More than 50% of U.S. employees today consider themselves unhappy at work, and while part of that stems from salary gripes, it's also a function of not feeling supported by their employers. But what if there were a way to offer your employees one-on-one support without having to spend a fortune?
Thankfully, there is, and it's called a mentorship program. These days, a growing number of businesses (Fortune 500 companies included) are offering these programs to connect workers of different experience levels and help ensure that newer hires get the resources they need to succeed. In fact, millennial workers with mentors, who are probably the most apt to take advantage of such programs, are twice as likely to stay with their employers for more than five years than younger workers without mentors. If your company doesn't have a mentorship program in place, here are a few good reasons to consider implementing one.
1. You'll help your employees grow their skills -- for free
Employee training generally costs money, especially if you're required to outsource that training. But if you implement a mentorship program, your seasoned workers' guidance can likely take the place of much of that training, thus saving your company what could a substantial chunk of cash. Not only that, but your workers will also get more targeted training geared toward how the company actually runs.
2. You'll encourage collaboration
Experienced employees and newcomers don't always get a chance to work together, especially if their paths don't naturally cross from a business need perspective. But that classic setup closes off relationships and limits the extent to which individuals and teams can learn from one another. With a mentorship program, you're essentially forcing people to work together who may not have otherwise done so, and that could end up benefiting not just them, but the business.
3. You'll help your employees avoid burnout
Burnout is a major problem among employees at all levels. But with a mentorship program, mentees get a sounding board and built-in support system for when things get tough. This, in turn, might help salvage their productivity and prevent them from jumping ship prematurely.
4. You'll show your workers you care
Most folks want to feel that their employers are invested in them. Offering a mentoring program shows that you care about your workers' well-being and career advancement, which might motivate them to not only work harder, but also remain loyal in the face of competing opportunities down the line.
Starting a mentoring program
If you're contemplating a mentorship program, the first thing you'll need to do is set objectives for what you want it to achieve. Is your goal employee retention? Improved output? Both? Map out your goals and decide how you'll measure the program's success to see if it's a worthwhile investment going forward.
Next, you'll need to recruit participants -- namely, seasoned employees who can show newer workers the ropes. You don't need to offer specific incentives to sign up, as some workers might do so for the sole purpose of being helpful -- but a little extra motivation also never hurt.
Finally, map out a feedback schedule so that participants get ongoing opportunities to share their thoughts on the program. This will give you good insight on how you might improve the program to further benefit your staff.
Having a mentorship program in place has numerous benefits, perhaps the most important of which is fostering a cooperative environment where workers support one another to contribute to your company's overall success. It pays to explore a mentoring program at your place of business. It could very well end up being one of the best investments you'll ever make.