A recent report by the Together Platform found that 37% of HR professionals say employees are not being supported to reach their full potential. I continue to hear news about mentorship programs in the PHCP-PVF industry, both formal and informal, and the tremendous impact they have on new employees, younger employees and those that are new to the industry.

Curious about where distributors stand when it comes to mentorship programs, Supply House Times posed this question to its readers on social media: Does your company currently offer a mentorship program? Out of about 50 respondents, 27% said yes, 64% said no, and 9% said a program is in the works.

While mentorship programs are valuable to new employees, helping them learn and connect with their new team, there are many more benefits you may not have considered.

That same report from Together Platform lists 15 critical roles that mentors play in the workplace today:

  • Building the next generation of leaders at the company;
  • mproving performance;
  • Bridging the gap between generations;
  • Setting up new hires for success;
  • Creating more inclusive company cultures;
  • Highlighting diverse talent;
  • Accelerating employee development;
  • Making remote work, work;
  • Retaining top talent;
  • Encouraging more collaboration;
  • Giving every employee a voice;
  • Encouraging meaningful growth-focused relationships;
  • Transferring knowledge about company failures (so history doesn’t repeat itself);
  • Maintaining the well-being of the company; and
  • Increasing employee engagement.

A few of these points stood out to me as particularly applicable to our marketplace. Bridging the gap between generations is especially important in an industry where many longtime members of the workforce are aging out, preparing for retirement. As new minds enter the workplace, it can be difficult for differing generations to see eye-to-eye. Setting up mentorships can help set an example for other relationships to form and help the generations learn from one another.

Encouraging people to share this knowledge, failures, successes, things they have learned, etc. — via a mentorship — will only benefit your green employees, your company and the industry as a whole.

Inclusivity is another area where our industry is lacking. Mentorships can help break barriers between different people in your organization, whether it be gender barriers, race and ethnicity barriers or seniority levels.

Retaining top talent — of course — is top-of-mind for companies of all sorts as we continue to face labor shortages nationwide. Employees today want more than just a paycheck. They want to make a difference. Offering your top talent the opportunity to impact a newer employee offers fulfillment, which is non-negotiable for much of today’s workforce.

One more from the list that sticks out to me is transferring knowledge about company failures. It’s no secret the PHCP-PVF industry has a vault full of folks with decades and decades of experience. Encouraging people to share this knowledge, failures, successes, things they have learned, etc. — via mentorship — will only benefit your green employees, your company and the industry as a whole.


One of the best ways to find a mentor, or learn from peers about the mentorships their companies are offering, is by networking. We are entering the “busy season” when it comes to industry events and trade shows. Be sure to take advantage of these. Invest and attend to benefit from roundtable and panel discussions, speakers and networking opportunities.

For example, at ASA’s annual NETWORK event, happening Nov. 9-11 in Chicago, there will be sessions such as Marketing Trends to Attract Top Talent — Panel Discussion Moderated by Mike Walsh, Project Talent and The Soul of Your Business: What Makes a Winning Culture in a Post Pandemic World — Panel Discussion Moderated by Dirk Beveridge, UnleashWD. Not to mention numerous other educational sessions, networking receptions and a 2023 economic outlook from Chief Economist Dr. Chris Kuehl.

AIM/R’s 50th Annual Conference is also coming up in Denver — another great event offering plenty of opportunities to network and learn, including the popular R.A.M. (Rep and manufacturer) roundtables.