How workplace mentoring can help young employees

by Amy Simpson

Over ⅔ of US Gen Y-ers would take a pay cut to work at a company offering good mentorship opportunities. Here's what to think about when setting up a workplace mentoring scheme.

Young employees want to get on fast. 91% of Millennials consider rapid career progress a top priority. But they often lack the experience needed to shoot straight up the ladder.

Having a workplace mentoring scheme in place can help upskill your Millennial workers. It can encourage existing employees and increase employee satisfaction. And there are measurable benefits for those doing the mentoring too.

Mentoring can encourage existing employees and increase employee satisfaction

That's a lot of upside. Here's what to think about before setting up your own mentor scheme.

Why mentor?

Mentoring can undoubtedly boost staff retention and encourage career progression. Research shows that Millennials who plan to stay with an organisation for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor (68%) than not (32%).

It can help develop new leaders and futureproof your organisation

And a study by US firm Robert Half shows that 86% of executives think having a mentor is important for career development.

Workplace mentoring can also help with employee engagement and facilitate effective knowledge sharing. And using mentoring to develop new leaders will futureproof your organisation and help succession planning.

Formal or informal workplace mentoring?

Workplace mentoring comes in different shapes and sizes. In some cases, mentoring is informal – it develops organically as an employee seeks advice and help, perhaps from a more senior colleague. In others, you can appoint specialist supervisors.

Companies also adopt 'buddy systems' where a more experienced colleague mentors the newbie.

Another option is group mentoring, where one mentor will look after several people. The right technology can help facilitate this type of approach.

The right collaboration technology can help facilitate better mentoring

Project groups in Workplace, for example, provide a secure space for a mentor to build and develop relationships with multiple stakeholders.

A group can be 1:1 or to 1 to many. It's an accessible and searchable record of conversations and milestones, as well as a repository of documents such as KPIs or personal plans.

If you formalise your mentoring scheme, you'll have the advantage of being able to set out clear goals and establish measurable outcomes. But a formal scheme doesn't prevent informal arrangements from developing.

What's the purpose of the mentoring?

To make workplace mentoring successful, it's important to understand its aim. Will you aim your mentoring at training employees to do a particular job? Is the aim to support and encourage more long-term career development?

Formal schemes enable you to set clear goals and establish measurable outcomes

Perhaps you'd like to run schemes that offer a mixture of both. Once you have decided on the purpose of the mentoring, you should set clear goals and review them regularly.

Who should you mentor?

Assigning mentors to new employees is an obvious way to get their time with your organisation off to a positive start. But what about existing employees?

Many may benefit from a mentor teaching them new tasks, help them further their career progression and deepen their involvement within the organisation.

When should mentoring start?

It can make sense to assign each new employee a mentor during the onboarding process. This will instantly give them a familiar face in the company, and immerse them in company culture from the start. They'll also know that they have someone to turn to with any questions.

Who should do the mentoring?

You might find that you have lots of willing volunteers. But how do you match up your mentors and mentees? Technology can help once again.

The Cortado integration with Workplace, for example, can help you set up a mentoring network in a few clicks. The chatbot introduces employees to different colleagues based on career goals and interests.

Whatever method you choose, it seems clear that building effective mentoring and development opportunities within your organisation can play a critical part in employee satisfaction and the continuing success of younger employees.

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