Are you looking for a way to increase employee loyalty, develop your team’s skills and create bonds between workers? You can accomplish all of these goals and more by creating an employee mentoring program.
Mentoring creates a teaching/counseling relationship where one employee (the mentor) mentors another (the mentee) to help him or her develop professionally. Mentoring is used by many big corporations to develop leadership within the company, but can also be used more informally by small businesses to achieve the same goal. Both the mentor and the mentee benefit—mentees learn and get better at their jobs, and mentors feel valued and respected for passing on their knowledge.
So how can you get started? Follow these five steps.
- Identify mentors and mentees. Not everyone on your team needs a mentor. It is typically used for high-potential employees who you want to develop further. Assess who has the potential to be a manager or leader, and who could help them get to that point. Employee reviews and discussions with employees can be a good way to identify people who have mentor/mentee potential.
- Make it worth the mentor’s while. Mentoring takes time, so make sure the mentor receives more than just intangible benefits from the relationship. Some type of performance bonus might be appropriate, or you could offer rewards such as comp time off or even a salary increase.
- Set goals. You, the mentee and the mentor should work together to set goals for the mentee. Once you’ve identified general goals, let the mentor develop more specific intermediate goals and timelines.
- Plan ground rules. It’s easy for a mentoring program to drop by the wayside when people get busy, so develop a plan for how often mentors and mentees will meet and for how long. For instance, maybe they’ll meet once a month for an hour, but check in quickly every week to see how goals are progressing, or send regular emails. Holding mentees accountable is important to making a mentorship program succeed.
- Be a mentor yourself. Yes, you’re swamped, but if you want to really develop your next in command, make time to be a mentor yourself. It’s a great way to ensure your team develops to your satisfaction…plus, you’ll learn from the experience yourself.