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Should my company start a mentorship program?
Mentoring in an important practice to consider for a company of any size. Not only is it cost-effective professional development for both parties, it also improves relationships and communication between senior and junior staff.
The role of a mentor is to encourage the personal and professional development of a mentee through the sharing of knowledge, expertise and experience. The mentoring relationship is built on mutual trust, respect and communication, and involves both parties meeting regularly to exchange ideas, discuss progress and set goals for further development. This process can be particularly useful for an employee changing departments, or returning from extended leave, or top talent who you want to nurture so they can grow within the business.
Here are some of the primary benefits of offering business mentoring within your company.
What are the benefits for mentees?
Being mentored is one of the most valuable and effective development opportunities you can offer employees. Having the guidance, encouragement and support of a trusted and experienced mentor can provide a mentee with a broad range of personal and professional benefits, which ultimately lead to improved performance in the workplace.
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For newer employees, this can also help to establish key relationships with more experienced employees and help them hit the ground running.
For mentees, some key benefits of business mentoring include:
1. Exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking
2. Advice on developing strengths and overcoming weaknesses
3. Guidance on professional development and advancement
4. Increased visibility and recognition within the company
5. The opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge
6. The opportunity to learn about more advanced projects and potentially be involved
What are the benefits for mentors?
Mentoring is more than the transfer of advice, knowledge and insights. The relationship offers reciprocal benefits for mentors willing to invest their time in developing another professional. As well as the personal satisfaction of sharing their skills and experience, the mentor can hone their own skills and practices by examining them as part of the teaching process. Being involved in mentoring also provides some tangible benefits that can reward mentors professionally.
Some key benefits for mentors include:
1. Recognition as a subject matter expert and leader
2. Exposure to fresh perspectives, ideas and approaches
3. Extension of their professional development record
4. Opportunity to reflect on their own goals and practices
5. Development of their personal leadership and coaching styles
What are the benefits for the company?
For employers, investing in business mentoring is a useful and cost-effective way to develop your emerging talent and keep your most knowledgeable and experienced performers engaged and energised. As well as improving communication and relationships between your employees, mentoring programs facilitate the transfer of critical business knowledge and skills, while building an effective pipeline of future leaders who understand the skills and attitudes required to succeed within the organisation.
For employers, investing in mentoring helps to:
1. Develop a culture of personal and professional growth
2. Share desired company behaviours and attitudes
3. Enhance leadership and coaching skills in managers
4. Improve staff morale, performance and motivation
5. Engage, retain and develop performers
How do I set up mentoring relationships?
If you have identified areas in which an employee could improve, try to determine which of your senior staff excel in that area – possibly even an employee who had previously struggled in the same way and has since improved. If none come to mind, consider asking amongst your senior staff who they would recommend as a mentor. Make sure that any partnership you suggest benefits both parties, and that their skills complement one another.
Make sure your junior staff are aware that mentoring is an option, and encourage them to consider who might have the necessary skillset to improve or complement them. Similarly, be aware of your staff’s strengths and weaknesses, and if you see someone improving keep them in mind for mentoring in the future.
For more advice, visit our management blog.
Creating an employee mentoring program within your organisation benefits the mentee, mentor and the wider company. A mentorship program:
- Offers guidance and encouragement for junior employees
- Allows senior leaders to reflect on their own goals and continue their professional development
- Identifies emerging talent
- Fosters a culture of growth and leadership in senior staff