By Gracye Burns
Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed flexible work options, the best strategies to attract and retain employees, and the best benefits your business can offer employees. Today, we’re going to focus on a specific type of retention strategy—one that can benefit your employees just as much as it will benefit your business.
Plus, this technique will cost your company nothing, and is one of the most effective ways to develop talent within your workforce.
Good, because today we’re talking about mentoring.
For starters, mentoring, if done well, can set employees up for incredible success. Taking the time to really mentor someone will build their skillset and efficiency by increasing their knowledge and ability to perform tasks.
Additionally, mentoring allows your employee to take and employ these skills on a large scale as they advance throughout their own careers, which may feature a long-term stay with your company.
Think of your favorite teacher throughout your educational experience—wouldn’t you take another course with them if you could? The same principle applies for mentoring. Once an employee develops skills through a mentoring program, that employee is much more likely to stick around and use their newfound skills for your company’s benefit.
Mentoring as a practice is unique because of the type of relationship it fosters between the mentor and mentee. Unlike supervision, which features an inherent power imbalance between the senior employee and non-senior employee, mentoring is a relationship of equals, where one employee gradually moves from a state of dependence to a more independent position.
Not only is mentoring valuable to the person receiving it, mentors can appreciate increased trust, shared information, and a foundation of mutual respect that will both comfort and encourage all parties involved.
Mentorships can be some of the most prolific and invaluable experiences of an individual’s career. It is through the conversations and opportunities created by participation in a mentoring program that many employees learn helpful tips and tricks for navigating the business world.
Additionally, mentees feel that by working with someone at a higher level, they have someone on their side who wants to help them achieve their goals—someone to really advise and assist them.
On the other hand, mentoring can be just as useful an experience for the individual performing the mentoring.
For senior individuals who often step in as teachers during a mentor program, it allows them to pass on their knowledge and also helps them feel valued by the company. Acting as a mentor also allows employees the opportunity to practice and develop their own managerial skills, while increasing their job enrichment and professional network size.