Could a mentoring program help your small business?
A mentor is an experienced employee who provides newer employees with advice and sometimes training. A mentoring relationship can be either formal (established by your business) or informal (your employees seek each other out.)
For a small business, a mentoring program can be very helpful at integrating new hires into your business.
Large companies already understand the benefits of mentoring. According to Toddi Gutner’s article, Finding Anchors in the Storm: Mentors from The Wall Street Journal, “About 70% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs.”
There’s a reason successful companies use mentors. Mentoring can result in better-trained employees and improve employee morale. By encouraging employees to help each other, you also increase their engagement in the workplace. Mentoring decreases the learning curve for new hires and helps them to build constructive relationships at work.
Here’s what you need to know about mentoring as a small business owner.
Benefits of Mentoring
When you consider the benefits of mentoring, it seems like a win-win scenario–something nearly every business could benefit from.
You may be wondering how mentoring could help your business. Here are a just a few of the benefits:
Empowers workers. Employees who participate in mentoring, either as a mentor or a mentee, typically have more job knowledge and are more engaged in their work.
Encourages relationships. Mentoring tends to foster healthy workplace relationships and encourages your employees to get to know each other better.
Grows skills. Employees with mentors have the opportunity to learn new skills and also to see your business from a different perspective.
Builds confidence. Both mentors and mentees feel more confident for having participated in a mentoring program.
Remember, a new hire may be willing to ask questions of a peer that they would be afraid to ask a supervisor.
Even if your business chooses not to support a formal mentoring program, your employees can still be encouraged to help each other out informally.
Building a Mentor-Friendly Workplace
As we mentioned earlier, mentoring can be either formal, or informal. However, it is a good idea to make sure that your workplace is ready for mentoring.
To encourage mentoring in your workplace, you should take the following steps;
Select the right mentors. Mentors should be experienced and successful in their work. They should have a positive attitude. Do not force an employee to become a mentor if they do not want to do it. However, let your workers know that mentoring is a priority within your business.
Mentoring takes time. Encourage opportunities for employees to interact with each other. One way to do this is through employee functions and group activities. If on-the-job training is to be a part of the mentoring program, be sure to allow your mentors enough time to do it.
Respect differences. It’s rare, but some mentoring relationships may not take due to differences in personality. This is perfectly normal. If this happens in your small business, be prepared to reassign mentors as needed.
Acknowledge mentor contributions. Recognize the role that your mentoring employees have played in your business successes with awards or perks. Being chosen as a mentor is an honor. Make sure that your mentors understand this.
Be ready to adjust your mentoring program as the needs of your business and your employees change. Depending on the size of your business, you may want to periodically add new mentors to the program and retire others. Some companies regularly rotate the mentoring function between qualified employees so that same workers are not always on mentoring duty.
Mentoring is just one way to help your employees become more effective at their jobs. You can become more effective at your job as a small business owner or manager by making use of ShiftPlanning employee scheduling software to create employee schedules more quickly. Learn more about how ShiftPlanning can help your business.
Has your small business already made use of a mentor? Share your experiences in a comment.