Every one of your employees has a particular strength. Each hire brings something new to your company. A new skill, a different perspective, a unique take on his or her job. With a mentorship program, these skills and views can be passed long, from senior leaders to juniors, or the other way around. This sharing of knowledge can become a new way to meet goals, accomplish a greater work-life balance, and gain a different perspective on their daily routines.
While there are many kinds of mentorships, each has distinct advantages for participants and organizations. With a little research and planning, you can choose and implement the right mentorship structure for your company.
Benefits of Mentorship Programs
Workplace mentorships benefit the mentee, the mentor, and their company. For the mentee, benefits include developing specific skills or competencies, boosting confidence in their abilities, expanding their contacts network, and gaining a crash course on their industry and its culture.
Benefits to the mentor are a little harder to pin down but can include strengthening listening skills, improving leadership skills, giving a sense of fulfillment in work, and providing a dominant form of recognition and reward.
The company benefits by sending the message that they care about their employees and are willing to invest in them on a personal level. On top of this, they’re reducing training costs and helping each employee bridge generation gaps, address talent shortages, and share knowledge. Plus, there’s always the benefit of increased employee retention and job satisfaction for both the mentor and mentee.
Types of Mentoring Programs
Career mentoring is the most common type of mentorship. Its traditional approach pairs mentors and mentees up in a 1:1 match. Most companies prefer this model because it allows mentors and mentees to develop a personal relationship while providing individual support that can benefit both of them.
In this approach, senior executives become the mentees, and in a twist, more junior level employees become the mentors. The difference is the overall goal, which becomes keeping the older generation informed on areas like the latest social networking trends, technology, pop culture, and media.
Assigning specific demographics of employees together with the goal of engaging and developing them. This approach helps improve diversity in leadership roles or other disciplines and connects diverse populations to learn and share experiences. Research has shown that ethnically diverse and gender-diverse companies are respectively 35% and 15% more likely to achieve above-average financial returns.
Choosing the Right Program
Whichever approach you take, corporate mentorships are a useful development option that’s also critical to increase knowledge sharing, helping increase employee satisfaction and retention.
How to find the best mentorship program for your organization:
Consider your company mission: What are your company’s long-term goals and how will a mentorship program support them?
Plan around company culture: Mentorships can be formal one-on-one meetings set up at specific intervals over a set period, or more informal meetings that happen when the mentor and mentee decide to meet. There’s no right or wrong answer – choose the best fit for your organization.
Identifying the match: Are the views of the mentor and mentee aligned? Will the mentor properly challenge the mentee and push him or her to specific goals?
Think of everything above as a starting point. Your plan will be unique to your company, and it’s up to you to decide what works best. Semiconductor maker Intel has a long-running program that uses questionnaire answers to more effectively match its 95,000 employees with other qualifying employees who can teach them the skills they’re looking to learn. Sodexo, a food services company, offers three types of mentorships aimed at helping employees at different points in their careers.
Mentorships are essential not just because knowledge and skills get passed between mentor and mentee, but they also provide professional socialization, networking, personal support, and increased teamwork. A quality mentorship program can be a universally effective and cost-efficient way to engage and empower an employee’s growth and professional development.