A mentor is a person who gives advice and provides guidance to an employee with limited experience in the workplace. The jobof a mentor is to encourage the professional and personal development of the mentee by sharing their expertise, knowledge, and experience.
The relationship between the mentor and mentee is built on mutual respect, trust and communication, and involves the two individuals meeting regularly to discuss progress, exchange ideas and set goals for further development.
A workplace mentoring program helps both new and tenured employees do the right thing by providing them access to senior employees who already know how to do things in the right manner. It helps improve the employee’s performance efficiency as well as increase worker satisfaction.
CDL suggests benefits of a mentorship program in the workplace include:
- Effective onboarding. Proper onboarding of new hires and new assignments is critical to ensuring that the new/redeployed employee succeeds in their new job. Providing a mentor for employees who have taken up a new role helps speed up the onboarding process and make it more effective. By pairing up new employees with experienced mentors, you help accelerate the acclimatisation of the employee to the culture and environment of the new workplace as well as learn the ropes at a faster rate.
- Increased productivity. Mentorship programs help increase productivity by giving the mentee the opportunity to have their questions answered and oral feedback provided in real time.This means that employees do not need to waste time re-inventing solutions to problems that have already been solved allowing them to get the job done a lot quicker. It also prevents the problem of new employees creating wrong solutions to problems which could create costly problems or even worse, be taught to other employees.
- Knowledge retention and management. For a large number of organisations,the knowledge possessed by key individuals is one of their most important assets. If these individuals were to leave the company,this knowledge would leave with them. An effective mentorship program encourages and allows these key employees to share their skills and knowledge with other workers. This not only reduces the risk of losing key skills for the organisation, but also helps reduce the workload of the key employees as it frees them from the tedious job of managing day-to-day crisis created by less skilled employees. This way they can concentrate on what they do best whether it be generating sales, innovating or any other function crucial to the success of the business.
- Reduced frustration. Employees who are left to feel their way around in the company without aproper understanding of their jobs will often feel frustrated. This will lead to reduced employee morale and engagement and could eventually cause high employee turnover. By providing an avenue for employees to find answers and resources to their problems through mentorship, you not only help reduce frustration but also empower them to resolve problems on their own in the future.
- It creates synergy. Mentoring provides both the mentor and mentee with the opportunity to be better and more productive as a team than they could be individually. The highly skilled mentor can offload less skill-intensive tasks to the mentee and focus more effectively on the areas that require more skills. The mentee will perform effectively as they will be working within their range of expertise without getting roadblocked or stuck trying to handle tasks that exceed their skills. From the relationship, the mentee will learn how to handle the highly skilled aspects of the job and also get credit when the mentor succeeds, leading to an increase in job performance and enthusiasm. As an added benefit, the mentor will be able to hone their own skills more effectively in the process.
In addition to these benefits, a workplace mentorship program also helps in leadership development by providing an effective mechanism for preparing and grooming employees to take up key positions in the future.