As we work with clients to develop leadership training, increase employee retention or morale, one of the pieces most often missing from organizations is a mentorship program. Newer employees are seeking meaningful relationships to develop their careers and help navigate their future.
Recently, at a roundtable event, the traits that defined a good mentor were discussed and a few common themes were identified.
- Millennials are changing the face of the workplace – including mentoring concepts. They demand more frequent feedback. Rather than a more formal review process, weekly updates, project reviews and instant feedback on activities is a way to meet their needs and provide mentoring in a new way.
- A mentor provides a safe place for open communication. It isn’t your “boss,” or even in the same department or line of business you are in, it’s simply someone that is further along in their career or life. They are willing to invest in the relationship and provide unbiased advice.
- Employees aren’t limited to a single mentor. Many have multiple mentors for different facets of their lives. Some just a year or two further in their careers and some with 15 years of experience. Personal mentors may be parents, volunteers or role models.
- A mentor needs to be someone you are comfortable with and meets your specific needs. It is difficult to be “assigned,” but rarely will you find that someone will refuse to help, unless they simply don’t feel they will be a good fit.
Mentorship programs often enhance loyalty, retention and satisfaction. Employees feel the organization and leadership is investing in them. They then form deeper relationships across the organization. Regardless of where you are in your career, most people can look back to those individuals that impacted their lives. Offering a hand up and mentoring the next generation is a tribute to those that helped you.