In today’s disruptive world, there is intense demand for increased performance and high success rates. In addition, the pandemic has pushed our limits to experiment and create improvements to manage a dynamically evolving workforce. The workforce needs guidance and mentoring to adapt to these developments and navigate the ever-changing, external (market) and internal (organizational) environments.
But here is the problem: Mentoring programs are concentrated mainly on specific groups of people, are highly hierarchical, and are not very reciprocal. To make it successful mentoring needs to be adopted as company culture and not a mere program.
We need ‘Future-ready leaders’ who can create a mark in the organization, increase workforce engagementand attract top talent to your brand. Unfortunately, we have often noticed companies relegate mentoring to only small and specific, high-performing groups that impact only a few in the organization.
Studies suggest that nearly 89% of individuals who have been mentored go on to mentor others in the organization, thus maintaining the cycle of mentorship to benefit organizational development(i).
Here is a list of seven principles that can aid in creating and nurturing a mentoring culture in an organization.
Integrate mentoring in your onboarding process to provide a positive experience for new hires from day one. Having a mentor with a new joiner helps in ingraining mentoring from the start of their career. 68% of millennials with a mentor intend to stay with their organization for over five years(ii).
Leverage the power of experiential learning or learning-on-the-job under the guidance of a mentor to help boost team member engagement. 97% of individuals accredited mentors in an organization to help them feel highly valuable and impactful(iii).
Prescriptive mentoring or a typical managerial approach does not work anymore. Millennials will comprise nearly 75% of the global workforce by 2025(iv). Millennials and Gen Z are looking for mentors who can help them evolve, not for managers who only direct and delegate. They need guidance and space to grow. They want to feel supported.
It is not always that a mentor has to be at a level higher than the mentee. Sometimes, a person can engage someone two pay grades lower to help them learn a new technology or process. We can build a mentoring culture in the organization by opening up all channels of communication. It also opens the door to building an inclusive and more open workforce eco system where learning happens across organizational levels.
Experience sharing is a great way to build a mentoring culture in any organization. Using storytelling helps them relate better to situations and assists in making informed decisions. That is why cricket and other sports teams have mentors who can guide and confidantes to help them become better at their craft.
Today, 71% of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs(v) that have been driven from top-down. It has primarily been possible due to the high engagement of the C-Suite executives on board. Having a fully-vested leadership team helps inculcate a mentoring culture that eventually becomes part of the company culture.
A lack of cohesion and management structure in the mentorship program leads to sub-optimal results. We need to build an outcome-driven approach along with concrete guidelines native to the organization to understand and imbibe the art and science of mentoring.
Programs structured with multiple short and spontaneous mentorship cycles where employees can come together, collaborate, and give feedback at all levels can have a higher impact. A structure with the mantra ‘no question is stupid’ at its center encourages the workforce to become more participative.
We need to provide a holistic approach while building a mentoring culture within the organization. Mentorship, unfortunately, does not work on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and has to evolve with the type of individuals or groups being mentored. If you have an expert who understands mentoring comprehensively to guide you in the mentorship culture-building process, it can ensure a higher degree of success.
Nearly 55% of businesses have accredited mentoring to having a positive impact on profits(vi). Imagine what it would do if all organizations at all levels implemented mentorship as part of company culture!
PC: CNBC - https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/16/nine-in-10-workers-who-have-a-mentor-say-they-are-happy-in-their-jobs.html
PC: Research Gate - https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Effective-mentoring-characteristics-among-mentors-and-mentees-in-a-formal-mentor-program_fig1_322871871
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