Within a company, the mentorship process can help foster communication, build bonds and increase the motivation of the mentor and the mentee!
Intra-company mentoring is probably one of the most underutilized processes out there but the benefits of having experienced employees mentor new or less experienced ones are numerous.
Here are four reasons why mentoring can be one of the keys to success:
- Increased motivation and morale
- Retention levels improved through effective career development
- Improved connection to company mission and values
- Improved corporate culture
What are the specific benefits for the mentee?
Mentees are typically people who are new to a company, though they could be long-standing employees who have moved up the ranks and are now entering an area that they aren’t particularly familiar with.
A mentee can be more confident in their role more quickly if they have support from a mentor. Mentors can help mentees by:
- Providing a range of information, drawing from their own experience, that a mentee would never acquire by reading the company handbook or even shadowing another employee.
- Being a source of objective information and support, something a manager cannot be.
- Sharing all of the ins and outs of the department and the company as a whole that aren’t obvious from the outside and sharing details about the corporate culture and how things run — thereby helping the mentee to avoid any unnecessary stumbles.
Further, there are always skills that aren’t in the functional job description but that are nonetheless important to get the job done. It’s these more esoteric details that a mentor can provide, in a positive and supportive framework.
What are the specific benefits for the mentor?
There are several benefits for mentors. Here are some examples:
- Mentors can achieve a superior level of personal growth by helping a colleague and becoming their support network. Helping others is a key factor in obtaining satisfaction, both personally and professionally.
- A mentor, while more experienced at the company, likely has room to grow themselves—everyone does! So, the mentor experience will help them to increase their own knowledge base. By helping someone learn the ins and outs of the company, they are re-acquainting themselves with many processes and standards. It’s not always easy to admit that there are things one doesn’t know but it’s a healthy situation when teacher and student are both learning.
- Softer skills that are important in a leadership role are honed by becoming a mentor: active listening, giving feedback, picking up nonverbal cues, and so on.
- Mentoring a new employee might also help a person who has been with the company for a long time to feel rejuvenated about their role in the company. Being a subject matter expert is a wonderful thing; being able to share that knowledge with others is even better.
Is there an ideal type of company that could use mentoring?
Not at all. That said, companies that operate with strong departmental silos and little in the way of interdepartmental communication could benefit more than any others from implementing a mentoring program.
Breaking down those silos and opening up lines of communication is a major step in creating a functional workflow for any project. Mentors can help make this happen within a project or for the company as a whole.
Are there pitfalls to mentoring?
If it has one flaw, intra-company mentoring doesn’t always lend itself to creating safe spaces for people to share concerns or complaints. It’s important that mentees do not report to their mentor and that the latter have no responsibility to evaluate the mentee or to the person who does conduct those evaluations.
With this off the table, it opens the door for more frank discussion and a productive relationship.
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