Setting up a mentoring programme in a business can be one of the most economical investments you can make. For almost no extra cost the returns from mentoring can be enormous. Here are four ways that mentoring can boost both your profit and improve the work environment for your business.
Conserving of Experience
One of the biggest wastes in business is when an employee quits or retires and takes his experience with him. Good mentoring includes the passing on of the benefits of the years of experience. With a mentor, it becomes less necessary for the younger worker to “reinvent the wheel” each time they run into something new or have a problem to solve. Trial and error can be a painful, time-consuming and, sometimes, expensive way to learn. A mentor’s experience can cut out some of the trial and error for the worker. An employer might think of it this way: a more mature worker has learned on the company time. In a sense, what he has to offer someone he is mentoring belongs to the company anyway. Mentoring then becomes a matter of handing down tools that are already available in the company. It conserves experience within the company. Even when the mentor leaves, the skill and knowledge remains.
When we think of traditional training, it’s usually a “one size fits all” effort. There is an outline and a fixed objective. It doesn’t matter if the person in training already owns some or all the information and skills. They have to sit through the whole training seminar anyway. With mentoring, the training is swifter and more potent. A mentoring programme recognises and builds on what the employee already knows. It can provide a fast-track to a higher competency for the new employee and get them working more effectively sooner. Mentoring can tap into the employees’ skills and interest in a way that traditional training cannot. Beyond a doubt, the classroom is a useful part of any training programme. However, it is no replacement for one-on-one mentoring in real-time using real workplace issues when it’s available.
Investing in Retention
Replacing old employees and training new employees is expensive and time-consuming. Companies in many studies have found that mentoring programmes result in hanging on to trained employees longer. There are several reasons for this. Mentoring helps people feel like an important part of the business enterprise. Mentoring also encourages camaraderie. Loyalty is a by-product of a staff that cares for one another. This also raises morale. People feel important and valued when they receive the attention and the sense of belonging that a mentoring experience can provide. All of these qualities bring about a sense of solidarity and a wish to remain involved.
Investing in Leaders
A good mentoring programme takes the top performers and nurtures them to become even better performers and leaders among the employees. The company that has a mentoring programme is deliberately setting up a new generation of leaders. Some have said that a business is only as good as the people running it. A mentoring program assures the quality of leadership is, if not improved, at least preserved. A purposeful learning collaboration between the more experienced worker and the less experienced worker insures that quality leadership is not only passed on but that it filters down. When each employee takes on such responsibility, a business flourishes.