By Jane Kennelly, Director, Frog Recruitment
If the terms ‘engagement’, ‘succession’, and ‘talent development’ are permanently glued onto the laundry of HR issues in your organisation, there may just be a simple and cost effective solution already in the building.
In fact, the solution to your HR problems may walk past you in the corridor every day. This solution is often not recognised because we typically focus on solutions rather than processes. How do we achieve more with less? How do we build engagement? These nagging questions constrain us to think of ‘initiatives’ and ‘strategies’, where often the solution may reside within your staff members already, and requires simple human interaction to bring surface.
We are, of course, talking about mentoring.
We can all think of ‘aha’ moments or relationships in our lives where a kind (or harsh) word has created tremendous positive change. When it comes to organisations, we seem to forget the value of critical moments that have shaped our lives for the better, and forget to apply them to our business thinking.
We learn from others, and even from a young age learn to mimic our parents in behaviours and actions. As we go through life we identify with ‘heroes’, which are typically pop stars, sport stars, or someone valuable in our lives. As we grow, it’s not uncommon to expand this circle to include intellectual heroes, or business heroes.
Think of the impact to your organisation to have a team of heroes on hand to guide other staff. Think of the evangelism this would create for your organisation, and the long term pay-off.
So what is the nitty gritty of mentoring? A mentor is someone who cares about professional, social, and psychological development of another person. A mentor actively seeks to support and impart knowledge and wisdom to someone who is receptive to receiving it. The mentor benefits by being valued and respected, and the mentored benefit by receiving guidance in their career.
The first major benefit of mentoring is keeping people in the loop. Get staff on board by instilling the big picture of company operations into their daily work. Contextualise the development of the mentored within the development of the company, and how their personal contribution helps reach organisational goals. This can be especially effective for managers working in remote locations.
Mentors also have the ability to communicate the progress of individual employees upwards. The upper management can gain a clearer understanding of who the rising stars are in the organisation. Mentored employees also have an increased ability to step into interim management positions because their increased knowledge and visibility within the executive team.
Mentoring doubles as real time performance reviews. Good mentors encourage introspection to shift the act of problem solving to the person being mentored. Mentored staff can adjust their behaviours in more or less real time to achieve faster results, and mentors can help identify skills gaps, or even allow for shadowing in their own roles.
So how do we find good mentors? The fit between mentors and mentored is crucial in the success of the relationship. We need to consider expectations from parties, willingness, skill sets and knowledge, and goals to start with. The practicalities of mentoring can be challenging, but once a relationship is established, the effort required by HR to sustain the program becomes virtually zero.
To help you get on with understanding how to create a mentoring program in your organisation, contact Frog Recruitment today.
09 362 0528