Across generations and industries, mentorship has made a lifelong impact on many individuals, including business leaders. While mentor relationships often develop organically, many companies may consider implementing structured, intentional mentorship programs as part of their training and development strategy.
Mentorship programs can have a positive effect on a company in a myriad of ways, including employee growth, opportunities for professional development and enhanced engagement. Below are four benefits that can result from a structured mentorship program.
1. Improve performance
In addition to helping guide new hires through basic company guidelines, a structured mentorship program can lead to improved performance for both employees and employers. This, in part, may be attributed to the increased feedback and accountability a mentor can provide. While many companies conduct annual performance reviews, some employees may prefer constructive feedback throughout the year—and mentors can help fill that need by providing performance assessments on a regular basis. This can help organizations track an individual’s personal and professional goals on an ongoing basis and provide the opportunity to identify and share areas for improvement sooner.
2. Bridge generational divides
While some may think of the traditional mentor as a senior colleague, the outlooks and opinions of new or younger team members can also benefit an organization and its staff. As the number of generations within the workforce continues to increase, business leaders may consider launching a “reverse mentoring” program to allow younger workers the opportunity to work with senior employees in specific areas of expertise.
This approach can help uncover fresh perspectives in the workplace, as each generation tends to bring varying skill sets to the business. This may include a keen understanding of new technology, a different way of approaching issues, or a better understanding of customers across various generations.
3. Provide mutual benefits
It can be natural to assume that mentees benefit more from mentoring relationships than their mentors, but in many cases, mentors may experience as much fulfillment in fostering the growth of another employee as the mentee receiving the support. Placing high-performing employees in mentor roles can help them hone their leadership, management, and coaching skills—and may provide a useful training ground for a more official leadership role in the future.
4. Value at little or no cost
While training programs focused on various skills are important, they may be cost prohibitive at times. A mentorship program, on the other hand, can provide immeasurable value to employees and the organization, often at little to no cost to the business. Mentorship programs can also allow the opportunity for new hires to grow in their role by learning from team members who understand the organization and its leadership firsthand.
When companies, as well as company leaders such as the CEO, take the time to establish, implement and encourage a mentorship program, it can make a difference in company culture, business results, and the daily experiences of individual employees.