Workplaces comprise employees across various levels, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. However, there are times when skilful and talented employees start losing their worth and cannot perform up to the mark. This, coupled with a lack of guidance, can often lead to stress and uncalled for situations that hamper productivity. The workplace mentorship program comes in handy here. With a mentor in place, employees can draw positivity and guidance and can become the best version of themselves. It is a program that is beneficial for both managers and subordinates, as it creates a knowledge pool of shared experiences and knowledge.
In this article, we will discuss the employee mentorship program, how mentors bring about a change in the life of an employee, and how it contributes towards the betterment of the organization as a whole.
What is a Mentorship Program?
A workplace mentorship program is a system put in place to guide the new hires to find their footing in the organization. It includes finding an experienced mentor who can guide them through the workplace and help them tread well on their professional path. A good workplace mentorship program is structured well enough with segments and mentor guidance in place to reap the maximum benefits.
A workplace mentorship program works with mentors. What is a mentor? One can define a mentor as the person involved in supporting the growth of an individual, referred to as the mentee. It has to be noted that being a mentor is different from being a coach. While coaching is a short-term fix focusing on specific challenges, mentorship involves long-term processes and involvement in curating the entire personality of the mentee, thus contributing considerably towards his or her growth. A mentor and mentee relationship is often one that involves a deep relationship with long-term effects.
Basis the hierarchical structure and other policies followed at an organization, there are three types of mentoring that can be looked at:
A peer mentor is one who is assigned to the new employee at the time of joining. They introduce the employee to the organization and its culture and work.
This type of mentor is one who takes into account a larger approach for life by combining professional growth and enhancing it with respect to life goals.
This mentor serves as a coach who will help the employee meet his or her professional goals by honing the strengths and minimizing the weaknesses.
Many times, these types of roles are merged in various combinations and played by one mentor. That means one person can be a peer as well as a life mentor, or even a career and life mentor. The roles depend upon the organizational policies and how well do they chart out their workplace mentorship program.
How to Be a Mentor?
A mentor is first and foremost a patient and good human being. While they are not essentially coaches, their job does require coaching and guiding, albeit on a long-term basis. Here are a few handy pointers on how to be a mentor.
By defining the objective of the relationship, a mentor ensures that this mentorship program will work towards refining the career of the mentee. This involves fostering connections, preparation for major milestones, changing with time and organization’s policies, and more.
To ensure that the mentor and mentee relationship is a productive one, the former must ensure that there is a structure involved wherein the ultimate focus should be on the. However, this is only possible if the mentor and mentee have rapport. A workplace mentorship program ensures that the right mentor is connected to the right mentee, thus resulting in perfect professional relationships that contribute towards overall employee productivity and organizational goals.
The most important facet of a workplace mentorship program is sharing knowledge. A mentor should share experience and expertise with the mentee wherever required to fill in the gaps. Communication is the key here.
Open the Doors
For a mentor and mentee to have an effective relationship, it is important to have an open-door policy as far as communication is concerned. The program should be structured in a way that it allows the mentor and mentee to have a transparent relationship wherein either can discuss their issues with each other at any time of the day without the fear of being judged or reprimanded for it.
This is the first tenet of clean communication, which in turn, is required for a healthy mentor and mentee relationship.
A mentor and mentee relationship is the base for a successful workplace mentorship program.
What are the Benefits of a Mentor Program?
A good workplace mentorship program, if implemented well and monitored for feedback and constant innovation, provides the following benefits.
- It ensures that employees develop new skills with a constant support system by their side
- A good workplace mentorship program ensures that the organization’s reputation amps up
- It drastically reduces the employee turnover rate because of loyalty cultivation and due to it nourishing the employees emotionally and professionally
- It enhances the productivity of the employees
- A well-structured workplace mentorship program ensures that the employees learn their workplace routine well and use it to their advantage
- By way of good mentors, efficient workplace mentorship program ensures that the employees achieve their professional goals
- It ensures that the mentee receives the mentor’s problem-solving and analyzing skills
- A workplace mentorship program develops leadership skills in the mentees as the mentors help them become better leaders of tomorrow
- Mentoring in the workplace hones the communication skills of the employees, including both mentor and mentee
- It is a great learning opportunity for everyone involved
Mentoring in the workplace is an essential part of managing human resources. It not only ensures a good work culture and better employee productivity but also inculcates loyalty in the employees to foster an overall healthy work environment.
