Employees today crave trust and independence and shake their heads at micro-management. With this new trend comes a greater emphasis on professional development in the workplace. Through a mentorship program, you can provide the guidance many of these employees need and want.
There are a number of ways mentoring can have a positive, lasting impact on your workforce.
- Mentorship trains new employees or employees stepping into new roles efficiently.
- Mentorship builds junior employees into leaders.
- Mentorship provides opportunities for employees to work cross-departmentally, helping them to work more collaboratively and openly.
- Mentorship contributes to a dynamic company culture.
- Mentorship improves employee loyalty and satisfaction.
There are a number of benefits that can come from a mentorship program. For that reason, it’s important to identify which of these objectives is the most valuable to you and your business. Perhaps it’s the focus on cross-department collaboration to improve processes. Maybe you’d like to focus on developing junior employees to step into higher roles. Whatever you’re looking to achieve with your program, make sure you define this goal from the start to ensure success.
Not sure of where to start? Try an office survey to poll your employees on where they see the potential for improvement.
Most of us probably think of one-on-one sessions from a superior to a lower level employee. However, there is more than one way to implement a mentorship program in your office:
- Group mentoring: one mentor leads multiple mentees.
- Peer mentoring: people in the same job function mentor one another.
- Reverse mentoring: junior employee mentors a senior employee (a great initiative for diversity and inclusion efforts)
- Team mentoring: similar to group mentoring, but with multiple mentors contributing ideas and experience
- Supervisory: the traditional superior mentor leads junior mentee.
Consider a combination of these different types of mentoring for your workforce. Some of these work better in casual environments and others work better in more structured workplaces. Find what works best for your employees. When in doubt, just try it! Your mentorship program should always be evolving, so don’t be afraid to fail.
Market Your Program
Once you’ve established the type(s) of mentorship program you’d like to implement, it’s time to get the word out. Because some people may feel awkward participating, it’s important to cast a clear vision for how the mentoring will work. Make sure leaders in the company are participating and sharing their interest as well. Again, office surveys are a great tool to kick-start the program, whether that means using it to pair people up or even surveying interest in different types of programs.
As we said before, mentorship programs should constantly be evolving. Gain feedback after the first month or so and find out where your pain points are. Obviously, no one should feel forced into this relationship and should have a clear way out at any time. There should never be any pressure to participate and if employees aren’t enjoying the process, find out why and make some changes.
It may not be an easy process, but investing in and developing your employees should be a top priority for any business. A mentorship program may be the tool you need to ramp up your employee happiness.