Workplace Mentoring Programs for Businesses

Any successful company, big or small will face human resource challenges. You will need to consider implementing effective strategies to retain and continuously better your workforce. More so because the business world is highly unpredictable today. To build a dynamic office culture, it is important that you consider mentoring programs at the workplace. So, what is a mentoring program in business all about, you ask? Put in simple terms, a mentorship program involves the informal transmission of necessary professional knowledge between a mentor and a mentee.

Mentoring programs are essential for a better-engaged and better-trained workforce, which will be equipped to handle any organizational challenges with ease. As of now, more than 70% of Fortune 500 companies have been implementing mentoring programs effectively! Mentoring programs can be used to align the employees with the needs of the company through better engagement and lead to positive outcomes.

Here are some of the areas that are addressed by mentoring programs:

  • Customer service enhancement
  • Knowledge transfer between employees
  • Employee retention and employee satisfaction
  • Developing leadership
  • Career growth for employees
  • Communication of ideas

Let’s now talk about the different types of mentoring programs that you could implement in your organization based on your specific needs –

  • Mentoring for leadership development: Opt for this program if you’re looking to churn out exceptional leaders to lead your company on various domains. Your business results will be that much easier to get with quality leaders in your organisation. High performing employees can be considered for this program. Note that high-performance employees are vital to you and are more difficult to retain. To keep them engaged, you have to hone their leadership skills and expose them to different domains and put them in new roles.
  • Career mentoring: There’s nothing better than implementing a career mentoring program for your employees to show them that you are interested and very much involved in helping them climb new heights in their career. Companies like Deloitte, Intel and Boeing have solid mentorship programs to help employees attain their career goals and shape their career in the best way possible. A mentoring program is not just useful for the mentee; it has great benefits for the mentor as well. While boosting the mentee’s career by giving industry-specific mentoring, it will also enhance the professional network of the mentors and help them gain fresh perspectives on work.
  • Induction mentoring: An effective onboarding/induction mentoring program is a great tool for inspiring new joiners to the business. The first impression about the organisation is absolutely vital. Your new employees will learn to better adapt to and align themselves with the goals of   the organisation quickly with the help of a dedicated induction mentoring program. Induction mentors should ideally help the mentees in these aspects – earning about the subtleties in the company, helping the new employees build a reliable network within the workplace, educating and informing them about the company’s core values and history and making sure they settle in comfortably. Another thing to note here is that induction mentoring need not be exclusive to new employees; it can be implemented for employees returning to work after a hiatus or those taking on a role in a different domain.
  • Reverse mentoring: This one’s pretty interesting. Reverse mentoring as a concept in the workplace was popularised in the 90’s by Jack Welch, who is the former chief of General Electric. It is a system where you get your older executives to get trained by millennials. A senior executive or employee might have certain skill gaps, which can be bridged by pairing them up with a millennial for mentoring. Technology is changing at such a rapid pace that some people fail to keep up with it. Also, the mentors get to learn from seniors as well and they are prepped to take up more responsibilities. You can set it up to be formal or casual, as per the needs of your employees.
  • Mentoring for diversity and inclusion: Having a diversified workforce is a must today if you are to maintain an edge globally. One of the most important benefits of having people from different backgrounds is that you can interact and reach out to a wider client base. Now, it may seem to you that creating a diversity mentorship program is a daunting task. But follow through it and you’ll see that it will not only promote equal opportunities for everyone in the workplace but also turn out to be financially viable. You will discover new talent and be able to facilitate the cross-cultural exchange of knowledge. The bottom line of this program is teaching your employees that diversity is nothing but an opportunity to learn and grow.

All of these mentoring programs can be designed to be a one-on-one mentoring or a group mentoring, depending on the situation and the size of your business. Once the objectives are set in place, it becomes a smooth sailing. One more tip if you are planning to create these is that you can consider rewards or give recognition to mentors at the end of the program. This will encourage them and more of your employees will be inspired to take up the responsibility. Happy mentoring!

Chaithra M D


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