- Karen Gregory
THE VALUE OF A MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
Mentorship is a relationship of a more experienced or more knowledge person helping to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. Every organization has a mentorship program whether leadership realizes it or not. Instead of relying on an informal mentorship program that doesn’t necessarily accomplish the goals of the organization, rely on a formal mentorship program. Begin developing your program today and consider the mission and goals of your organization. Create a program that grows the individual in a way that grows the organization.
Building your mentorship program is not a difficult task. It begins with developing a plan. During this brainstorming, pen to paper phase you need to decide what you want accomplished during the mentorship relationship. There are various types of mentorship programs you can utilize depending on the goals you are trying to reach.
If you are training a new employee you will probably want a program that lasts a year to get the employee up and running, using the proper processes, and working toward the goals you specify.
If you have existing employees that have experiences that would be beneficial for others to learn, that is a different program. Or you may have a need for a one time training/mentorship for educating or guidance – this is called flash mentoring and can last from a couple hours to a full day, but it is one time.
Be sure to include an action plan in this development stage. What skills should be learned and when. Build in your timeline and accountability. Set the schedule of meetings as well – weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
Next you need to connect mentors with mentees. Depending on what you decided was your goal it may be new employee with an experienced employee, it could be a senior employee being mentored by a younger generation employee, it could even be peer to peer, or whatever works for your situation. This decision will be based on meeting the specific goals you have set out in your plan. Consider the experience and skills that can be passed from mentor to mentee. You also need to determine how the mentors and mentees are connected. Do mentors get to choose their mentees, the other way around or does the company make the decision?
The downside of not having a mentorship program is that people learn from whoever is willing to teach them meaning the work ethic, the attitude, the culture is determined by who gets to this person first. Will it be one of your superstar employees or someone barely hanging onto their job?
Formal mentorship programs benefit both the mentor and mentee if the program is put together intentionally. Both will have improved individual satisfaction, and a mentorship program aids in the retention and recruitment of employees. Mentees acclimate more quickly to the culture and processes of the organization and have better job performance. Mentorship helps the mentee build relationships and aids in career development. Both the mentor and mentee are exposed to new or different perspectives through the mentorship relationship.
The mentor has a renewed enthusiasm and mentoring enhances their skills in coaching, listening, and teaching. Mentors also receive a greater understanding of barriers that can be experienced at lower levels and develop their own leadership skills through mentoring. Both mentor and mentee develop a greater awareness for what everyone can bring to the team.
Above all the organization benefits with better trained employees focused on the goals and mission of the organization. How can this not translate to better customer service? Start developing your mentorship program today!