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Mentorship

6 ways to encourage mentoring at work

Every employee wants mentors when you ask them, but sometimes getting people to actually start forming meaningful mentoring relationships can be tough. Here are six ways to encourage employees to build mentoring relationships.

Muinat Zubair

May 16, 2022

Mentoring is a sure way to accelerate employee development. 

Big and small companies use mentoring to help their employees realize their potential by pairing them with experienced professionals. According to a survey by the Association of Talent Development, mentoring is increasing with 71% of Fortune 500 companies adopting formal mentorship programs for their employees. 

More companies are relying on formal mentorship to engage, develop, and keep top talent in the workplace. 

As an HR manager who wants to increase job satisfaction and employee retention, it might be hard to convince employees to see the benefits of being mentors and mentees. 

This article will give you actionable tips to encourage employees to mentor one another. We won’t leave you with just that. We will also highlight the best way to start a formal mentoring program to match mentors and mentees and manage the burdensome admin work.

What does it mean to have mentors in the workplace?

Organizations are constantly looking for methods to develop and keep their best talent. Similarly, employees are looking for fulfillment and satisfaction from their work. Mentoring is thus a merging of both desires. 

Mentoring can be a workplace culture where employees are encouraged to seek ‌mentoring relationships. It can also be a practice where a company runs several programs designed to help employees grow. Whichever way the organization decides to pursue, it can take the following forms:

  • Diversity programs
  • Career development programs
  • Onboarding programs
  • Learning and development programs

Let’s look at each in some detail.

Diversity programs with mentorship

A report by McKinsey & Company shows that organizations with different ethnic groups and gender are 35% and 15% respectively more likely to achieve higher financial returns than normal. 

Diverse mentoring programs help organizations nurture and keep diverse talent. It also creates a healthy community of diverse talent.

Diversity programs create an environment where employees can share ideas, knowledge, and opinions. It creates a level playing ground built on trust, a sense of belonging, support, and encouragement. Employees can raise concerns, overcome challenges, and get solutions to their problems. 

All these inspire the employees to perform to the best of their ability and access to equal opportunities. 

Career development programs

Mentoring for career development seems to be the most common mentoring program in the workplace. 

It is important that the organization stays in tune with the career development needs of the employees to keep and grow future leaders. Mentoring helps employees develop their career and leadership skills while gaining other skills relevant to the organization. 

If the company encourages a mentoring culture, employees can play an active role in spreading knowledge and best practices in the workplace. Establishing a formal mentoring program is a way of showing employees ‌you are interested in their career growth. 

The collaborative nature of mentorship nurtures interpersonal skills and helps employees build strong friendships that increase job satisfaction and retention. 

Onboarding programs

Companies pair onboarding programs with mentorship to get a newcomer acquainted with the organization faster. They pair a new employee with an experienced employee. It could be a one-on-one mentoring or group setting. The senior member of the company serves as the mentor, providing mentees with information on the company, technical skills, workplace culture, etc.

Onboarding programs with a mentorship twist strengthen the bond between employees through the knowledge-sharing process. It also helps the mentee gain insight into the workings of the company without going through the long process of learning on his own. 

Learning and development or training programs

Incorporating mentorship into your Learning & Development (L&D) or training program gives it life. Most L&D or training programs are just about taking courses to close the skill gap. They do not include the human connection where employees are accountable and actually benefit from the process. 

Adopting an L& D process that includes mentorship helps build a connection among employees. 

You can connect people with similar learning goals to a mentor who monitors their progress and provides valuable advice to them. 

It is also a way for senior executives to share their experience and expertise with junior employees and form growth-focused relationships. These kinds of relationships makes the L&D process more effective.   

Isn’t informal mentoring enough?

You most likely have an informal mentoring program in your workplace already. However, ‌make it fair so that all employees have a shot at being mentored. 

Informal mentoring is good, but a formal mentoring program takes it to the next level because it has more structure and clearer objectives. 

Results from formal mentorship are also measurable if you use a mentoring software like Together.

6 ways to promote more mentoring in your workplace

Everyone knows how beneficial mentoring is, but people are busy. 

Mentoring can take a back seat or be forgotten altogether in employees’ day-to-day. This is not to say employees don’t value mentoring. However, they might need some encouragement to get started and keep the program going.  

Below are six ways you can encourage mentoring at work:

1. Promote the benefits of mentoring across the organization

It's up to the HR manager or admin to set clear expectations or what mentoring will do for employees. For instance, a mentoring program could be for leadership development, career development or to encourage diversity. 

You could invite leaders in the company to speak about the benefits employees would get from the program. Also, you can appoint key advocates that speak about the program, spreading the news among their peers.

2. Spotlight mentoring relationships in the company

Everyone loves to achieve recognition for the work they are doing. You can offer incentives in the form of gift cards, award lunches, spotlight in the next company internal newsletter or certificate of completion to participants in the mentoring program. 

Highlight their achievements in whatever way you deem fit, just make sure to be creative about it. The goal is to get more employees interested and signing up for the program. 

3. Equip natural leaders with the tools to mentor others

Some participants of the mentoring program might have natural instincts or previous mentoring experience that make them perform better. This is not applicable to everyone, some might need some form of training or resources to amplify their leadership skills. 

It is important that you arm mentors with the tools and resources they need to excel in their roles. By organizing personalized training for mentors, you are setting them up for success in the mentoring program. 

4. Host mentoring groups to discuss specific topics

If employees show interest in learning a particular skill, host mentoring groups to discuss the topic. 

For example, If employees want to learn how to negotiate a salary increase, host a mentoring group where an expert on the topic can coach others in that skill. This shows that you are keen on employee growth and are not treating mentoring like the traditional training program. 

5. Encourage peer mentoring activities

Peer mentoring activities promote knowledge sharing across departments and thus expands the organizational pool of knowledge. 

It focuses on connecting peers who are at similar levels within the company or on their career path. They can use a mentoring software to coach each other, share feedback and perspectives without hassle.  

6. Use Together’s free mentor matching tool

With Together’s free mentor matching tool, you can allow mentees choose their mentors or match them with the aid of the intelligent algorithm. 

Quickly build a mentoring program, invite employees to be mentors and mentees and begin matching them using our pairing algorithm which suggests relevant pairings based on goals and mutual interests. 

Every company should strive to build a mentoring culture

Mentoring isn’t like the regular training that requires mandatory participation from employees in the workplace. 

People need to feel the need to actively participate in mentoring for it to be a success. Both mentors and mentees need to understand its importance and the benefits they will get in the long run.

Mentorship in the workplace not only helps employees attain career success, but it also helps the company retain their best talent and increase employee job satisfaction. 

Company leaders can build a mentorship program using Together’s mentoring platform that makes organizing a mentorship program super easy.

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