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:
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:
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.