Mentor At Work!
How does having mentors transform your organizational climate and increase engagement from employees?
The concept of mentoring can be traced as far back as the mention of a character called Mentor in Homer’s Odyssey. Many researchers since then have debated on when the modern meaning of mentor came about. The industrial revolution gave rise to many older employees training younger ones, to make the process of knowledge transfer more robust. There is consensus on the crucial role mentoring has played over the years in helping organizations combat change, improve overall engagement, and build a growth climate to mention a few.
Mentors as scaffolding. The idea of mentoring had been to support and help newcomers pick up skills and efficient methods to solve problems. In recent times however mentorship has transcended from being just a knowledge transfer tool to empowering newcomers with enriching experiences to bolster their career. Mentors offer their mentees the gift of wisdom and experience which can act as good foundation for mentees to build upon. They also play a crucial role in inducting mentees into the culture of the organization which can be difficult to navigate just by oneself or through some “educational” materials.
Mentors constantly encouraging learning. There have been numerous instances of mentors really encouraging mentees to upskill and learn. This becomes crucial not just for the mentees/employees but the organization. This can be viewed as taking an interest in the mentee’s career and thereby encouraging mentees to feel greater satisfaction at work and feel a sense of belongingness.
Mentors as trusted confidantes. Often newcomers or people in the early stages of their career are often struggling to integrate and adjust into a certain organization’s culture. There can be so many queries, fears, and issues that mentees come across. It can be a big transition for many. Mentors come into play by offering that empathetic ear and shoulder to mentees who are seeking an emotional support while navigating and trying to understand change.
Mentors as mediators. Mentors truly become mediators during difficult situations. There are many times when the organization does not really meet eye to eye with the employee. These situations can be exceedingly difficult and illicit negative responses from the employees. Mentors can then therefore act as a bridge between the two and communicate the challenges to both the parties. This obviously creates a culture of openness and honesty which is always beneficial for the organization in the long run.
Mentors build leaders. A constant struggle that companies are trying to cope with is the dearth of talented leaders. Leadership is a skill that can be learned and practiced. Leaders are often made, with mentoring programs, it becomes easier for mentees to transition into leadership roles as they have constantly been encouraged and trained by mentors. Not only are mentees incredibly equipped to adjust to such transitions but programs like this also allows for institutional memory to be passed down to newer people without too many hiccups. It is therefore no surprise that many Fortune 500 companies are constantly encouraging such programs to run. In the long run such programs contribute to organizational sense of belonging, commitment and feeling of solidarity.
Mentoring has its own set of challenges. Coaching can often help mentors as well in recognizing their own biases, practice their own mentoring skills, clarify role and expectations, build personal capacities to be an effective mentor and in turn benefit both themselves and the mentee. If you are looking out for such programs, please feel free to write to us at Human Dynamic.
What are the practices in your organization? Are you aware of any such unique mentoring programs? How do you think this program benefits an organization? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.
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Msc Psychology (Counselling), PGCR (CAT)
Consultant & Client Relationship Manager