The benefits of a mentorship program

8 Sep

Mentorship programs increase knowledge and engagement.

Most staff see the benefits of finding a mentor to teach them the ins and outs of a new business. This type of informal educational relationship is common in the corporate landscape. Few workplaces actually formalize the mentoring process, but there are great benefits when they do. Here are some positive outcomes of workplace mentoring:

Professional development
The No.1 reason to implement a mentoring program is to help employees grow. A well-executed mentorship program can pair newer employees with seasoned staff members based on both individuals' interests and experience. This situation can help companies invest in employees' career paths. The mentorship role also provides new leadership opportunities for the senior employee, which may increase confidence and engagement. In addition, it's always possible for older staff to learn some new things from newcomers, such as digital skills. Insurance company The Hartford created a reverse mentoring program, where young people passed on their knowledge of social media, according to a paper from Boston College Sloan Center on Aging and Work.

Identifying leaders
Mentorship programs also help organizations find potential leaders and cultivate necessary skills for future management. For example, Deloitte has a number of professional growth programs, one of which is the Emerging Leaders Development Program. ELDP is a structured mentorship program that sets up one-on-one coaching to develop leadership skills. Programs like these also help young employees understand their own leadership potential. Reverse mentoring also instills leadership skills in young people. At The Hartford, 11 of 12 mentors were promoted within a year of the program's start, the Boston College report said.

Transfer of knowledge
Structured training takes staff members only so far. The most experienced employees have learned a lot of their insight from years on the job and direct experience. To ensure this knowledge doesn't go out the door when older employees retire, it's important to have a way to maintain all of that acumen within the company. Mentoring is a good way to ensure that promising newcomers learn from those who have been there before them.

Retention and engagement
Mentoring also has a great impact on engagement, as ERE Media pointed out. Companies that facilitate one-on-one coaching invest more in their staff. Young employees will feel like the company makes time for their professional development, which increases their engagement and makes them more invested in their work. In addition, mentors are a great resource for hires who feel stressed or anxious about their new responsibilities. Mentees are often more comfortable discussing work problems with a mentor rather than a supervisor. A mentor can help a new staff member work through these issues so the employee doesn't leave the organization.

Structured mentoring programs have great benefits in the workplace, increasing professional development opportunities, identifying future leaders, increasing knowledge and keeping employees engaged. HR managers can jumpstart the process by suggesting the benefits of mentoring to executives. Employee management software can be used to help HR keep track of staff professional growth and training.

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