Most businesses will benefit from having employees in the workplace who mentor others and openly receive mentoring from their leaders and peers. Developing an employee through mentoring is important for business growth. When a business emphasizes employee mentoring, it can benefit from greater employee loyalty and increased productivity. In this article, we explain more about employee mentoring and provide tips for how you can grow your mentoring program to develop your employees.
What is employee mentoring?
Employee mentoring is when an employee is paired with either a peer or leader so they can work together on building an employee’s skills and work towards their career goals at an organization. A mentor provides support to their mentee, giving them the resources, guidance, and encouragement their mentee needs to succeed in the workplace. Here are eight ways you can grow your employees through mentoring:
1. Use onboarding as an opportunity to assign mentors
It’s common for organizations to assign mentors during a new employee’s onboarding. This ensures that the new hire has someone they can rely on from the beginning of their employment, which can improve their happiness and productivity in the workplace, but also may help them learn faster and accommodate the workplace culture more.
In this case, a mentor can be the new employee’s knowledgeable and more experienced coworker or a manager or team lead who can guide the new employee through their first handful of months.
2. Offer career mentoring
Companies can benefit from offering career mentoring because it helps the business hold on to valuable employees who want to grow within the company and become leaders in the workplace, but it also benefits the employee tremendously.
With a program of this nature, employees can form their career objectives and have someone in the workplace who can help them realize their goals. This leads to greater employee satisfaction, better productivity, a sense of collaboration and teamwork in the office, and shared knowledge that can benefit the entire team.
3. Identify employees who would do well in a leadership role
Inevitably, some employees stand out more as a leader among their peers. It’s important to cultivate this so that these individuals feel supported and recognized in the workplace. Consider pairing high-potential team members with a mentor as a way to engage them in the office and keep them interested in their roles and the opportunities your company can provide to them. This will strengthen the employee’s loyalty to the company, and your business will be able to benefit from their employment for years to come.
Mentors who work with these employees destined for leadership can expose them to different areas of the business and industry that the company is a part of, assist them in developing their leadership skills as a part of professional development, and speak to them about their goals and motivations.
4. Let senior employees receive mentoring from less experienced ones
Traditionally, mentoring takes place between a more experienced employee as a mentor and a less senior employee as the mentee. This is mostly done because the employee who has been working at the company for a while longer has a lot to teach their mentee about the company culture and certain processes and procedures, but they can also properly guide them on their career path. However, reverse mentoring can be beneficial too.
Reverse mentoring is when a younger employee serves as a mentor to their more senior coworker. Doing this helps the more senior employees understand that they can always have more to learn in the workplace and that they should be open to such an opportunity. The less experienced mentor gets the chance to showcase their leadership skills and perspective about a certain part of the workplace.
Reverse mentoring also benefits the organization as younger employees can gain a deeper connection to senior leaders, which often leads to a more conducive workplace that is engrossed in valuable knowledge-sharing.
5. Celebrate diversity
To practice inclusivity, it’s important to celebrate diversity. A diverse workforce can attract and retain top talent, and employees can benefit from the experience of working with someone who may come from a different background. Diversity mentoring makes the workplace a space where employees feel free to share their opinions and cultural knowledge that can affect operations for the better. Employees will appreciate the environment that diversity mentoring creates, which is one that’s trusting, understanding, supportive, and encouraging.
6. Develop mentoring circles
Mentoring circles are when two employees who have similar interests and goals work together in a peer-to-peer mentoring format so they can succeed as a pairing. Employees typically work with another person in a different department so they can learn from another perspective and build a relationship with someone they may not otherwise interact with. This approach helps an employee collaborate, share their knowledge, and build their skill set.
Mentoring circles benefit the entire organization, too. With them, employees can feel like they have a place and belong at the organization, which typically leads to a higher retention rate, more employee happiness, increased motivation, and, ultimately, greater productivity. You can have specific circles set up for anything from book lovers to a veterans’ group.
7. Cultivate mentoring ambassadors
Mentoring is a favorable and exciting opportunity for many people, so consider rewarding those who show the most enthusiasm about starting. If you’ve identified someone or a group of people who immediately sign up for a mentorship program, use them as your ambassadors. They’ll be able to start the program first, provide feedback and offer suggestions. They can also encourage others to join the program, either signing up as a mentor or as a mentee, because of the information they can share about their own experience.
As a mentoring ambassador, they can eventually help pair mentors with mentees since they have an intimate knowledge of the program and all that’s involved.
8. Gather feedback from participants
A major part of having an employee mentoring program that works is a constant refinement of the program so employees can benefit from it as much as possible. So, asking for feedback from participants can help you structure the employee mentoring in a way that will continue to benefit those who take part, both as mentors and mentees.
I hope you find this article helpful.