HR leaders dream about implementing programs that solve all workplace and workforce issues. While this silver bullet or program-cure-all doesn’t exist, there is one approach that gets closer to that dream scenario than any other - a good mentoring program.
Mentoring is a business practice that almost every HR executive would agree is ‘good’, and yet it is a practice that is too often under-utilised and underinvested in - and at a scarily high cost to companies and HR departments.
That is why I am here to tell you that a good mentoring program is the program you have always dreamed of. That mentoring is one of those very rare people programs that addresses a number of the worries that face an HR leader every single day.
Mentoring addresses employee engagement
Employee engagement is not a vanity metric. It’s a KPI. And it is quickly becoming very damning for most companies, with 13% of employees worldwide identifying as being engaged at work, according to a study conducted by TINYpulse. People feel engaged with their organisation in two main ways - through connections with fellow employees, and through a feeling of reciprocity created by an organisation investing in them - both of which are directly addressed by a good mentoring program.
Mentoring addresses people problems
Employee retention is a convoluted beast, but has a couple of its deepest roots in poor management and a lack of autonomy. How does mentoring address these issues? It addresses poor management by giving an employee an outlet for venting their frustrations, and the advice and support of an objective coach and friend. This objective observer serves as a mitigation tool against unfortunate but often inevitable poor management, which is very damaging - with employees whose hands are ‘regularly tied’ by managers being 28% more likely to think about greener pastures elsewhere.
Mentoring addresses the lack of autonomy inherent in many corporate jobs by empowering people to develop the communication and leadership skills - as well as the confidence - to begin creating their own autonomy. It also gives employees a sense of autonomy over their personal and extracurricular life. By setting goals, achieving tasks, and creating outside projects, a mentee begins to take control of their destiny and forge that sense of autonomy.
Mentoring addresses learning and development
There has never been a time in the history of business where ongoing learning and development are so critical to employee happiness and corporate success. Long gone are the days when Henry Ford could validate learning and applying one specialised skill through the power of an increased salary. While everyone has their price, today’s employees want fulfilment and development - which come from ongoing learning. In the same TINYpulse study, employees with opportunities for professional development were, the report noted, more than 10% more likely to stay with their current employer. With the cost of turnover in the first 12 months of employment alone in Australia estimated at $3.8 billion in lost productivity and $385 million in avoidable recruitment costs - just a 4 or 5% reduction in turnover would recoup massive costs to companies.
Mentoring addresses workplace culture
HR’s role in workplace culture is becoming increasingly important. Culture teams and outings are becoming more frequent in the workplace in a direct response to employees’ desire for fun and inclusive cultures, with employees who give their work culture low marks being nearly 15% more likely to think about a new job than their counterparts. And how exactly does mentoring improve workplace culture? Firstly, by connecting people within an organisation to one another. An organisation is after all a group of individuals - and the more connected individuals are, the more interconnected an organisation will be. It also fosters a culture of recognition and inclusivity, with every individual feeling catered to, cared about, and listened to - the bedrocks of a strong and transparent culture.
So why haven’t more companies implemented mentoring programs? Well, the answer is that many of them have, with an example being that 71% of Fortune 500 companies have some type of corporate mentorship program.
So why aren’t all of these organisations reaping the aforementioned rewards of mentoring programs?
The answer lies in the quality and quantity of the mentoring program. In order to reap the potential rewards of a mentoring program, you have to invest in it. Mentoring is not a passive endeavour on the part of the organisation, program coordinator, or mentee and mentor. It must be believed in, encouraged, and normalised as a business practice.
Mentoring software is a great way to ensure the quantity and quality of mentoring is high. It allows companies to scale their mentoring programs with little to no increase in effort; provides mentors and mentees with the support and resources they need to be effective; and reports on campaign outcomes providing the best chance of improvement, engagement, and success.
If you are dreaming about improving employee engagement, increasing retention and improving your culture, start with a mentoring program.
It might just end up being the program you have always dreamed of.
If you are dreaming of that special program, visit: mentorloop.com
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