December has arrived and the holiday season is in full swing. As we reflect upon the year and the blessings bestowed upon us, many of us are in the spirit of giving, and the workplace is no exception. Implementing a mentorship program within your organization is the gift that keeps on giving: not only does it benefit the mentors and mentees, it also provides great returns to your business now and throughout the year. Providing a mentor to a high-potential employee can be one of the greatest benefits available to them. Not only are you improving your succession pipeline, you are also creating exceptional leaders within your organization.
If you are interested in designing a mentorship program to integrate into your business in 2020, there are a few factors you should consider. Achilles Group team member and mentorship expert, Christina Klafka, recommends the following considerations when building a mentorship program.
What are some of the benefits of a mentoring program? How could having one impact your business?
The mentor benefits by exercising leadership skills with a focus on one individual at a time. By using active listening and observation, the mentor gains insight into another’s thought processes, skills and work behavior and sets up an environment for feedback, development, and professional inspiration. Mentoring also allows the mentor to sharpen their own management skills and gain the personal satisfaction of seeing the fruit of their coaching and guidance grow into success.
The mentee benefits by accelerated learning or strengthening of specific skills, setting workload and career goals, developing follow-through habits, and receiving positive guidance along the way. The connection with a more experienced professional offers the opportunity for doors to open not only for learning, but for exposure to more complex, high-profile work assignments or projects and introductions to important contacts. Mentoring also provides a safe space to talk through various work topics or challenges: it’s an opportunity to build trust and a working relationship with someone who is objective and inside the organization, but outside of their direct team circle.
The organization benefits when factors that seem intangible such as employee engagement actually increase. One way to measure the effects of mentoring on employee engagement is by looking at talent retention rates. Generally, when an employee feels like someone is directly invested in their learning and success, they are more likely to stay with that organization. And happy, engaged employees who stay with the organization longer and in a more productive and effective manner, lead to profitability.
Mentorship programs can also be used as a recruiting tool: communicating to potential key hires that a path for career growth is available is attractive to top job seekers and shows that the company cares about developing people internally. This increases your competitive edge for business hires.
How can I design a mentorship program that is a good fit for my organization?
Mentoring is not something that everyone can do. Preparation and certain skills are essential for a successful mentor, and a willingness to learn and change are key for a mentee. In addition, the program requires people who are committed. Mentorship programs should be voluntary as nobody benefits if they feel forced into it.
Achilles Group’s mantra is to start with the end in mind, or the big picture. We help you figure out the goal of your program and assess the capabilities of your team. This will help you decide if you want a mentoring program or a different approach to leadership development.
We assist in setting up mentoring programs by first helping define the criteria essential for mentors and mentees. Many factors are considered such as: What activities do we want our mentors to be doing? What skills and capabilities should a mentor have? How do we identify the high potential employees to grow in the program? What is the ultimate outcome we want to achieve with a mentoring program? Can we leverage this program’s benefits in other areas of the business (ie: recruiting)? Achilles Group not only structures an evaluation and matching process for mentor-mentee, but guides and builds the entire program for our clients.
Building mentorship programs for our clients is an integral part of Achilles Group’s Strategy Alignment