Mentoring can be a useful tool to use during the onboarding process, assigning someone to show a new hire the ropes, make them feel welcome and to support their first few days and weeks is undoubtedly a good idea, but the benefits of mentoring stretch much further than this.
From increased job satisfaction and developing leadership skills to higher levels of motivation, professional development and staff retention the right mentoring programme allows businesses to provide a culture which allows their people to develop and thrive.
Here we share practical tips to help bring mentoring benefits to your business:
Get buy-in from the top
For mentoring programmes to be a success everyone needs to be bought-in to the process from senior management through to the teams on the ground but if there’s no buy-in from the top it’s much more likely to fail. Be sure to share clear communication about the mentoring programme to all employees but it shouldn’t just be an order from up on high, engage your employees in the process and be clear about the benefits it gives to those who choose to mentor, their mentees and the business as a whole and make sure your most senior people are participating in the programme to send the right message from the outset.
Don’t expect it to ‘just happen’
You have to ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘talk the talk’ putting your programme in place will take effort and so will keeping it going. Make sure you get regular feedback and input from those taking part and look for ways to improve in the future. Use positive experiences from the mentoring programme for both internal and external marketing purposes. A successful mentoring programme is a great asset to have but you will have to maintain its progress to ensure success.
Facilitate and manage relationship development
Once your mentors and mentees are paired up encourage their relationship to flourish with an easy to follow process, things shouldn’t feel orchestrated but providing some structure such as encouraging regular contact like a weekly email or call or monthly face to face meetings are a good idea to get the relationship started and encourage it to grow. There should be someone within the mentoring programme responsible for making this happen and for checking that both parties are happy with the relationship at regular intervals.
Focus on goals
Mentors are not in charge of mentees, nor are they permitted to assign work or tasks BUT they are there to help them achieve goals in their career, mentors can and should make their mentees aware of development opportunities, and provide insight and advice on career objectives, they should also work with the business to understand business objectives and strategy and how individual goals can be brought in line with these.
Making strong mentoring relationships a priority for your business goes much further than onboarding and takes time and effort to implement but get it right and you’ll be developing a culture which will benefit your employees and strengthen your business in terms of knowledge, diversity and skills.