Mentoring is as old as humanity and isn’t a new concept in business. Reports show that more than 79% of Millennials see mentorship programs as crucial to their career success. Additionally, over 71% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentorship programs, showing that mentorship programs have become a standard in most organisations.
The reason why we need to engage in mentorship programs is simple – as human beings, we thrive on getting better, stronger and need each other to help us grow and learn. A mentor, therefore, shouldn’t be someone who holds your hand to show you how things get done or make decisions for you. E.M. Forster, a British novelist, said: ‘Spoon feeding, in the long run, teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.’ Spoon-feeding creates workers who are compliant and dependent, rather than leaders and supportive team members. It also creates managers who are untrusting, overbearing and controlling.
Many forward-thinking companies offer employees supportive management including providing advice on how to navigate problems, encouraging input and response from team members and allowing a margin for healthy risk-taking and failure. This approach produces employees who have a wider and flexible skill set.
What is Mentorship?
Mentorship is a relationship established between a mentor and a mentee with the goal of providing psychosocial support, knowledge, and expertise relevant to work, career or professional development.
A mentor is a more experienced professional who offers career guidance, assistance, and advice from a real-world point-of-view. A mentee, also known as a protégé, is someone who is guided or tutored by a mentor.
Here are the benefits of creating a mentorship program in the workplace.
For the employee
A mentor works on both personal and professional growth. When the right balance is achieved between these two elements, the outcome is unwavering personality. Workers with such a personality are better at resolving conflicts and handling work-related problems. It also helps gifted, but quiet employees feel less isolated and encourage them to interact more openly with their workmates.
With a mentorship program, every team member is endowed with skills and abilities that are crucial to improving their performance in their role and preparing them for future responsibilities. It also helps an employee better understand a company’s unspoken rules and culture, both of which are crucial for success.
For the company
A mentorship program within the organisation can help foster more loyal employees leading to higher job satisfaction, improved productivity and low turnover rate. Mentorship initiatives also create a positive work environment. This improves the chances of employees staying with the organization long enough to progress into leadership positions.
Additionally, employees who have the necessary skills make fewer errors cutting losses to the company.
For the mentor
Creating a mentorship program within an organisation does not only benefit the mentee and the company itself but the mentor as well. With mentorship initiatives, a mentor gets the opportunity to develop his/her teaching skills and gain the most sought-after leadership skills. Mentorship also helps enhance a mentor’s coaching, listening, and counselling skills.
A mentor can also achieve a certain level of satisfaction in sharing his/her expertise with others.