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Let’s put your employee hat on for a second: If you were assigned a mentor as an employee, would this encroach upon your worth ethics or would this exude trust, satisfaction and beyond all take you to a more advanced working level? Well, if you are one of the fortunate ones to be assigned a mentor in the workplace, consider yourself lucky. Having a mentor in the workplace will help provide guidance to you as an employee and further your knowledge within the business. A mentor may be another employee of the company or he/she may be a professional from an external source. In both cases, the mentor is a role model, who shares knowledge and advice to help the employee grow mentally and physically in their roles - creating long-lasting effects for both parties.
In addition to the Mentor – Mentee relationship, there are four main beneficiaries to a mentoring program in your business; the employee, the employer, the mentor and the profession.
As individuals we thrive on learning, it would be remiss of us to say that we have learned everything we need to know. As an employee, one of the benefits of a mentor program is that you have someone on-hand with greater knowledge and experience for you to converse with, at any time, for advice, and ultimately expanding your understanding of the role. Your job will still be your job, with the mentor acting as your trusted guide. For example your mentor may set a somewhat challenging task for you to accomplish, the mentor will then guide you through the process, demonstrating alternative solutions (and possibly more effective ways to do things) and/or provide constructive criticism where necessary. If you’re the new kid on the block, you may feel isolated from the rest of the herd, therefore being assigned a mentor may just give you that sense of security and comradeship you require, consequently forming constructive working relationships with you and your co-workers. As your mentoring program grows and develops, this will help stabilise and hopefully cement both your career and leadership development for your future within the business.
As the employer, the benefits of having a mentor program can mean greater productivity and overall focus in the workplace. By encouraging a learning culture through mentoring, employers will also play an active role in spreading knowledge and best practice throughout your organisation. By having a qualified mentoring program in place, fewer mistakes will be made, new skills will be learnt and employees (as mentioned) will feel more engaged with the company. These contributing factors will lead to increased job satisfaction, flow and a more a positive working environment for all.
For some people, when seeking employment, having a mentoring program in the pipeline is a very positive aspect about a company.
This isn’t a one way relationship! As a mentor, being provided with the opportunity to teach or advise others can increase your confidence in your own job satisfaction. The satisfaction of helping someone achieve their professional goals is tenfold, and building your own internal leadership and management skills will help develop your own personal growth as an individual. Even if the mentored employee leaves the company, you can continue this professional connection you have established for future employees. One of the benefits of being a mentor and having the mentor program in place, is that it will nurture your potential and/or top talent to further leadership success within the organisation.
An example of this was a program that KPMG implemented. The scope of the project was to expand opportunities for a diverse group of managers. The program was designed to provide employees with an opportunity to engage with a cross section of leaders that they wouldn’t normally see in their day jobs, expanding their knowledge transfer and encouraging leadership goals.
A solid mentoring relationship can be richly rewarding for all parties. Mentors can, among other things, provide exceptional learning experiences for their mentees, and in doing so, expand their mentees' awareness, insight and perspective. Mentoring will empower learning in ways that manuals, intranets and training programs are unable too. It can allow the creative side of the business to grow on a more independent level, leaving the focus more on growth rather than training. The focus shifts for employees that that are part of a mentoring relationship as they begin to value the collaboration and sharing of information, thus leading to a more robust organisation.
The way for a mentoring relationship to work best is when both the mentor and the mentee take an active role in developing the relationship. Whether you need career advice, are struggling with a particular task or keen to get experience in a particular role, you need to ensure that the expectations are set clearly from the start for all parties. As with all relationships – personal and professional alike, the mentoring program will need to be worked at - getting the most out of your relationship will require more than just turning up for the odd meeting and listening half heartily. Effort, determination, understanding and most of all patience, is all part in parcel of a successful mentor-mentee relationship. Go for it!
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