Today, the corporate world is more competitive than ever. To be successful here, companies must develop a workforce that is constantly learning and evolving. That’s why organizations are on the hunt for employees who are committed to growth. Career development is a significant part of today’s work culture; it is the priority for both employers and employees. Organizations worldwide are investing in employee development opportunities like mentorship programs. In fact, 70% of the Fortune 500 companies have a structured workplace mentoring program in place.
Mentoring in the workplace is a great way to make your employees ready to face any challenge that comes their way. Most importantly, it sets your organization up for success in this ever-changing business world.
What is Mentoring in the Workplace?
Workplace mentoring refers to a mentorship program, implemented by an organization, where experienced employees help younger employees advance in their careers. They guide their mentees on their professional journey through their own knowledge, experience, and expertise.
While, in most cases, workplace mentorship programs are for newly hired employees, they are beneficial for anyone wishing to take their career to the next level.
Here’s how important mentoring is in the workplace:
1. Mentoring Supports Personal & Professional Development
On the way to career development, everyone goes through some difficulties- be it setting a career goal, effective communication, or leadership skills. Everyone needs someone’s help to be successful in their career.
By pairing your employees with mentors, you create a safe environment for them to make mistakes, learn, and grow. Mentors are trusted guides whom they can turn to for any advice. Mentors inspire and guide mentees by sharing their personal experiences, challenges, and success stories. They share their knowledge and help mentees develop in their career.
Workplace mentoring is the best way to promote organizational learning and prepare your employees in order to take more responsibilities and senior positions efficiently.
Also read: What Skills Do You Need to Be a Mentor?
2. Workplace Mentoring Programs Improve Employee Satisfaction & Retention
Millennials are infamous for job-hopping, and losing high-performing employees can be extremely damaging for a company. As a result, more and more companies are looking for ways to retain their top talents. Research from various countries has shown that job satisfaction and organizational commitment have significant consequences on employee absenteeism and turnover.
Workplace mentoring increases employee satisfaction and talent retention. Mentors not only develop mentees as successful professionals, but also provide psychological support. As a sponsor, they utilize their influences and connections to support the career advancement of mentees. Employees who have access to learning and development opportunities tend to stay in the business longer.
3. Mentoring Improves Productivity
Having a mentor in the workplace can reduce work-related stress and anxiety. Mentors share their knowledge and experience with mentees. Through personal stories, they groom mentees to handle difficult situations, failures and achieve success. Not only that, mentors also expose mentees to new opportunities and motivate them to pursue those opportunities. Mentees become confident in their abilities and perform without the worry of failure. When employees are more competent, confident, and better at executing tasks, their productivity improves.
Formal mentoring programs for new employees provide them with additional support in the new workplace. They can use their mentor's network to get acquainted with the organization and its culture. They spend less time figuring out things on their own and can invest in upgrading skills and being productive.
Four Steps to Start a Mentoring Program in the Workplace:
If you are thinking of starting a new mentoring program in your organization, the process can be a little overwhelming. To help you outline the process, we have accumulated 4 steps to follow:
Determine your goals
A mentoring program succeeds when mentors, mentees, and organizational goals are well aligned. What does your organization want to achieve from the program? How will mentees’ personal goals help your organization reach its goals? How will mentors benefit from the program? Be clear about the focus of your mentorship program.
Set a timeline for the program
Decide how long the mentorship program will last. On average, mentoring programs last for nine to twelve months. But it is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Depending on an organization's needs and the type of the program, it can last from 3-6 months, 6-9 months, and 9-12 months.
Usually, a buddy program's (organized for new hires) length is 3-6 months. High-potential mentoring programs (organized for high-potential employees), reverse mentoring programs, career and diversity mentoring programs need more than six months.
Pair mentors and mentees
Matching mentoring program participants is a critical task. Without the right matches, no mentoring program can be successful. Assign mentoring program managers to collect participants’ data to create the right matches.
If your program has more than 20 participants, it is better to use mentoring software to find the right mentoring pairs. Mentoring software collects participants' data and uses advanced algorithms to find quality matches.
Establish program guidelines
In addition to selecting the right pairs for the mentoring program, it is of utmost importance to create a guideline for the program. How frequently will the participants meet? Will they meet in person or online? What can the mentoring partners expect from each other? How to track the progress of the program? While you want to keep it flexible for program participants, there must be guidelines to follow in order to keep them on track.