Yogi Berra once said of Bill Dickey, “Bill is learning me his experience.” That’s exactly what mentoring is, a way for a mentor to share their experience with a mentee. This can be a huge win/win for the individual mentors and mentees, as well as the company. There are many mentoring myths out there, and it can be difficult to determine how mentoring might work for your own business. In fact, mentoring can provide you with more capable and loyal employees. Here are four mentoring myths and how you can overcome them.
Four Mentoring Myths, and the Facts about Them
- The most popular mentoring myth is that Millennials don’t want to be mentored. Not true! According to a 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 94% of millennials being mentored believe their mentors provide them with positive information, and 69% intend to stay with their current employer for at least five years thanks to the mentoring program.
- A second mentoring myth is that mentoring doesn’t change the bottom line. According to a study done by UPS, 30% of small businesses without mentors didn’t survive for two years, and 50% didn’t last five years. Of those with mentors, 70% of small businesses survived more than five years, and 88% of business owners said having a mentor is invaluable.
- Another popular mentoring myth is that there is no return on investment (ROI) when it comes to mentoring. The myth is that mentoring is investing in individuals who will soon leave the company, taking the investment with them. In fact, a 2006 study by Gartner of more than 1,000 employees revealed that retention rate for mentored employees was more than 72% higher than non-mentored employees. Additionally, mentored employees were promoted six times more often than those who did not participate in a mentoring program.
- One more mentoring myth is that there’s a lack of ROI for mentored employees. The idea is that mentored employees find mentoring to be a time drain and don’t receive any benefit from mentoring. According to the Gartner study, mentored employees were promoted more than five times more often than employees without a mentor. Additionally, 25% of mentored employees had a salary grade change, as compared to only 5% of employees who did not participate in a mentoring program.
How to Implement a Mentoring Program
Implementing a mentoring plan in your workplace can take your company from good to great. It’s important to create a structured program that aligns with your business’s culture. For formal mentoring, that means establishing a time and frequency for mentoring and developing a plan to determine the right fit between a mentor and mentee. Consider group mentoring as well, with several mentees meeting with one or two mentor facilitators.
For a more informal mentoring program, allow participants to consider the frequency of their mentoring sessions, and consider allowing mentees to select their own mentors, even if that means the mentor comes from outside the company.
Keys to a Successful Mentoring Program
Here are a few keys to consider to help you establish a successful mentoring program.
- Manage expectations for both mentors and mentees. Mentors are there to offer information, wisdom, and knowledge, not to get mentees promoted. Mentees are expected to do the work themselves.
- Communication is key. Everyone in your organization should be aware that you’re starting a mentoring program so you can solidify mentoring as a part of your business culture.
- Trust is important. Mentees need to feel that they can discuss any issue without judgment and that the information won’t be used negatively against them.
- Respect is crucial. Both mentors and mentees need to feel like they are truly being heard to receive advice or apply information.
- Motivation on the part of the mentee can make or break the relationship. Almost every mentoring study shows that the participation on the part of the mentee is key to the success of the mentoring relationship.
- Reciprocity can happen, but shouldn’t be expected. Often, reverse mentoring occurs, with a mentee being able to offer their expertise to a mentor. An example of this is when a mentor can ask a mentee for assistance with an area of difficulty in their job, such as technology. Mentors and mentees may continue their relationship for years, increasing job opportunities and networking potential for both.
Get your mentoring matches correct by matching up employees that are motivated and on the right track to where they want to be with mentors who have relevant experience and are a bit further ahead on the path than the mentee. Successful matches will not only be a win for the mentor/mentee relationship, but also your business.
If you would like some help setting up a mentoring program, contact me today.