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How mentoring could benefit your workplace

Mentoring is one of the great underutilised resources for many businesses, yet one that can benefit so many individuals and their employers

They are so many good reasons for someone to spend time with a mentor, and indeed in sharing their experience and being a mentor for someone else.

A mentoring scheme is worth investigating for your prospective mentors and mentees. One of the biggest pros of this sort of personal development is that it is so personalised to the individuals involved and can be tailored to their development needs.

Developing the mentee

The benefits to the mentee are perhaps the most obvious – they learn from an experienced professional and give their career a boost in the right direction. This can pay huge dividends in terms of an individual’s self-confidence and motivation.

Understanding the goals is the key to making it work from the mentee’s perspective – what skills do they want or need to hone? Perhaps this is leadership or communication, or perhaps technical skills.

For many, simply having a contact in another part of the business can help to teach them about the organisation and its culture and be an important networking link. Usually, the mentor would be more senior so that he or she could coach the mentee on ‘managing upwards’ and communicating at a higher level.

Benefits for the mentor

Experienced professionals are often happy to share what they have learned and ‘give back’ something to their industry or profession; in addition, doing so can remind them of their worth and value. It can also be a good way to help a mentor to improve their listening and interpersonal skills, if required.

Assigning an experienced member of staff a mentee can sometimes reignite their passion or enable them to obtain more satisfaction from their work.

The business also benefits

What better way for your employees, or prospective employees, to see that the business and its senior management is willing to invest in them than being able to demonstrate a tailored scheme, structured to their individual requirements?

Reduced turnover rates amongst staff are a key goal of most HR departments. Mentoring schemes go some way towards supporting a lowering of the rate, with the employees feeling valued and supported and the business saving the cost of recruiting and training new staff.

Mentoring goes beyond what many training schemes or workshops can deliver because it is so bespoke. This alone is often enough to promote the idea of working together, cross-functionally and cooperatively, across the organisation.

Working with a senior member of the business encourages growth and aspiration from more junior employees and can highlight potential future leaders. Many interviewees will want to know about promotion from within; therefore, being able to talk to them about a mentor scheme is powerful.

Setting up a mentor programme in the business has benefits for all involved. It works best if the programme is managed by an individual who can ensure the meetings are productive and that individuals, mentors and mentees continue to benefit from the investment of their time.

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