To create a vital and healthy WorkClimate, people must experience a workplace where continuous learning and development is valued, encouraged and most importantly, actualized in everyday worklife. This month we highlight the power of Mentoring and the many benefits this honored practice brings to both mentors and mentees and the organizations in which they work.
Mentoring is gaining popularity again, and while the premise remains essentially the same, it's different. What's changed? The most profound change is that employees at all levels are encouraged to get mentors - and the trend is to find multiple mentors. You can't count on just one person to guide your career. We all need to tap into diverse resources.
Mentoring Brings Buckets of Benefits
At its core, mentoring is a relationship in which one person, the mentor, facilitates the professional development of another, the "mentee." Why do companies encourage it? Because it works. The numbers don't lie.
- 15-30% retention increase on average.
- 75% of executives point to it as a contributor to their promotions (ASTD).
- It promotes development in diverse areas: career, leadership, technical, and life effectiveness.
- It results in increased job satisfaction for both mentor and mentee.
Organizations promote benefits to mentors, as well. They can expect to get:
- Reengaged as they translate values, experiences and strategies into productive actions;
- Satisfaction from developing others; and
- Grateful, appreciative mentees who expand mentors' points of view by helping them see things from different perspectives.
For the mentee, there are obvious benefits:
- Expanded personal network;
- A sounding board for testing ideas and plans;
- Positive and constructive feedback on professional and personal development;
- Increased self-awareness and self-discipline; and
- Accelerated development and growth.
Engagement Enriched within Budget
Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, who leads KPMG's diversity and corporate social responsibility strategy, believes that most successful people were impacted by a mentor. Her mentoring equation is fairly simple: E + A = I + R. In other words, engagement and accountability equals impact and results. Given the current emphasis on employee engagement, mentoring is an inexpensive development option. It takes time and commitment, not dollars.
The good news is that even if your company doesn't have a formal mentoring program, you can reach out on your own. Be clear about your needs and expectations so potential mentors know how much of a commitment they're making.
Setting the Stage and Preparing to Mentor
Though a mentor may be a peer, most often a mentor is a person at least one level higher in the organization who is not within the mentee's direct supervisory line of management. A mentor-mentee relationship focuses on developing the mentee professionally and personally. As such, the mentor does not evaluate the mentee with respect to his or her current job and does not provide input about salary increases and promotions. This creates a safe learning environment, where the mentee feels free to discuss issues openly and honestly, without worrying about negative consequences on the job.
Mentoring is one-to-one exploration of careers, possibilities and challenges. It's about relationship-building and trust. It's less about giving advice and more about guiding people through their decision making process. It's about sharing resources and networks, creating a safe learning environment for taking risks, and challenging mentees to move beyond their comfort zone.
The Reward is in Unleashing the Potential of Others
Does mentoring pique your interest? Are you willing to share your skills, knowledge and expertise? Are you willing to take a personal interest in others and provide candid feedback? If so, mentoring may be perfect for you. You'll find it's an opportunity to "give back," help an "up and comer" navigate organizational whitewater, and reenergize your own career as well. Every seasoned mentor knows that there's nothing quite as rewarding as helping people develop and maximize their potential.