What to do Before Starting a Workplace Mentorship Program?
Starting a workplace mentorship program is not that difficult. Only, you need to structure it well so that it becomes successful. Keep the following things in mind before starting a mentorship program.
- Decide what type of mentorship program you wish to offer
- After that, decide whether you want it to be a formal affair or an informal one
- Post that, decide the duration of the program
- Decide the enrolment procedure
- Figure out the budget for the workplace mentorship program
- Get the stakeholders on board.
Once you have carefully studied and taken into consideration all of the aforementioned, you are ready to start mentoring programs in the workplace.
How to Start a Mentoring Program?
Organize and execute the workplace mentorship program once you are done with the initial procedure. There are a few steps involved here.
Step #1: Program Goal
The first step is to define what the goal of the workplace mentorship program is going to be. Mostly, organizations introduce such programs to improve the productivity and performance of the employees. Define the goal accordingly.
Step #2: Outline the Mentoring Process
Once you have defined the workplace mentorship program’s goals, then is time to create a mentoring program outline. Take cues on how to be a mentor and accordingly outline a process of mentoring. This also includes knowing a way to track the progress of the program.
Step #3: Select the Participants
Once the mentoring process is in place, it is time to select the participants. This includes creating a pool of individuals with a vast and diverse range of knowledge and experience and then matching mentor and mentee to create perfect teams.
Step #4: Provide Training
Once the procedure of selecting participants and charting out the training program is ready, the actual process of training begins. This is where the challenge lies, in the execution of the strategy. Here, decide the frequency and format of the mentorship.
At the end of the day, a good workplace mentorship program should provide the participants with tools to refine their skills and define their success. This, on the whole, ensures that the organization’s vision and mission are amplified and achieved.
How to Ensure Your Workplace Mentorship Program Works?
Have good mentoring programs in the workplace? Strategize those well. However, they are of no use if not executed well. Thus, it is important to keep a few points in mind that serve as a catalyst in expediting the efficiency of mentoring in the workplace.
- Ensure that managers or mentors can allocate time without having to stress over meetings and deadlines
- Constantly remind managers that their being a mentor is actually good for their professional development and portfolio
- Managers should take their roles as mentors seriously for the mentorship program to be effective
- Remind mentees or employees that the program can give a great boost to their career
- Encourage mentees so that they are excited about the program. This should further reflect in their body language and decorum, such as reaching for meetings before time, being enthusiastic, taking notes, asking questions, and more
- Stage formal meetings where mentor and mentee can meet
- Direct both the mentor and mentee every now and then so they do not lose focus
- Tell mentors that their job is not to fix the problems. Rather, their job is to train the mentees to fix it
- This should not be a teacher-student relationship that turns intimidating after a while with one person having the upper hand. This should be a relationship where everyone is at par and the mentor is training the mentee to be like the mentor
- Normalize failing mentors. In case that happens, switch the mentor and mentee team
- Constantly share the mentor and mentee stories of success, as an example to encourage new teams
- Track and monitor each program for progress
At the end of it, the success of a mentorship program depends on its planning and a good camaraderie between the mentor and mentee. Solve the hiccups that occur along the way.
Do You Need a Workplace Mentorship Program?
Yes. A mentorship program nurtures employees into becoming a better version of themselves, holistically. This ensures they are clearer in their goals that are further in sync with the organization’s vision. Having a workplace mentorship program in place leads to more productive employees who become future leaders. It is definitely something you should implement in your organization.
Does your workplace have a mentorship program in place? Do tag us at @HarmonizeHQ and let us know. We are all ears.