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July 5, 2016

Why workplace mentorship is crucial

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Mentors are vital to fostering business growth.

Mentors are vital to fostering business growth.

Mentors are vital to fostering business growth.

According to the Business Dictionary, mentoring is defined as an “Employee training system under which a senior or more experienced individual is assigned to act as an advisor, counselor, or guide to a junior or trainee. The mentor is responsible for providing support to, and feedback on, the individual in his or her charge.” What the definition fails to convey is how vital mentors are to fostering business growth. 
What Makes a Mentor? 
There is no special prerequisite for becoming a mentor. However, business leaders should take care when selecting the employees that will set the example for younger and newcoming employees. Individuals who understand and respect the company’s values and mission will be better able to transfer their dedication to their mentees. Moreover, a mentor should be amiable and encouraging but not coddling. A mentee should be able to count on his or her mentor for support and guidance, as well as honest feedback and correction when necessary. Mentor candidates need to demonstrate leadership qualities as these traits will help shape the employees under their influence.
Why Mentors Matter? 
Imagine attending an event where you know no one. The scenario is slightly intimidating and uncomfortable. In this analogy, mentors can be seen as the individuals at the gathering who approaches and introduce you to the rest of the attendees. Providing new employees the opportunity to join a mentorship program can make their integration simpler and create better feelings toward the company in the long run. According to Insala, the Connecticut-based research firm, Gartner conducted a study and found that retention rates were higher with employees who participated in mentorship programs, both as mentors and mentees. New employees, especially those of the millennial generation, benefit by having a company veteran help them hone their skills and adapt to the office culture. They act as the metaphorical life-preserver and can assist newcomers with staying afloat early in their new careers.

Mentorship programs can help strengthen the next generation of employees in a company.Mentorship programs can help strengthen the next generation of employees in a company.

The Benefits of Mentorship
A mentorship program is the ultimate example of ROI. When companies invest time and resources to train and assimilate new employees, they are making an investment in the future of the businesses. For this reason, 71 percent of Fortune 500 companies have instituted a mentorship program, according to Insala. These companies reap the benefits of a workforce that is better trained and more company-minded. As for the quantitative return, Management Mentors reported that the cost of replacing an employee is about $22,000. Because mentorship programs improve retention, they have the potential to save businesses significant amounts of money.
How to Start a Mentorship Program
Instituting one of these programs is easier than most managers realize. It is important to gauge employee interest first. Including unwilling participants in the program will do more harm than good. Next, try to assign mentors to mentees based on similar departments. This way, those being mentored will be able to learn usable skills from their senior coworkers. Encourage mentors to take their pupils out for lunches occasionally to promote bonding. It is also wise to hold regular check-in meetings to track the progress and effectiveness of the program.
Mentorship programs are crucial for modern businesses. Pairing new employees with vetted individuals in a company gives them a chance to improve their skills, embrace company culture, invest in a future with the business and prepare for leadership roles later in their career. If a mentorship program is available, it communicates that the business is invested in its employees. It creates an environment of shared growth and can even save businesses turnover costs.
Click here to learn about some e-learning courses on mentoring and coaching to help get you started on implementing a mentorship program at your organization.

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