Sponsorship in the workplace: An untapped gateway to career growth

Published by Sweety Soren on

What comes to mind when you hear the word “Sponsorship”?

It could be something like money/products that are given by a company or an organization to support a person, cause, or any activity. Yes! That is also correct, but we are here to explain another aspect of sponsorship in the workplace

First things first, let’s not confuse ‘sponsorship’ with the term ‘mentorship’’- although they can be quite similar. 

Mentorship vs Sponsorship

Working in a new workplace can be challenging at times. And having a go-to person for work-related queries can be relieving. It can also help boost your confidence as you’re starting a new role. That’s where a mentor comes in.

In the workplace, mentorship is guidance given by a mentor that helps you get along with your coworkers and fit in a company work culture. Mentors are your advisors in the office. They share their in-depth knowledge with you. Their role is to train you and give you honest feedback.

On the other hand, sponsorship is an extension of mentorship in an organization. A sponsor is a person in a senior leadership position who identifies your capabilities and opens growth opportunities for you. They will advocate for you in the workplace. They will actively help you advance your career more quickly.They will identify your potential and are willing to bring up your name for an important role in a project. Sponsorship is one of the best tools to help you grow personally and professionally

Mentor                                    Sponsor
RoleAny individual in an organization with experience in a particular field or skillset.A person who is in a leading role in an organization.
GoalTo guide the employee in their career. To support the development of new skills. Helps in making career decisions.Uses their position to make important projects available to the employee.

Essentially, mentors are there to provide support and guidance to the employee. Sponsors take this a step further and advocate for the employee. However, both mentorship and sponsorship play a vital role in the progress and development of an employee.

 How to find a sponsor to boost your career

So, now that you know the importance of having a sponsor in the workplace, the next step is: how do you find one?

There are a few things you can do to attract the attention of an influential sponsor at work:

1. Do your homework

Look out for sponsorship programs that your workplace might already have. You can always take the initiative to launch one if they don’t have it. Analyze your professional network carefully. Look for someone who would be able to help in your career development. You will need to find a sponsor who will be able to  introduce you to the company’s decision-makers.

2. Prepare yourself

It is always a good idea to be prepared before approaching a potential sponsor. Research about the projects you want to participate in. You will have more chances to get yourself a sponsor if you already have prior knowledge.

3. Network

You cannot deny the power of networking and the role it plays in career growth. Always be on the lookout for growing your network in your company. Don’t hold back from introducing yourself or asking your direct manager to facilitate an introduction to the right sponsor.

4. Stand out

Make yourself visible to attract the attention of a great sponsor. Your work should speak to  your seriousness and dedication to your job. When you do approach a potential sponsor, you should have concrete projects to show that you have completed and delivered. It will be easier for a sponsor to bring up your name if you already have a great track record at work.

5. Be proactive

You increase your chances to land yourself a great sponsor if you are proactive at work. The best way to  remain top-of-mind for a  potential sponsor is to find a reason to not be easily forgotten. Volunteer for any project or program run by your potential sponsor. To really stand out, find out how your work can help to make the job of your potential sponsor easier. Always remember: a sponsor will help you only when they see potential in you and your willingness to work hard before considering your name for more important projects.

We hope these tips will help you in finding the right sponsor at your workplace! If you want to expand your professional network to find your sponsor, join one of our Circles or launch your own

Categories: Advise