If establishing a mentorship program at your company didn’t make the short list of New Year’s resolutions, there are plenty of good reasons to pencil it in. A mentorship program is a low-cost way to invest in your small business by supporting your employees’ growth.
According to a June 2019 Monkey Workplace Happiness Survey: Among a national sample of workers in the United States, over 91% of employees with mentors report satisfaction with their jobs, and over half (57%) are “very satisfied.”
In addition, 71% of employees with a mentor feel their company provides them with opportunities for career advancement, while only 47% of those without one feel the same. This is a key takeaway because we know from the Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report that the number one reason employees leave a job is due to the lack of career development opportunities.
The research shows that mentorship benefits businesses and everyone who participates, including the mentors themselves.
Ready to become a mentor or organize a program at your company? Read on for our top five best mentoring practices.
The formal definition for a mentor is “an experienced and trusted adviser” and “an experienced person in a company who trains and counsels.” Industry expertise is essential, but what other qualities should a trusted adviser have? Surprisingly, some important “skills” are actually character traits.
For starters, a mentor should be an excellent communicator. Fostering meaningful two-way conversation builds supportive, trusting relationships, which is crucial for growth and development.
Another big piece of the personality puzzle? Approachability. Mentors should be unassuming, not intimidating, and have heightened self-awareness. More top traits include empathy, motivation, integrity, and good judgment.
Mentorship programs are more successful in work environments where they’re supported and encouraged. Be sure your employees believe that you value and prioritize development opportunities by finding ways to communicate it often. Consider starting a monthly newsletter about the program that details important information. Include the shared success of participants as providing examples will also encourage participation.
To help foster relationships between mentors and mentees, set realistic expectations up front, so both parties are clear on what to anticipate from each other. A list of guidelines could include how much time each person should expect to spend and set parameters around availability.
Once mentors and mentees are matched, offer training and resources to help them develop in their roles. Networking opportunities with other mentors/mentees and informative webinars can be great ways to gather ideas.
And finally, keep them vested in their success by checking in on progress at pre-determined intervals. Engaged employers communicate care and help relationships thrive.
For both participants to derive a sense of accomplishment, the mentee should create goals that are:
Good news for mentors and mentees: when it comes to staying connected, there are many options. They should discuss how they prefer to keep in touch. Some may opt for email or phone conversations; others might want in-person or virtual meetings. Whichever works best, be sure to schedule regular meeting times.
For mentees, it’s important to be honest and forthcoming about the help that’s needed. It’s never easy to reveal vulnerabilities but it’s essential for the greatest personal growth. And remember, observations and feedback should be constructive and useful.
In some circumstances, it might be necessary for your mentorship program to be completely virtual. Fortunately, there are many tools available to accommodate online plans for offices in multiple locations or people working from home.
Program coordinators should establish a virtual meeting space where the entire group can post and share concerns and information, especially mentoring best practices. Keep participants motivated and involved with meetings through Zoom or any of the other various online options. And give participants the flexibility to determine their own team schedule.
Like programs that are managed at a physical location, virtual mentoring has the greatest chance of success when company leadership demonstrates that it’s a priority.
At Jidan Cleaning, our leadership team fosters mentoring best practices that help our staff’s growth and professional development. We understand the importance of investing in our employees as they are the face of our business. We take pride in their professional, high-quality services, and their positive attitude that our clients have come to rely on.