Effective relationships and learning underpins the success of today's organisations. By finding meaningful ways for employees to connect, organisations are more likely to achieve greater productivity, enhanced career growth, freely flowing innovation and overall improvement in employee performance. Workplace mentoring can be used as a way to achieve this.
One-to-one mentoring, is not only a highly effective way to develop existing employees or for mentoring new hires, it is also very cost effective as you are not bringing in highly paid consultants to coach your staff. Mentoring is a value-added tool for connecting employees to advance learning and transfer knowledge within an organisation, by connecting them with more experienced employees.
The beauty of mentoring is that you're promoting internal communication. A mentoring program creates an environment where there is dialogue among different departments and a regular sharing of ideas.
Workplace mentoring is about providing a real time visual perspective into career paths and building both leadership and communication skills. By formalising a workplace mentoring program, you help your mentors to understand what the individual and the organisation want to achieve.
Where should you begin in developing a workplace mentoring program?
The starting point is to align it around what the company wants to accomplish, whether it's employee retention, improved communication or to develop the next generation of leaders. The value comes from being consistent as an organisation and discussing who is being mentored and what the content of that relationship is.
What benefits can mentoring provide?
Mentors get to meet new people who they might not otherwise interact with on a regular basis. It can help hone leadership and communication skills and increase awareness of the talent within an organisation.
From a mentee's perspective it can help build confidence when interacting with senior leaders as well as developing important skills that will help with career development.
How do you identify your mentors?
Look for those who have been with the organisation for a while, and who have a good perspective across all areas. You need a willing mentor, don't just assign somebody to be a mentor. The person needs to be engaged in the process and a good communicator and listener otherwise it will be unproductive. You may need to demonstrate to the potential mentor that they can become a better leader themselves by mentoring someone else, it might change their perception of the opportunity.
In general, a good rule of thumb is to have the mentor one level above the mentee and from a different department.
A workplace mentoring program can help to retain your talented employees, enhance your culture, create a belief that you care about your people and are willing to invest in their personal and professional growth.