Presenter Linda Martin of Columbia Southern University wants to change the course of traditional one-on-one mentoring relationships. She says a large numbers of industrial hygienists are over 50, so developing new ways to seek out young talent is crucial.

Gone are the days in which most workers stayed at one company for 50 years, Martin said. “We need creative ways to mentor young workers to help advance their careers,” she said. Older workers have something potential mentees are looking for, like career knowledge, certifications and experience.

“Research has shown that mentor-mentee relationships cannot be forced and may take time to cultivate,” Martin said.  She offered solutions to help older works navigate their personal careers and reach a wider spectrum of junior practitioners:

  • Network in a place with a greater variety of people.
  • Instead of searching for reaching one person in a big way, search for small ways to reach many people.
  • If you’re at a senior level, advocate for yourself in career advancement  and look for ways that will offer learning experiences for future practicioners.
  • Find ways to get involved with your profession, such as attending conferences and meetings. “It’s nice to get paid for your time,” Martin said, “but it’s also nice to pursue volunteer opportunities.”
  • Work on the qualities you want people going into our profession to display such as leadership, ethical practice and collaboration. These are all ways to reach people.
  • Gravitate toward interactions.
  • Constantly reevaluate how your goals and goals of others interconnect.
  • Give feedback that goes beyond advice.