Mentorship programs created by companies and organizations often have different goals and outcomes, depending on the parameters of the relationship. However, the essential purpose of mentoring stays the same. The business definition of mentoring is an "Employee training system under which a senior or more experienced individual (the mentor) is assigned to act as an advisor, counselor, or guide to a junior or trainee. The mentor is responsible for providing support to, and feedback on, the individual in his or her charge.”
Ultimately, the mentor acts as a role model for the mentee, but the mentoring relationship can be beneficial to both parties involved, as well as for the company. It can help the mentee develop new skills and a larger network. For the mentor it serves as a way to give back and can also be a learning experience. For an organization, mentoring can help mould new hires and instill loyalty in employees, thus reducing the turnover rate. Here are some of the main purposes of a workplace mentoring program for the mentor, mentee and organization.
Develop leadership skills. Being put in the position of a role model can help even the most experienced of employees become better leaders. The responsibility of helping guide someone’s career and goals process puts the more senior employee in a unique position. They will sometimes need to teach, to motivate and to offer feedback. All these skills are at the top of the list when it comes to leadership.
Communication and listening skills. Mentors need to be active and involved listeners as well as strategic communicators. A mentoring program can help employees further sharpen their skills in these areas.
Knowledge. The more experienced employee should have a thorough knowledge of the organization as well as any programs or training that a mentee can access to help them reach their goals. The mentor can impart wisdom developed on the job over time, information and workplace expectations or policies that will help the mentee succeed in the long run.
Learning opportunity. While the mentor is usually in the position of imparting knowledge to the mentee, a mentoring relationship can also help the more experienced employee learn new skills. It’s common that technological advances have been mastered by younger workers. This is an area where the mentee can also become a teacher, guiding the mentor to learn new skills or a new way of doing things.
Giving back. Mentorship provides the opportunity for the mentor to give back to the company by helping train new and upcoming employees. Leveraging their years of experience, knowledge, and wisdom to help the mentee succeed in the organization is a great way for mentors to contribute to the workplace.
Personal satisfaction. Mentoring can help increase the sense of self-worth that a mentor has because they will be able to see how their skills and abilities can help someone else.
Learn the workplace routine. One of the advantages of having a mentor at a new job is that they can help you adapt to the office culture more quickly. Employees who are involved in a mentorship program are more aware of workplace routines, policies, and expectations than those who do not participate. This is an important factor in helping new hires to feel more a part of the organization.
Enhance skill development. Most mentees are looking for someone to help them advance their career prospects. Through advice and guidance, the mentor can help the employee develop their full potential in the workplace.
Networking. A workplace mentoring program is a great way for new hires to boost their networking opportunities. For many new hires, it can take months and sometimes years to get to know key co-workers. Through a mentoring program, a mentee can gain access to important career contacts sooner.
Direction. Most mentoring programs require the mentee to consider their future direction or goals they hope to accomplish through the process. By asking younger workers to consider how they can grow through the experience, a mentoring program gives them more control over the direction of their career. Research has shown that employees who are mentored have a better career track than those who don’t. This includes receiving higher compensation and more promotions as well as feeling better about their professional background and experience.
Problem-solving. A mentor can be a sounding board when the less experienced employee comes up against a situation or problem that they are not familiar with or can’t see a solution too. By partnering a younger employee with a more experienced one, the mentee gets to learn from the mentor’s experience.
Better employee training. When it comes to the onboarding process, job training is often designed to help the new hire learn about their specific role in the company. Through a workplace mentoring program, a more well-rounded training can be done. This type of learning can help the new employee develop good habits.
Positive workplace impact. A mentoring program goes a long way in developing positive connections between co-workers, which will have a positive impact on the rest of the organization. The influence that a mentee can have on those around them can help bring a more positive atmosphere to the workplace.
New skills. A mentor is in a position to identify additional skills that a mentee has that could be an advantage to the company long-term. These include talents and capabilities that may not be an asset to the employee’s current role but will help them succeed in future positions with the company. Mentoring can help workers comprehend the bigger picture of how the organization functions and how their skills may apply to various roles, projects, or departments in the future.
Reputation. An organization who invests in employees through workplace mentoring programs demonstrates that the company is interested in the success of their employees. This promotes a good reputation for the company internally and externally. It can also be important to attracting qualified hires for new openings.
Reduce turnover. Another benefit of a corporate mentorship program is that it cultivates loyalty in those who are involved. As a result, this leads to lower turnover rates.
Enhanced productivity. Employees who develop a mentoring relationship are often more productive in the workplace. A study by the University of Guelph in Canada demonstrated that workplace programs like mentorship can help an employee become more productive at a new company. "Companies benefit from boosting their employees’ well-being. Helping new hires adjust at the start empowers them to achieve their potential later on," one of the professors involved in the research, Jamie Gruman, said about his findings.