Consider Employee Training/Mentoring Programs

Most businesses recognize the value of having well-trained and motivated employees. Fewer realize that employee mentoring programs are an excellent way to develop a better qualified staff, while also gaining other important benefits. Among these benefits are:

  • Building skills in employees while fostering camaraderie
  • Promoting the sharing of ideas, knowledge and best practices
  • Instilling employee loyalty, reducing turnover/increasing retention
  • Increasing employee productivity and contribution to the business
  • Establishing the company as an employer of choice – one which gives employees the training and opportunities to advance in their careers and increase their earning potential

The best mentoring programs have certain common characteristics.  They have enthusiastic and committed mentors. These mentors are individuals who are selected based on their own high performance, their ability to communicate and motivate effectively, their leadership qualities and their willingness to help others develop and succeed.

In addition to selecting appropriate mentors, the mentor program should include direct involvement by the company’s upper management. Top executives should be involved in establishing goals for the mentor program, specific mentor and mentee responsibilities, and timelines for mentoring activities. They should also have direct input into the training curriculum.

Regarding the actual training curriculum, a mentoring program must focus on the goals of the business, responding to needs such as:

  • What additional skills are needed in our workforce?
  • What positions are we looking to create/fill?
  • How can we help employees better understand our company’s mission, vision and core values?
  • How can the mentoring program be used to help our company gain and retain a competitive edge?

Mentors must be trained appropriately before a mentoring program can be launched. In doing so, a company should focus on the above questions and the mentors’ role in helping address the company’s needs. Mentor training should also encompass how to achieve optimum communication, the importance of written goals for their mentees, how progress should be documented and reported, and how to address obstacles in the mentoring process.

Many business and trade associations can recommend mentoring and training resources to help businesses establish their mentoring programs.

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On August 9th, 2011, posted in: Help For Human Resources, Small Business Tips by
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