Business leaders have often used mentoring to enhance employee skill sets, however, we find that a structured mentorship program is more likely to provide better results. We know that business leaders who are effective mentors improve their business results in a variety of ways. Not only does the bottom line receive a boost, but we see improvement in employee performance.
Mentoring provides positive results. Yet, establishing a mentoring relationship is often an informal arrangement, initiated by the mentee. The benefits for the mentee include valuable feedback, shared expertise, and championing when job promotions become available.
A structured mentorship program is a program that can be instituted throughout the organization. In other words, everyone participates. For example, when an individual is hired, they are assigned a mentor. When an individual joins a team or receives a promotion, they are assigned a mentor. The mentors should be identified as more senior leaders and/or experts in their field. You can read about our Steps Forward Program to learn how we outline the creation of this structured mentorship process.
This is a time when we are experiencing a pandemic, workers are exhausted and anxious, and there is a questionable job market. So we recommend that this is an opportune time to establish a structured mentoring program. Here’s why.
A structured mentorship program offers the following benefits:
1. It equals the playing field.
A structured mentorship program which includes everyone in the organization takes us closer to an equal playing field for all employees. It is a valuable strategy for creating an inclusive environment. Workers who have mentors have more opportunities to stretch their skill capacities. Mentors can advise, champion and act as allies through a mentee’s career development. Companies that prioritize a diversified workforce will be able to use a structured mentorship program to demonstrate that they are provide equal opportunities for everyone.
2. It enhances an inclusive work environment.
This structured mentorship program is designed to boost minority representation at the management level. One major purpose of this program is to increase gender and ethnic diversity in leadership roles. The program also is a useful strategy to stay connected with a remote workforce. By having a mentor who communicates regularly, the feeling of isolation can be mitigated, and the remote workers can have a sense of inclusion with the employees onsite.
3. It fosters a culture of learning, nurturing, and growth.
Business leaders who are effective mentors provide a structure for employees to grow and develop. For the mentee, the process boosts self-confidence and exposes the mentee to new ways of thinking and problem solving. Mentoring is an effective and low-cost way for senior employees to pass on knowledge of the industry to younger staff. Talent retention is important is our current work environment. Establishing formal avenues for employees to continually learn and professionally develop is a strong incentive for worker loyalty.
4. It provides accountability.
An established structured mentorship program allows leadership to monitor employee progress. Leadership can establish key performance indicators. This agreed-upon set of metrics can measure the impact that performance has on the business results. The metrics can be documented, so that patterns of accomplishments can be credited and shared.
The benefits of a structured mentorship program are easy to assess, when you consider the four examples delineated above. In addition, this structured mentorship program is an attractive work perk for many people, particularly millennials, who have come to expect that mentorship and professional development opportunities will be included with their employment.