Staff mentoring schemes - should you have one?

Mentoring has become a bit of a buzzword in business. All of a sudden, business people at all levels seem to have their own mentor and mentoring programmes are frequently being used across business start-up and growth programmes.

The same goes within organisations – many companies of a larger size have staff mentoring programmes in place, aimed at quickly integrating new staff into a company and encouraging each member of staff to deliver their own personal best.

Whilst the thought of putting an official mentoring scheme in place in an SME might seem a little over the top, there are some compelling reasons to consider this approach. Here are three of them…

Create a company culture

Developing a mentoring programme isn’t just about providing structured training for new starters to a company (although it does help in this respect), they are also useful for existing staff; allowing long-term development. Where development programmes are present across a workforce, with the same values promoted consistently, a culture will develop over time.

Remember that a positive company culture isn’t just a positive for existing employees, having been shown to increase morale and boost productivity, it can also help to attract new starters to join a business in the first place.

Putting communication first

Any relationship can only work where the channels of communication are open, and that includes the relationship between managers and their staff. At the heart of any mentoring programme is regular communication – something that is sadly so often lacking between employers and their employees. Mentoring provides a formal framework for communication to exist under and promotes honesty and feedback, therefore preventing the communication gulf which can lead to employees feeling they are ‘not being listened to’.

Structured development

One common reason for low morale amongst staff, sometimes even leading to employees leaving a company, is lack of perceived career progression. Managers in small businesses are often multitasking at numerous levels, allowing little time to focus on staff development and sometimes leaving employees without an appraisal from one year to the next. Assigning a mentor to oversee each member of staff puts in place a mechanism for development to be discussed and monitored. Whilst this doesn’t guarantee that employees will fly through the ranks, it does allow for any issues regarding progression or promotion to be brought to the fore, hopefully allowing appropriate action to be taken before the issue begins to affect performance. For more information about staff mentoring programmes or for support on any employment or HR issues in your business, contact us today. KMC HR can not only help with setting up employee mentoring schemes, but can also help with their implementation in instances where business owners lack the time.