The success or failure of every organization depends on the quality of its workmanship. In other words, the quality of an organization’s employees determines whether an organization will achieve its objectives or not. Intrinsically, it’s in every establishment’s best interest to see to it that aside from hiring the top talents in the industry, it also invests in the professional growth and development of every employee. Because not only will it increase performance and productivity, it will also increase retention and engagement. Over the years, experts have developed many workplace models to accelerate employees’ professional growth. And one of these methods includes workplace mentoring programs.
Although mentorship has existed since people with more experience have been on the job, enterprises have looked to structure it into a formal system. Mentoring programs in the workplace are mainstream among companies and 70% of Fortune 500 companies have one.
What is workplace mentoring?
Wikipedia defines peer mentoring as a form of mentorship that takes place between a person who has lived through the specific experience and a person who is new to that experience. Eby defines peer mentoring in the workplace as an intentional one-on-one relationship between employees at the same or a similar lateral level in the organization that involves a more experienced worker teaching new knowledge and skills and providing encouragement to a less experienced worker.
At first glance, the definition of mentoring and coaching look familiar. However, they’re not the same, and both differ markedly. Peer mentoring is an arrangement that ensures a new employee maintains a one-to-one relationship with an expert. The expert, or mentor, is always at the same level as the newly recruited worker. In this set-up, the older employee serves as a guide/advisor to the less experienced worker.
On the other hand, coaching is a performance-driven arrangement carried out solely to improve an employee’s on-the-job performance immediately. Consequently, coaching focuses on teaching new employees current practices and developing problems solving skills needed for the job. Unlike mentoring, it doesn’t involve a one-on-one relationship. And it usually entails one or more employees working together.
Another area of difference between mentoring and coaching is in the objectives. While coaching aims at increasing employee performance instantly, the goals of workplace mentoring programs are beyond this. It usually involves sharing job-related knowledge that entails the transfer of both job-relevant technical knowledge and skills. Eventually, the employee develops skills that they can use in job roles acquired in the future. In essence, mentoring in the workplace is a development-driven activity that guarantees an all-round growth for the mentee.
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Benefits of workplace mentoring programs
As stated earlier, mentoring has existed since people started to acquire more experience than others in a particular field. And this has made the tradition last for a very long time. However, with the development of technology, companies now pander toward the use of new learning and development frameworks. With these newly-embraced frameworks, organizations deliver content online, causing them to overlook mentoring in the workplace.
While these new forms of specialized employee training frameworks are a welcome development, companies cannot overlook the benefits of developing a mentoring program in the workplace. Workplace mentoring programs have a lot of benefits for any organization. Among other things, they boost an enterprise’s recruitment efforts and increase retention and the general levels of engagement levels. Below are some key benefits of workplace mentoring programs.
It improves employee wellbeing
At the end of a workplace mentoring program, employee performance will improve, among other things. But for this to happen, employees must feel well in every aspect of themselves. The current pandemic situation the world is facing has made employee wellbeing deteriorate massively. Aside from people losing their lives, experts have raised concerns about the mental health of people.
But, even before the pandemic, employee wellbeing has always been an issue. According to the WHO, the global economy loses $1 trillion yearly due to the unproductivity caused by inadequate employee mental health. With these realities in play, developing a mentoring program in the workplace will go a long way to improve employee wellbeing.
It makes recruitment easy
Mentoring employees in the workplace is a signal to prospective candidates that not only will they gain work experience, but also valuable professional growth and development. Fundamentally, when considering a career move, a company with a workplace mentoring program will get a nudge over a company without one.
The reason for this is simple: nowadays, job seekers look beyond compensation and benefits when making a career move. They’re always on the lookout for establishments that guarantee learning and development opportunities. And the mentoring process in the workplace is a fantastic way for people to work on both their job-related skills and knowledge and their interpersonal skills.
Therefore, the existence of mentoring programs in the workplace can be a decisive factor for a candidate when deciding whether to join an organization or not. It can also be the key to hiring the top talents in the industry.
It reduces the rate of employee turnover
While developing a mentoring program in the workplace can ease the process of recruiting, it also influences the level of employee retention. As stated in the earlier point, candidates favor growth and development opportunities over bigger salaries and bonuses. In essence, money isn’t as effective a factor in retaining employees as before. Workers don’t want to feel stagnated in one position; they want to see that they’re growing and developing professionally.
Many surveys carried out in different countries show that a large percentage of workers quit their jobs due to a lack of training and development opportunities. Developing a mentoring program in the workplace will help an organization retain its employees.
A case study done at Sun Microsystems shows how mentoring has a positive impact on both career development and retention. The research, carried out by Gartner, involved the collection of data from more than 1000 Sun employees spanning five years. Not only did they find that mentors were promoted six times more often than those not in the program, but mentees were also promoted five times more often than those not in the program.
Retention-wise, it turned out that retention rates for mentees (72%) and mentors (69%) were much higher than for employees who didn’t take part in the mentoring program (49%).
Research shows that the first few months of an employee is crucial to the overall success of that employee’s stay in an organization. Having a workplace mentoring program can ensure that a new hire doesn’t fall through the cracks and perform poorly during this critical period. Being a mentor in the workplace can help an employee socialize and fit into the organization without any troubles.
- Workers are quitting their jobs due to lack of training, study finds by Shafi Musaddique||February 21, 2018
- Mental health in the workplace by the World Health Organization||May 2019
- Know the difference between coaching and mentoring by Kent State University||July 5, 2017.
- The power of peer mentoring in the workplace (now and post COVID-19) by Neelie Verlinden
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