“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”
There is no question that mentoring—when an experienced individual assists and guides a less-experienced individual—can positively influence one’s professional and personal growth.
Workplace mentors provide guidance, advice, and support, as well as institutional knowledge and career development. In addition, mentoring helps to bridge the gap between theory and practice. When employees receive education and training within the workplace, mentors can enhance this teaching by adding their unique hands-on experience and knowledge.
“The central premise of mentoring as a form of professional learning stems from the belief that individuals learn best through observing, doing, commenting, and questioning, rather than simply listening,” explains Professor Gill Nicholls, Higher Education Academy.
Nicholls adds, “Mentoring is a powerful tool to help mentors articulate the skills and knowledge they may have, which are frequently tacit. Making explicit what one does and thus allowing someone else to learn from that knowledge is a powerful tool to have…mentoring facilitates the learning of such tools.”
Mentoring in Today’s Workplace
According to Karen Rice, Vice President of Human Resources at Lash Group, the many advances in our digital world have altered the way we interact. Instead of just using phones and face-to-face communication to connect with clients and colleagues, the workplace has shifted to communication via e-mail, text, and social networks.
“Mentoring in the workplace has not been immune to the changes brought on by the advances in technology. Instead, it has evolved and adapted to the new ways of communication,” she explains.
Based on these developments, Rice provides tips for mentoring in today’s business world:
Connections are Improved by Online Media
Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, and Skype offer beneficial ways for people to be heard and ideas to be shared. Webinars and online classes are useful ways to expand skills and knowledge in a particular area. After each class, it is helpful for mentors to provide context to mentees on how the class content can help individuals be more effective within their specific roles.
Mentoring is a Two-Way Street
Successful mentoring relationships are developed when mentors teach mentees, and mentees enlighten mentors. Jointly choose the best way to communicate, set regular meeting times, and leverage online resources to share important ideas.
In-person Connections Do Matter
Advances in technology have made it much easier to communicate, but face-to-face meetings and phone conversations are still essential. Always remember to unplug at mentoring meetings to avoid distractions.
Developing and Retaining Top Talent
In addition to developing one’s workforce and building strong connections, mentoring programs can have a significant impact on an organization’s business goals and help companies strengthen their talent pipeline. In fact, according to the Association for Talent Development, the world’s largest professional membership organization, workplace mentoring is on the rise with more than 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies offering formal, corporate mentorship programs to their employees.
ADT’sreport, Mentoring Matters: Developing Talent With Formal Mentoring Programs, found that the benefits to organizations with formal mentoring programs include higher employee engagement and retention (50 percent), support for the growth of high-potential employees (46 percent), the creation of intra-organizational relationships and collaboration (37 percent), and knowledge management and transfer (37 percent).
These findings clearly prove that mentoring programs are a savvy business investment for every organization, which is why successful companies are implementing mentorship programs.
For example, Caterpillar, one of the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturers, offers a robust mentoring program that aids in professional learning and development. Every new employee at Caterpillar is assigned a mentor for the first three years of employment. The goal is to provide guidance on skill development and corporate culture.
In addition, Caterpillar’s reverse mentoring program allows younger employees to mentor senior employees on new technology and company programs. These programs provide employees with valuable opportunities to gain experience in different fields and connect with department leaders.
“Mentors at Caterpillar provide guidance on almost every aspect of in-house practice, such as career exploration, corporate culture, soft skills development, organizational understanding, internal enterprise awareness, work-life balance, and community knowledge,” explains Jaime Myers, Caterpillar’s Litigation Corporate Counsel.
Adds Tana Utley, Vice President of Caterpillar’s Large Power Systems Division: “Simply engaging purposefully with others in the interest of continuous improvement can spark positive growth—both personal and professional. Caterpillar is a rich source of human connection.”
Mentoring is one of the most valuable and effective relationships within the workplace. Receiving support, guidance, and encouragement from an experienced mentor can provide mentees with numerous personal and professional benefits. And these benefits equate to improved performance in the workplace.
In the words of Denzel Washington, “Show me a successful individual, and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well, I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way: A mentor.”
At Nevada Corporate Headquarters, we are committed to being your partner in professional growth. It is our top priority to provide you with the guidance and resources needed to succeed with your business. NCH is here for you every step of the way. Call us today at 800-508-1729 or start your Nevada LLC online!