Organization mentoring: how to organize and what to consider

The mentoring system in organizations often gives the fastest growth for its employees. Mentors reduce turnover of staff by up to 10% and training costs by up to 15%, according to the study.

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Why mentoring is needed

Mentoring in the organization is aimed at training, developing and creating a skilled workforce, transferring the experience and values ​ ​ of the company from more experienced employees to new team members. The mentor provides support, advice and guidance, and the ward assumes the role of the student.

Do not confuse on-the-job training and mentoring. The first is usually carried out in accordance with a predetermined curriculum, the second is a more individualized activity that is managed by the ward and focuses on his main needs. The role of the mentor may be to serve as a “role model,” whereas the role of the teacher is usually to provide specific course content without “partnering” with the student.

Types of mentoring

Mentoring can be divided into 4 key types: traditional, reverse, group and electronic (virtual) one. Let’s take a closer look at them.

  • Traditional mentoring

In this case, the role of a mentor is taken by an experienced company specialist – a leader or senior colleague. He guides the newcomer on his professional path, gives advice, helps to cope with difficult work situations and so on.

  • Reverse mentoring

Reverse mentoring allows young professionals to share their knowledge with more experienced workers. Such employees can act as mentors for top managers on the use of new technologies. Reverse mentoring not only helps seniors gain new skills, but also reinforces a sense of belonging by allowing junior and mid-level employees to influence top managers.

  • Group mentoring

In this case, one person takes on the role of mentor for several wards at the same time. Group mentoring allows busier leaders to support multiple people at once without overloading themselves with new responsibilities. It is also an effective solution when there are few mentors in the organization.

  • E-mentoring

Virtual mentoring takes place 100% online. It has become more popular with the advent of remote and hybrid work. High flexibility makes it an effective solution for creating additional mentoring opportunities and expanding employee networks. By addressing it, organizations can connect people with company leaders, even if they are outside their geographic region. For example, ensure the transfer of experience from the middle manager in the back office to the head of the head office through virtual meetings.

Mentoring benefits for mentors and wards

Mentoring is the exchange of ideas, knowledge and skills from mentor to ward. Meanwhile, mentors also receive a number of benefits that help them develop on professional fronts. In addition to benefiting personally from sharing knowledge and skills with students, mentors can benefit from:

  • Extension of skill set through continuous learning and collaboration, active listening skills.
  • Understanding human personality types through interaction.
  • The opportunity to become a specialized expert.
  • Achieving leadership goals and prospects.

A structured mentoring program is certainly useful for wards. This helps close gaps between employee training and development processes and:

  • Develop professional, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills and competencies.
  • Build or improve relationships with colleagues and managers.
  • Take an active part in projects.
  • Develop leadership skills.
  • Ensure easier transition from middle management to senior management positions.

For the company as a whole, mentoring also brings a number of benefits:

  • Building a workforce aligned with the organization’s vision and mission.
  • Attracting suitable talent pool and developing strategies to grow and develop existing employees.
  • Reduced turnover of staff due to onboarding, reduced losses due to the departure of potential employees.
  • Reducing the risk of making critical mistakes that could lead to loss of income.

Organization of mentorship in the company

The formation of a mentoring program in each company looks different. However, there are several universal rules that will help any organization:

  • Define mentorship program objectives

It can be about improving performance, expanding leadership skills or preparing team members for the position of manager and taking on more responsibilities and tasks. Whatever the desired result, it should be reflected in the nuances of the program.

  • Select a mentor and ward

Candidate selection is a critical step in a mentoring program and requires a thorough understanding of students’ professional responsibilities and finding the right mentor to achieve learning goals. Proper conformity leads to building a strong relationship between mentor and ward.

  • Provide mentoring training

Before starting a mentoring program, it is important to train mentors and explain desired learning outcomes at the end of the program. Provide them with tools and help them choose the approach best suited for program success.

  • Communicate expectations

Without an understanding of student expectations, a successful mentoring program is impossible. This can be achieved by sending out questionnaires, surveys and face-to-face interviews.

  • Measure results

Measuring the impact of mentoring in the workplace involves revising the goals set before the program is implemented. Look at sales statistics, employee engagement and results, improving their skill set to measure performance.

Also remember the role of HR in organizing this process. For example, at REC’s GROUP, we regularly organize events for people to interact. On Fridays, we write pictures, go to watch movies, hold Just Dance and other team activities. This is necessary to create a relaxed atmosphere conducive to acquaintances, conversations, building healthy communication between employees.

Mentoring technologies and tools

Today, to improve the mentoring process, you can and should use the tools of modern technology. Specifically, we apply TRAKERS – this is a bot where people write reports about the working day, reflect, talk about the main successes, what could have been done better, and then our internal corporate bot shares this with colleagues. A person receives someone’s report, writes feedback to him.

There are cases where people found themselves a conditional mentor: after reading his report once, they began to follow him in our bot, for his successes and move in his direction. Plus, a person can write in feedback that can be improved. This is a great tool for organizing the mentoring process in the company. In addition, within our company there is a department engaged in management training within the team. With its help, we train SEO specialists.

You can also use the Chronus program – this is software for evaluating all participants using a unique internal system. The platform allows you to select automatically the most suitable questionnaires for each other to create pairs of mentors and wards.

Other tools will come in handy:

  • Communications

You may already have your favorite communication tools in your company, such as Zoom, Loom, Notion, Teams, and even Skype. Standardizing the tools used will help mentoring run more smoothly.

  • Time management tools

Free tools like Google’s “Calendar” can help plan appointments.

  • Organizational tools

You can simply use a spreadsheet as your preferred tool when starting your program. The Trello platform can also be used as part of this process.

  • Feedback tools

Survey Monkey, Slack and Evernote may be useful for feedback.

Mentoring Challenges

Difficulties in organizing mentoring also arise, for example, in the selection of mentors and wards. Sometimes companies do not have enough free experienced employees – here you can just turn to group mentoring. When workers are paired up, you may have to face conflicting personalities or defaults from one of them.

To select mentors and wards effectively, you should take into account the goals of your program, the goals of the ward, the experience and skills of mentors. Understanding these key elements, as well as setting effective boundaries for mentoring, will go a long way in finding optimal matches, and you can minimize the amount of conflict between mentors and wards.

Also, any changes can be scary, and most often employees resist going in a new direction. Therefore, it is very likely that you will encounter some dissatisfaction when starting a mentoring program. However, with any new initiative in your business, it is important to think about how you will track its success and value. An ineffective evaluation of a program means you can’t accurately track its effectiveness. If you don’t know what effect it has on members or your business as a whole, you won’t be able to make improvements or make any judgments about the program at all.

To cope with resistance to change, involve your employees as much as possible in the process. Consult with them about your plans and make sure they respond. Second, make sure employees see that management supports the mentoring program. When leaders are really interested in these initiatives, employees are more likely to see value in them.

Mentoring is a complex but necessary process in a company. Organizations will face a number of difficulties in introducing a new initiative – this is inevitable, but timely analysis, planning and use of suitable tools will minimize possible errors.

In the future, the very phenomenon of mentoring will develop, new tools will appear that will solve the key problems of this process more effectively. The development of the HR structure also contributes to a more successful selection of pairs between colleagues for training. And today the main trend can be traced precisely in virtual mentoring, because it is convenient, simple and effective.

By Artemy Kushnarev, founder of REC’s GROUP

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