Mentoring is a supportive form of employee training that takes place outside the conventional top-down manager-employee relationship.
It typically comes in the form of long-term guidance provided by an experienced employee, the mentor, to someone less experienced, the mentee, in an effort to support the mentee’s overall development.
A mentor is someone who has knowledge, skills, and experience in a particular area and is willing to share that information by providing insight and support.
Benefits of Employee Mentoring
Mentoring offers numerous benefits to both mentor and mentee. It serves to broaden staff insight into the business and build stronger relationships. Mentoring contributes to the success of the mentee by improving performance, increasing confidence, and addressing strengths and weaknesses.
A mentorship can help a mentee learn and develop faster by encouraging an exchange of information that doesn’t always exist naturally. Mentoring programs let employees know that the company values them and has an interest in their personal development, leading to increased productivity and reduction in turnover.
Mentoring also benefits mentors by providing a sense of responsibility and a feeling of ownership in the company. It allows people who may not be a manager or supervisor to take on a leadership role.
Mentoring, as part of an overall training and development strategy can improve performance and boost the success of your organisation. When combined with other development tools such as 360 degree feedback and performance reviews, a mentoring program can help your employees grow.
How to Start a Mentoring Program
Start by setting objectives for the program, and ask yourself the following questions:
– What do you want to achieve with a mentoring program?
– Will the program be formal, with scheduled meetings and guidelines, or will it take a more informal approach? Will you have a program coordinator?
– Will you pair mentors with mentees or will you encourage the relationships to happen naturally?
– Will you include all employees in the program or a specific group of future leaders?
– How much time should participants spend on mentoring activities?
– Will the program involve group mentoring or be purely one-to-one?
– How will you measure the success of the program?
Involving mentors in 360 degree assessments
of developing leaders can add yet another degree of insight to that leader’s performance – as perceived by those around them. The feedback gained through 360 surveys helps you pinpoint employee weaknesses and strengths, target knowledge and skill gaps, and measure overall development.
So why not involve mentors in the 360 assessment? All good online 360 systems should be capable of inviting mentors to give feedback and this has the benefit of yielding a considerably more rounded view of the candidate in their role.
Pete Alexandre is marketing manager at online survey and assessment software provider, SurveyShack.
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