The uncertain and constantly changing nature of the world economy has posed significant challenges for small and large businesses in all industries. Many employees are looking for support and direction, but many businesses aren’t giving it to them. The best way to assist them is through a mentoring program. Such programs can go a long ways towards helping workers navigate through challenging times, but such programs must be created and implemented correctly. Below are some best practices for achieving this.
What Is Mentoring?
Mentoring is a type of relationship which is developmental, where learning will occur for a diverse range of subjects. The concept has become more poignant in today’s world, as a college education is no longer enough to sustain employee for life. Changes in technology, business and the economy are happening so fast that companies and employees that want to maintain an edge must continue learning on the job. Mentoring should not be confused with supervision; mentoring involves helping employees develop new skills and specialties.
Identify Good Candidates For Mentoring
A good mentor can be difficult to find. While many people automatically assume that senior managers are a natural fit for the position, this isn’t necessarily the case. A good mentor is someone who is patient, a good teacher, caring, knowledgeable and generous with their time. It is a position that you will want to conduct interviews for to identify the best candidates.
Decide Who Will Act As The Protégés
These are the individuals who will receive the mentoring. Just as some senior managers are not cut out to be mentors, some employees aren’t a good fit for mentoring. Some of the traits that you will want to look for in candidates include reliability, maturity, a willingness to learn, the ability to make good decisions, and good team skills.
Implementing The Mentoring Program
When the program is implemented training should be included for mentors and their protégés. Both sides need to understand the model for learning and how to benefit from it most effectively. A good mentoring program should not guarantee a raise, promotion or other perks. Achieving these things is based on the ability of the employee to use the knowledge they learned from the program, rather than being accept into it.
The mentors must be adept at receiving feedback as well as giving it. They should know different career alternatives, how to be patient with protégés and adapt to their various learning styles and preferences. Getting mentors acclimated to the program can be tough at first, but once they are, the results will be well worth the effort. An assessment of the protégé’s performance and growth should be held periodically, so that their development can be measured. For those who are not growing as fast as desired, additional training should be provided. The success of such programs will ultimately depend on how they are structured and the commitment of those who manage them.