Posted on 23rd August 2018 by Katrina Docherty
Mentoring in the workplace is vital for companies who are serious about their long-term success. Successful employees thrive under effective leadership, and diligent mentoring has been shown to improve employee retention rates.
Here at MAYDAY, on the advice of our General Manager, Lynne Johnston, we’ve launched the MAYDAY Director Mentor Program, whereby we match every employee with a Company Director for a term of six months. The aim of this program is to develop and support our employees in alignment with our company values of collaboration and foster a care factor within the industry.
One of our major concerns and that for many small and medium-sized businesses is the practicality of implementing a fully-fledged mentoring program, but it’s easier and more cost-efficient than you think. From formal programs to informal support, we look at how mentoring at work has improved employee career development–and how this can benefit businesses exponentially.
The Goal Behind Mentoring in the Workplace
Mentoring fosters the learning of more junior staff, or “mentees”. Mentoring helps employees grow and thrive, and it helps them feel truly connected to their organization. Traditionally, mentoring involves newer employees shadowing or liaising with experienced colleagues to guide them through those crucial early stages of a new role.
The ultimate goal of any mentoring in the workplace program is to promote effective employee personal and career development by aligning employees with company objectives at an early stage.
Benefits of Mentoring
A major benefit of mentoring is that it allows you to speed up employee onboarding, but what does this mean for businesses on a practical level? Aside from improving employee job satisfaction and career development, mentoring has key benefits for your workplace.
Reduced Employee Turnover
Many employees leave a job simply because they don’t know how to do it effectively and they don’t know who to ask for advice. They’re frustrated and disheartened. For the employer, recruiting new personnel takes up valuable time and resources. Proper mentoring, which ensures employees feel properly supported, is cost-effective.
Mentoring helps employees feel engaged, supported and, most of all, it increases their output. With the right advice and guidance, mentees solve problems and get answers quickly, which in turn increases productivity.
Reduced Training Times
With mentors, employees are able to learn “on the job”. This means less time spent in training rooms and more time developing skills in real-time settings.
You can reduce the resources you’ll spend on external hiring if you’re preparing the next generation of company leaders internally. What’s more, you’re offering the brightest employees the chance to fulfil their potential, which improves retention rates and workplace morale.
Culture of Learning
Sharing goals and working as a team keeps employees accountable, and it fosters a culture of continued growth and learning.
Types of Mentoring
Traditionally, mentoring involves pairing up a new employee with a senior member of staff who can answer questions and provide guidance on a regular basis. Larger companies, such as Intel, typically have formal mentoring programs and work shadowing opportunities. However, there are various mentoring solutions available, whatever your business structure.
- Use technology, such as Skype, email, and conference calling to match employees across your organisation
- Assign mentors for specific projects, which allows the junior employee to connect with multiple personnel and allows for flexible, informal learning
- Encourage groups, such as departments, to “mentor” each other. Even older, experienced personnel can learn from junior staff sometimes!
- Design mentoring programs for distinct stages in an employee’s career; for example, supervisory or managerial training
What’s important is that you align your mentoring opportunities with the culture and ethos of your company as a whole, so that employees are learning according to the values which matter to you and your business.
Implementing a Program
However informal your company ethos, you need structure underpinning any successful mentoring program. But often, managers don’t know where to begin. How do you decide what kind of mentoring culture is right for your business, and who’s going to be responsible for it?
Communicate Your Goals
All managers and senior staff members should be aware of your intention to encourage mentoring within the workplace. Together, you must:
- Formulate a plan
- Consult with relevant staff to match personnel with the best mentor for them
- Agree to collectively promote mentoring as a business selling point, and encourage everyone to get involved
- Ensure everyone understands the benefit of mentoring to the company
Identify Training and Resource Needs
You need to ensure that everyone acting as a mentor, whether it’s for a short period or an entire internship, for example, has reliable communication skills. This may necessitate further training, but the rewards will outweigh the costs.
Promote Your Program
From the hiring process onward, you should be promoting how important mentoring is to your company’s culture. This ensures you’ll attract the right staff for you.
There’s no point in a mentoring scheme which doesn’t work! Be open to feedback and make changes as appropriate.
Mentors are not Supervisors
Make sure your prospective mentors understand that they’re not “responsible” for the employee’s performance or workload. Instead, they’re a source of guidance and support. There should be regular contact between mentors and mentees, but this is not the same as, for example, appraisals. Mentees are “accountable” and responsible for their own development. It’s important that communication between mentors and mentees is meaningful and helpful as opposed to critical.
What’s crucial to any mentoring program is that it reflects your company as a whole and the values you work by. This ensures you attract the right talent, retain the brightest future leaders and maintain high productivity.
Mentoring is not simply about benefiting an individual. It’s about what a culture of knowledge transfer and support can do for your business’s long-term success. At MAYDAY we’ve found that being partnered with an experienced Recruitment leader, as part of our Director Mentor Program has made a significant contribution to the success of our people, and helped them to reach their fullest potential.
Based in Sydney, Australia, MAYDAY is a boutique recruitment agency with one goal–pairing you with the perfect employer, or employee, in the shortest time frame. We have over 50 years’ collective experience in recruiting for office-based roles at every level across multiple sectors, so you can trust us to take care of the hard work for you. We’ll collaborate with you to understand precisely what you want, and we’re not satisfied until we’ve delivered the results you need.
Got a recruitment emergency and need urgent assistance? Not a problem! As well as assisting with Permanent roles, we have SOS Temps available for last minute, same day requirements. We’re available 24/7. Contact us now for more information.