How do you retain and prepare your best talent to lead? Mentoring programs are one of the most effective tools in achieving business results. The authors of the book, War on Talent reported, "Of those who have had a highly helpful mentoring experience, 95 percent indicated it motivated them to do their very best, 88 percent said it made them less likely to leave their company, and 97 percent said it contributed to their success at the company."
Many organizations have discovered providing a mentor for high performing employees not only helps them settle into their job and company environment, but also contributes to a lower employee turnover rate and greater job satisfaction.
A mentor is essentially someone who serves as a counselor or guide. Being asked to serve as a mentor is an honor. It indicates the company has faith in the person's abilities and trusts them to have a positive impact on the situation. The use of a mentor may be an informal, short-term situation or a more formal, long-term assignment.
In an informal mentoring program, the mentor usually helps the mentee for a limited period of time. Advice from the mentor may include the most basic of information about everyday routines including tips about "do's and don'ts" not found in the employee manual to helping the employee learn job responsibilities and prepare them for future roles in the organization. A mentor who is available to answer questions and provide leadership development also saves time for the supervisor or manager. In addition, mentees often feel more comfortable asking questions of their mentor than their supervisor.
In a program of this type, mentors often are volunteers. Forcing someone who does not want to serve as a mentor to do so can quickly create problems. Obviously, someone with a negative attitude, who might encourage a new employee to gripe and complain, should not serve as a mentor.
A more formal version of a corporate mentoring program occurs when an organization appoints a senior manager with extensive knowledge and experience to serve as a mentor to a professional the company feels has excellent potential for growth. The mentor's role usually lasts for an extended period of time.
Effective mentoring programs must have senior level support from the beginning, otherwise it will fail to get the attention and support it needs to become part of the organization's culture. Experience shows the most effective mentoring programs are run by senior level executives, not just the human resources department.
Whether informal or formal, both parties need to understand the parameters. These may be more important in a long-term, formal mentoring situation, but can also influence the success of short-term, informal mentoring.
Greg Smith's cutting-edge keynotes, consulting, and training programs have helped businesses reduce turnover, increase sales, hire better people and deliver better customer service. As president of Chart Your Course International he has implemented professional development programs for hundreds of organizations globally. He has authored nine informative books including Fired Up! Leading Your Organizational to Achieve Exceptional Results. For more information, visit ChartCourse.com or call 770- 860-9464.
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