Stories of CCX

How Mentorship Guides a Salesforce Developer

What do you do if you don’t know what to do? If you don’t understand a problem or if you can’t think of a solution? The simple answer: you ask for help. And after you ask for help, when you receive guidance and learn something new, what do you do with that knowledge?

If you can, you teach it to someone else.

“I say, ‘if you have any questions, you can ask me’,” explains Salesforce developer Dipika Sahoo about her experience mentoring junior developers at CommerceCX. “Or I take a daily call to know what they’re doing, ask ‘are you comfortable with what you are doing?’, ‘do you want to connect?’ So, we have discussions.”

Having a mentor can be one of the most valuable experiences a person can have in their career, but being a mentor can have the same effect: experts like Janice Omadeke credit mentorship with being an opportunity for both people involved to learn and develop. For Dipika, it represents a milestone of her experience and a representation of trust.

“They are showing so much trust in us, saying, ‘you can guide your junior colleagues.’ When that kind of responsibility comes to you, it is a very big deal.”

Dipika is describing her role in CommerceCX’s mentorship program in India, which is designed to match senior experts with newer folks who could use a helping hand. Salesforce developers like Dipika work with junior developers to bring them up to speed and help them resolve any issues they might be facing.

This opportunity to pass on her knowledge means a lot to Dipika—especially since not too long ago, she was in her mentees’ shoes.

2020 marked a lot of change for a lot of people, Dipika included. Having a young daughter complicated things further, resulting in a career break that Dipika hadn’t anticipated.

“I always wanted to work; I never wanted to leave my career,” Dipika says, “So once my daughter was old enough, I started studying again and doing interviews. There were a lot of ups and downs.”

While career gaps are still a taboo in the business world, career coaches like Caroline Castrillon says they are becoming more normalized as generations change, with younger people transitioning away from the idea of “career breaks” and into the idea of “career waves,” with ebbs and flows in time spent at work as life events come up. Castrillon says that for people like Dipika, these “breaks” can actually grant people time to focus on strengthening their skills.

“I was thinking, ‘I don’t want to lose touch,’” Dipika says about her own career gap. “I studied everything at that time: I studied Salesforce, I started training. And I knew Salesforce, so it wasn’t very tough for me to grasp.”

Keeping up to date this way kept her skills fresh, but still made the job search difficult, not least because Dipika was looking for what 51% percent of working parents in India want: a supportive work environment, that gives them the flexibility to manage their home life. CommerceCX’s remote and hybrid work models gave her that flexibility—but she credits her experience in her early days as one of the things that made her stay.

“There is a lot of encouragement for women with career breaks,” she says of her experience joining CommerceCX. “They understand that when you are on a break, it’s very normal that you are not aware of some things—it’s not that you don’t know things, but you may need some time to catch up. That usually doesn’t happen.”

If anyone poses a good example of mentoring for Dipika, it would be colleagues like Sanjay Nair. Dipika describes Sanjay as invaluable in her first months at CommerceCX, as she was getting up to speed.

“From day one, I’m working with Sanjay,” she says. “We used to record all these sessions. He taught us everything. Anytime, when you ping him, he’s there to answer it. He never judged like, ‘you don’t know this’, ‘you don’t know that.’”

According to experts like Brené Brown, the ability to ask for help without judgment is essential to development, personal and professional. CommerceCX takes the same stance: how can you learn without asking questions? Dipika says this supportive environment has helped her grow and inspires her to help others through her mentoring.

“Everybody, whenever you ask them, they’ll help you,” she says. “Everybody’s there to help each other, everyone, even if it’s not your work, if you have doubts, they’re definitely going to help you.”

Mentors at CommerceCX don’t necessarily work on the same projects as their mentees, but  Dipika says that the openness of the environment helps manage any blind spots in knowledge.

“If we know, we help,” she says about when colleagues bring up issues. “If we don’t know, we can suggest somebody else and he can help or we can figure it out together. Let’s connect with that person and let’s solve it.”

Having colleagues’ support helps everyone grow and helps manage any road bumps that might come up. Dipika says that early support from people like Sanjay has made her confident in her work and helps her bring that confidence to colleagues she’s mentoring, many of whom have similar backgrounds to her.

“I have so many colleagues that are coming from career gaps or from doing different things and different backgrounds. It’s a very tough thing and it takes a lot of guts to trust people with. And it actually makes employees grow more, since they trusted us.”

What do you do if you don’t know what to do? If you don’t understand a problem or if you can’t think of a solution?

You ask people like Dipika for help.

“Whenever they want, they can ask me questions,” she says about her mentees, local and international. “Maybe there will be a time mismatch, but I’ll figure out what is the best suitable for both of us. I am there to mentor them.”

Dipika might not know the exact question to ask or the exact answer, but she’ll work with folks to figure it out—and boost some confidence in the process.

“I have a habit of reading, you know, researching things and making documents and all that good stuff,” Dipika says. “And that helps me know that, ‘okay, I can work on it, I can research things, I can find things, because everybody does that.’ We don’t know all the answers.”

This article is part of our series Stories of CommerceCX, which seeks to collect and record employee experiences into a series of articles exploring their history and growth and how CommerceCX’s investment in goodwill and employees’ quality-of-life leads to positive business results. Read more Stories of CCX here.