assure positive outcomes for our young people." The event culminates in an annual conference, the National Mentoring Summit

Also leading National Mentoring Month is the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal entity that coordinates service, volunteering and grant-making efforts. CNCS says that mentorship is "at the center" of its many programs and services provided by AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and other initiatives "focused on improving lives and strengthening communities, which is what mentorship is all about."

National Mentoring Month was launched in 2002 by MENTOR and the Harvard Mentoring Project at the Harvard School of Public Health. Today's partners include Points of Light, United Way of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters, My Brother's Keeper and many other groups. Organizations interested in participating in the event are encouraged to download the 2019 Corporate Engagement Guide

Mentoring and HR 

For SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certification-holders, mentoring is an indicator of proficiency in behavioral competencies as well as HR Expertise, as defined in the SHRM BoCK. Experienced practitioners are expected to mentor their less-experienced colleagues. A key concept of the Learning & Development function is knowing how to design and implement coaching and mentoring programs, including those that provide guidance on cultural differences and practices. 

SHRM itself serves as a kind of mentor to its members by providing products, services and professional development resources—including SHRM certification—that advance their careers. SHRM professional members are encouraged to mentor student members, and SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP credential-holders are encouraged to assist those preparing for the SHRM certification exam. 

The recertification process recognizes mentoring as an activity that advances the HR profession and contributes to the community. Participating in a formal mentorship program is considered an aspect of volunteering, which helps build leadership skills. The following related activities are preapproved for professional development credits (PDCs): 

Rena Gorlin, J.D., is an independent writer and editor in Washington, D.C.

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