Happy Monday! Today we welcome guest blogger, leadership coach, and employee engagement expert Luis Velasquez to share his knowledge on the importance of mentoring.
Employee engagement is a hot topic in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace. Workforces are more fluid, which means companies are having a harder time attracting and retaining talented employees. Mentoring is one method that can tip the scales on employee engagement by fostering lasting relationships among employees, promoting career development, and facilitating the transfer of knowledge within a company. These principles are not a new concept though; in a 2005 report, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) identified several trends that are likely to have a significant impact on employee engagement. Listed below are the seven trends identified in the report and how mentoring addresses each one of them.
Trend #1: Employee-employer relationship evolving/changing INto partnerships.
How mentoring can help: Companies can take advantage of growing partnerships in the workplace by providing and encouraging mentor-mentee relationships. As employees turn to their mentors for advice, they make fewer mistakes on the job, cutting losses to the employer. Employees in mentoring relationships tend to have greater job satisfaction as well, which can mean a more positive work environment and a higher level of employee engagement.
Trend #2: Increased demand for work/life balance.
How mentoring can help: Mentors are invaluable resources to employees struggling to balance demanding careers with quality of life. They can offer perspective and suggest strategies derived from their own struggles. Work-life balance is of course a highly personal issue, and one person’s solution may not be the same as another’s. But by offering their support and guidance, mentors can inspire mentees to create their own balance, thus allowing them to become more efficient with their time and less bogged down by stress. A fulfilling career balanced with quality of life increases productivity and employee engagement.
Trend #3: HR’s greater role in promoting the link between employee performance and its impact on business goals.
How mentoring can help: Mentoring promotes higher performance, and a high-performing workforce leads directly to increased achievement of company goals. On a managerial level, statistics show that mentoring can increase managerial productivity by 88% when managers are involved in a corporate mentorship program, as compared to only a 24% increase when managers received only training but no mentorship. (Source - ASTD). You can’t argue with sound metrics. HR has a vested interest in using mentoring to leverage the connection between employee performance and business goals.
Trend #4: Increasing focus on selective retention for keeping mission-critical talent.
How mentoring can help: Employee retention is one of the biggest challenges facing companies today. Failure to build employee loyalty amongst top performers can become a ticking time bomb as external and internal forces work to pry your most valued resources loose. Research into the positive impact of mentoring on employee retention is consistent internationally. Mentoring fosters important working relationships and gives employees a sense of belonging, both important factors that motivate employees to stay with a company. This feeling of belonging promotes an emotional connection with the company, which in turn increases employee engagement.
Trend #5: Work intensification as employers increase productivity with fewer employees and resources.
How mentoring can help: Mentoring provides for the transfer and exchange of knowledge between mentor and mentee, spreading resources across the company and employees, so no expertise is wasted. The relationship is symbiotic, with both mentors and mentees learning from each other. This ultimately increases productivity, since you are no longer wasting resources on managing turnover. Instead, you are matching both incoming and existing employees with effective mentors who can better position them for success. The second component of employee engagement is increasing discretionary effort, or the amount of effort an employee chooses to give above and beyond what is required of him/her. Acquiring knowledge through mentoring and applying that knowledge to their current job will not only increase employee output, but will also increase their level of discretionary effort.
Trend #6: Acquiring and keeping key talent reemerging as top issues of concern.
How mentoring can help: In 2006, Sun Microsystems revealed that corporate mentors were promoted six times more often than those not in the corporate mentorship program, while mentees were promoted five times more than their non-mentored counterparts (source). With smart and talent employees being drawn in all different directions, a structured mentoring program aimed at employee development is something that companies can use to encourage employees to stick around. The promise of expert counsel, further career development, and upward movement within the company will motivate employees to put forth their best effort, and as a result will improve both employee retention and engagement.
Trend #7: Decline in traditional communication methods and increase in cyber communication.
How mentoring can help: With virtual communication becoming more and more prevalent, the transition from traditional, face-to-face mentoring to online mentoring is a natural progression. MentorCloud’s cloud-based solution breaks down traditional geographic barriers and brings subject-matter experts, mentors, mentees, and peers from around the globe closer than they’ve ever been before. Mentees can now enter a mentoring relationship with the confidence that they are being matched with top experts in their chosen field, especially suited for helping them reach their career goals.
It’s clear that mentoring is a logical solution to all seven trends impacting the future of employee engagement. Employees who have the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals are much more likely to take a deeper interest in their own development, and in turn, the contributions they make to their company. If you want to drive employee engagement within your organization, start building a strong mentoring program that matches mentors and mentees, experts and learners, and watch the transformation unfold.