11/08/2013 03:24 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Mentoring young fed workers

Keeping young federal employees motivated and providing them with on-the-job guidance and professional development advice is always a good idea, but it may be particularly important in the aftermath of the government shutdown, when many in the workforce may be having second thoughts about their career choice.

One way to engage and help young feds is through use of mentoring programs, a process of matching junior employees with experienced professionals outside their chain of supervision.

For the employees, a good mentor can give trusted advice, provide new ideas and advocate on their behalf. Mentors also can be a guide to help employees resolve workplace challenges and navigate the organizational culture.

For managers, the benefits also are numerous. Mentoring enables experienced staff to pass their knowledge to those who are early in the careers, and potentially make them more effective and productive employees. Mentoring also is a tangible way to show employees that they are valued, and that they have opportunities to make a significant contribution to the organization. This process can help retain talented employees, many of whom may be adrift in the federal system without a guiding hand.