Our recent article, “6 Reasons to Develop a Mentorship-Style Training Program” examines the various benefits for employers and employees to create an effective training program designed for mentors and mentees. Employers benefit greatly implementing this style of learning and development, especially when it comes to building an employer brand that fosters loyalty. More than 70% of Fortune 500 companies have official mentor programs, and with results like increased retention rates, meeting diversity initiatives and increased employee engagement; it just makes sense.
The benefits don’t just stop at the employers, but they stem throughout the entire organization and positively affect employees too. Not only do mentor programs build lasting relationships with leadership, but they provide opportunities for professional advancement, as well. The rewards of this type of training program are evident, but earning those rewards requires a little work. Or maybe, it requires no work at all. Here’s a great point:
“A lot of companies’ structured mentoring programs have failed as they have tried to put structure to something that is basically a relationship.” – Jeanne Meister (@jcmeister), Author of The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today
Unlike any other organizational program, the mentorship program is more likely to fail if it’s structured. You simply can’t spoon feed a mentor-mentee working relationship. However, you can put in place these 6 organizational initiatives:
“Spending a day in the life of someone in a different department can change the way you approach every aspect of your job.” – Lisa Evans, (@WriteLisaEvans)
For new hires, spending time in a different department may be getting ahead of yourself, but spending time with someone in their department should become a major part of the onboarding process.
Work4, a social recruiting platform, founded an inter-department employee exchange program called “Live My Life” which allows employees to spend a day in the life (at work) as one of their coworkers. See how this program has been a success with approximately 75% of interns (which are generally new hires) have participated.
Get Out and Network Together
As a mentor, it’s one thing to provide contacts to your mentee. Introing them to a sales rep that you’ve worked with in the past, or giving them the contact info for the IT department are great first steps. However, networking needs to happen externally as well. Invite your mentee to attend a conference with you, a business lunch meeting or any professional networking event.
Discuss Interpersonal Skills
This one is often overlooked, yet extremely important. Every person works differently depending on their environment and the people they are working with. Sit down with your mentee and find out what makes them tick. What are their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to working with others? Obviously, after finding out this pertinent information you aren’t going to advise them to avoid so and so. However, you can direct them towards other coworkers that you think will be valuable to their training.
Does your organization have any charities they partner with? Is there a charity that is related to your organization’s mission or industry related? This is a great opportunity to break away from the structured mentorship program and do something a little different. Volunteering is a great way to build a bond and an opportunity to get to know each other better.
KMPG, a global professional services company, started a mentorship program called “Leaders Engaging Leaders” to diversify and grow its group of managers. This cross-mentorship program is definitely something that other organizations need to consider including in their current programs. The results of this program have been successful in that more leaders are taking on higher-level leadership roles. A study found that mentors in an employee mentoring program were promoted 6 times more often than those not in the program. Mentees in the program were found to be promoted 5 times more often than those not in the program. What does this mean for a cross-mentoring program? Everyone is getting promoted!
Tweet This: Mentors in a mentorship program are 6 times more likely to be promoted.
Consider a Reverse-Mentorship Program
As baboomers are set to retire and leave the workforce, Millennials are taking over with a nationwide attrition rate of 15%. The changing workforce highlights the need for a reverse-mentoring program in many organizations. Step out of the typical top-down mentor program and switch up the roles. Higher ups can learn from new employees too, and in turn it may teach the new hires a little more about themselves.
80% of learning is informal
Therefore, this fact should be used as a basis for your employee mentorship training program. Mentoring empowers employees and new hires to learn and develop in ways that complement your already established training program.