"How Do I Get Where You Are?": The Power of Mentoring ProgramsBy Steve Graham on July 6, 2017
Mentoring programs have a tremendous impact on employee development, talent retention and engagement. Employees crave feedback and often seek someone who has walked their path.
Offering a formal mentoring program demonstrates the organization's commitment to talent development. It also allows for assistance in developing a career path, and answering the often-asked question, "How do I get where you are?".
One common reason for turnover is lack of professional growth. Mentoring offers a chance for an employee to discuss many of the same concerns their mentor once had. This is vital in offering hope and encouragement when it is needed the most. It is invaluable to have someone who listens, cares and offers sound advice.
An important component to employee engagement is the relationship between the employee and their manager. Time and time again, research has shown that most employees leave due to bad managers. Mentoring fills the gap that is left by having a disconnected or bad manager. They can offer insight on navigating complex situations and give the employee that needed ear.
I believe the most important ROI is the fulfillment of serving someone else. We all need someone to help us during our journey, both professionally and personally. My best mentors helped me grow in both areas. We don't live compartmental lives, and what happens in our personal lives influences our professional lives.
Another ROI is creating a culture that values talent development. Having mentoring programs helps with recruiting talent and building a strong employer brand.
One of the top questions I receive during interviewing or shortly after hiring new talent is, "What do you offer to help with career advancement or growth?". It is a great return on investment when you can tell them about your outstanding mentoring program.
My first time having a true mentor was not in a formalized program. While our organization valued mentoring, it was not structured. I would not be the person I am today without that first mentoring experience. It crafted my early view of management, demonstrated leadership and showed me the value of caring for your people and their growth.
Even though I have not worked with my mentor in almost twenty years, I still value his advice and seek it out when facing an important decision.
Mentoring is something that should be passed down. It is a great feeling when the mentee becomes a mentor. Leadership is about influence and mentoring is a leadership process. I cannot help but think about the loss of potential talent due to lack of access to a mentor.
Mentoring is beneficial in identifying leadership potential and opportunities for career advancement. There are several organizations that require any potential management candidates to complete a one-year mentoring program.
A great resource for learning more about workplace mentoring is from Matt Collins' DDI blog, the value of being a mentor.
Mentorship as Leadership
Leaders don't just get to where they are by luck or chance. A PGS degree can help you get there. Being a good leader involves being intentional about your employees—and serving them, as well as your customers.