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The Importance Of Mentoring

Mentoring programs can be very formal, very informal, last for years or be short in duration - the possibilities are endless.

The No. 1 reason people quit their jobs is the “inability to learn and grow”.

Wait, what? Well that’s new.

According to an article posted on LinkedIn in November of 2018, the findings of a survey conducted with Bersin, Deloitte Consulting and LinkedIn, uncovered this amazing new trend. We’ve all heard that the reason most folks quit their job is because of their boss, but now this shift in the workplace points to a new cause of turnover. The lack of growth, learning or limited development has now become the reason great employees are walking out the door.

The question “what would make you leave your job?” was asked in the survey, and the ability to learn and grow was found to be nearly twice as important as getting a raise and the relationship with the boss.

To that point, learning and growth can come from a mentorship program, along with other benefits – including enhanced connections to the company and co-workers, increased engagement, a larger internal talent pool, and, depending on the use, accelerated or more effective onboarding.

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Mentoring programs can be very formal, very informal, last for years or be short in duration – the possibilities are endless. Creating and implementing a mentorship program that works for your organization isn’t really the daunting task that it may seem, but there are a few key principals that make them successful.

The first thing that a successful mentorship program needs is defined purpose. What are the desired outcomes your teams need? Mentorships can be focused on career development, which is more traditional, but they could also help new hires become more acclimated to the internal processes of your organization. The program could be a hybrid of both, or address other needs altogether. Just put pen to paper and define the programs purpose and work toward that.

The next piece is critical. The program should allow for the relationships to develop holistically, based on common interests, work goals or other characteristics that can create a connection. If the relationship doesn’t blossom, allow for changes to be made. If a true mentorship is going to be successful, it’s important that the right people are paired together.

If you have limited resources to design, develop and implement a formal program, an informal program can be successful with three minimal parts defined.

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An official start date, launch or announcement – Each program needs a beginning. Folks will be more committed if they know that something is beginning.

An official end of the program – Announcing the end of the program gives all parties involved a deadline. We all need deadlines.

The meat in the middle – Provide direction of what the mentoring will look like, should be or could be. The mentoring relationship could be based on any of the following activities; meetings, job shadowing, phone calls, emails, pep talks, resume reviews, power lunches, introductions, etc. Regardless of the mode of communication, the conversations should be based on goals and outcomes.

Another point to make about mentoring is to clarify when mentoring should be an offered solution versus coaching or more traditional training. Coaching and training is the go-to solution for short term, specific needs or problems. Mentorships should be used as a more exploratory solution to broaden our options or provide a more over-arching view.

Companies across the globe have implemented mentoring programs big and small, following the pattern established many years ago by Telemachus, from Greek mythology, who was the first to have a mentor who educated him on how to be the person he was born to be. Mentoring is an effective and simple way to engage and support the ever-learning drive of your most valuable asset, your people.

JuliAnn Weber is the Director of Learning and Development at Malouf and has over 14 years of employee training, HR and mentoring experience. She believes the success of employers and employees go hand in hand, and emphasizes on solid training for employees in their current endeavors, as well as for what the future holds. JuliAnn Weber can be reached at:

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