Co-written with A. Crosser
Q: What increases employees’ education and learning; saves company high turnover costs; develops leadership and management skills; and saves people time and money to focus on the big priorities?
A: Workplace Mentoring
When examining companies and how they became remarkably successful, one trait which stands above many others: successful companies have excellent leaders, and with excellent leaders come excellent employees. Leadership and guidance is very important to success in nearly every field, and workplace mentoring is one way to provide personalized leadership for both new and tenured employees. Skills-based Mentoring is part of on boarding to teach new executives the company ropes and to help them excel and grow as they continue their position.
Mentoring programs are becoming increasingly popular in workplaces, as they help in reducing turnover, promoting growth, and overall help employees adjust to new positions as well as become prepared to move up in the company. We shared earlier that over 79% of Millennials see mentoring as crucial to their career success. According to Chronus Corporation, over 71 percent of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs, showing that mentoring programs are becoming a standard in many workplaces. This begs the question, why are so many successful businesses incorporating mentoring programs, and what benefits do mentoring programs offer?
- Education and Learning
There is no debate that educated, well-trained employees produce better results in the workplace than employees who lack knowledge and training. Nearly 80 percent of all learning is considered to be informal, meaning that it is not done by reading or taking classes, but rather by learning on the job and from others. By introducing mentoring programs, businesses can ensure that their employees are able to complete their work with knowledge of the field and their position. Mentors will elevate and escalate “knowledge transfer,” which is useful in shortening a learning curve in the workplace, meaning that companies can have highly-productive employees in a much shorter period of time then they would have had mentors not been implemented.
- Reducing Turnover Rates
One of the main benefits of mentoring programs is that mentors can play a major role in reducing the turnover of employees, meaning that the company will not have to invest in training new employees as often as they would with a higher turnover. Diversity & Inclusion leader Dresdene Flynn-White shared with us that the loss of one good employee costs on average a years salary. By providing personalized advice to a mentee, a mentor can help to ensure that employees will work through any frustrations or concerns they may have, help them build the skills they need for success, encouraging them to stay with the company and grow there for a longer period of time. By keeping employee turnover rates low, companies will continually have experienced personnel, rather than the burden of constantly training new employees to replace those who left.
- Development of Leadership and Management Skills
Having employees who are ready to step into management positions in the business with minimal training is highly valuable, as it reduces the need for external hiring, ultimately saving the company time and money. By implementing a mentoring initiative, mentors can assist in teaching leadership skills to employees showing potential for future leadership positions. In addition, mentors reduce turnover rates, meaning that providing mentors for high potential employees will improve the chances of them staying with the company long enough to progress into a leadership position, reducing the need for outside hires.
- Time Savings and Focus
Implementing mentorship strategies is an excellent way to save time in the workplace. By implementing mentors, employees with questions or concerns can often work with the mentor on a resolution or answer, reducing the time needed to get tasks finished, which overall improves productivity. Mentors also reduce the formal training necessary for new employees; by providing new employees with a ‘project-based’ mentor, they can learn on the job, rather than in a training room. Managers and bosses will can therefore spend more time working on tasks more imperative to the success of the company, making mentoring a win-win for the employees and the company leaders alike.
So bottom line, mentoring can be a WIN/WIN/WIN (for the company, the mentor, and the mentee) but it has to be imbedded formally into the culture of the company. A need to have, not a nice to have. Additionally, recognizing & valuing employees who take time to mentor and those who lead the initiatives needs to be on every HR and team leader’s priority list.
Julie Kantor is the CEO of Twomentor, LLC a management consulting firm that provides mentor training, strategy and global speaking to elevate women and millennials in STEM.