REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.--Army Contracting Command is placing renewed emphasis on mentoring employees, the commanding general announced.
During a Sept. 4 town hall meeting for ACC and Expeditionary Contracting Command headquarters staffs, Maj. Gen. Ted Harrison outlined the results of the ACC and ECC command climate surveys taken earlier this year.
He said responses to a diversity management question about mentoring showed that a significant portion of the ACC workforce was not aware that it has access to a mentoring program. The score fell "below the service average," a scoring range used to show how a unit compares to Army-wide responses. Harrison said the command plans to conduct headquarters supervisory training in the first quarter of fiscal year 2015 that will focus on, among other things, coaching, mentoring and feedback.
He said he has had several mentors throughout his career and reaches out to them for advice and counsel. Harrison said the Army Inspector General recently commented that the best and most effective mentoring programs were informal rather than a formal pairing. He then encouraged all ACC leaders to make themselves available to anyone who is seeking a mentor.
According to Glenn Hooks, education and training technician, ACC Deputy Chief of Staff Human Capital, G-1, every employee - military and civilian - should have a mentor, and the sooner, the better. Employees should also have open discussions with their supervisors and create individual development plans, he added.
"It's never too early or too late in one's career to seek a mentor," he said.
Hooks described mentoring as a professional relationship in which an experienced person assists another in developing specific skills and knowledge that will enhance the less-experienced person's professional and personal growth.
"The training we do is primarily about functional things - the how to stuff that teaches us about the functional or technical part of our job," he explained. "Mentoring is more about coaching and counseling and more about the qualitative and subjective parts of our job--dealing with frustration, giving constructive criticism, handling disappointment and behaving with humility and compassion."
He said mentoring can be informal or formal. Informal mentoring happens through a trusted, respected colleague from an employee's day-to-day interactions at work or private activities.
Employees interested in a mentor can request one through the Army Career Tracker website, https://actnow.army.mil, if the employee has the name of someone who might make a good mentor. Hooks said employees should check with the prospective mentor before naming them in ACT.
Another way to find a mentor is for employees to review their career program's Army Civilian Training, Education and Development System Catalog, http://cpol.army.mil/library/train/catalog/, to determine if a formal mentoring program exists for the career program. If so, the employee can send an email to the program's functional career representative or career program manager requesting mentoring information, he explained. Contact information is available in the career program's ACTEDS Catalog or the master training plan within the ACTEDS Catalog (go to chapter 3 and click on the career program identifier number).
A third way to find a mentor is for the employee to log in to the Total Employee Development website, https://ted.csd.disa.mil/ted/TED_Main.cfm, and locate the word "Mentor" in the row of hyperlinked words toward the top of the screen and simply following the prompts.
Hooks said employees needing assistance with the mentoring program should contact anyone in the ACC G-1 Talent Management Division. He also suggested employees review Army Pamphlet 690-46, Mentoring for Civilian Members of the Force.