How to mentor staff
Mentoring staff can have multiple benefits, find out how to run a mentoring programme and the benefits it brings.
A workplace mentoring programme for your staff can serve the entire lifecycle of an employee. For example: mentoring aspiring talent can help with the organisations succession plan; or situational mentoring can help plan for specific projects. However, the most important stage of mentoring is in its initiation.
Start from Day 1
Appointing a mentor to your new member of staff is an integral part of their successful onboarding and probation. It will help them settle in and adapt into their new role and your organisation's culture, as well as giving them someone other than their line manager to go to with any questions. Furthermore, it is a valuable process for any organisation in terms of effectively transferring valuable competencies and expanding the skills base to make teams stronger.
Whether or not your organisation has a formal mentoring programme, mentoring should be structured and professional at all times. The mentor should be outside of the line-manager relationship; regular meetings should be arranged, ideally away from the mentee's normal working environment; and objectives should be set.
Benefits of mentoring your staff
The benefits of mentoring can be seen in many ways:
The mentor will help your new staff member get up to speed quickly with the day-to-day workings of the role so they can begin to contribute to the organisation's objectives – rather than waiting for their weekly or fortnightly meetings with a manager in order to work something out.
An objective, yet valuable viewpoint
Having a mentor from outside the department or direct management chain will help your member of staff gain a sense of perspective, and be an objective ear to any issues that may arise. Sitting outside the employee's team environment will also mean the mentor can give impartial advice and a more holistic view of any situation – another way of looking at things that might not be as visible on the inside.
Your new staff member will feel more valued as an employee, knowing that their basic pastoral needs are being looked after and that they can start contributing right away. It also helps towards the motivating your staff in the longer term. Feeling welcome and quickly gaining job satisfaction will contribute to a greater drive to do well, overall productivity and loyalty to the organisation.
Benefits all parties
Mentoring a new member of staff can be excellent experience for a more knowledgeable peer to gain management acumen and is recognised as a top learning and development tool by employees and employers alike. The qualities essential for any good mentor include: the desire to help, the desire for personal growth, approachability, experience and confidence. Having a mentoring programme also increases employee engagement in an organisation.
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