Mentoring relationships are critical to our personal growth and development. Mentors help guide us through troubled times, and they challenge us to be the best versions of ourselves we can be.
However, mentoring has more benefits to your organization than just helping people feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It can play an active role in helping you improve employee retention, which enhances the long-term health and stability of your company.
Here are some of the ways that mentoring helps keep your best employees loyal and working hard to push the company forward.
People Want Personal Growth
The labor market is, after all, a market. People treat jobs as if they were products. They demand certain things, and when they don’t get them, they will look elsewhere to fulfill their needs.
And these days, one of the things people demand from their employers is the chance to grow in their professional lives. In fact, a lack of professional development is one of the key reasons people choose to leave one position for another. As a result, your retention strategy needs to focus on helping each employee fulfill their potential and meet their growth targets.
A structured, well-designed mentor program can do just this. By putting people together and encouraging constructive relationships, you are giving your employees another way for them to get better at what they do. They can talk with more experienced colleagues and use them as a resource, developing a meaningful and rewarding relationship that will contribute to their growth and give them the incentive to stay with the company.
Mentoring Strengthens People’s Connection to the Organization
One of the best ways to foster employee loyalty and improve retention rates is to get people to feel a connection to the company. This causes them to want to go above and beyond what’s expected of them to help the business succeed. And when people get into this type of situation where they feel an affinity with the work they do, they are more likely to want to stay in their job than to look for something else.
Making mentoring a key feature of your company culture can help you build this connection. This is because you are helping to channel this affinity through another person. People tend to place a high value on the relationships they build at work. Encouraging people to get closer to one another in ways that enrich and support their lives is a good way to build the relationships people won’t want to walk away from, making staying at the company a much more attractive decision.
Build Your Leadership Team of Tomorrow
As much as we want to believe employee turnover can be eliminated entirely, this just isn’t the case. People will leave, and you will need to refill your ranks with new people who share the same connection to the company as those who left. And what better way to do this than to work to develop your next generation of leaders from the employees you already have?
An injection of new perspectives from the outside is always great, but demonstrating to employees you are likely to promote from within will help make retention easier. Dedicated employees will see they’ve got somewhere to go, and this keeps them engaged and patient. And mentoring helps demonstrate this to your employees. It forges stronger connections between employees and management, which reduces the gap between the two groups and allows people to envision themselves in leadership roles in the company, which again discourages them for looking elsewhere for opportunities.
However, for this to work, you’ll need to structure a mentor program that puts people together with those who will help them develop the desired management and leadership skills. This can be difficult, but a specialized human resources firm can help you design something that works for everyone and helps you accomplish the goals you set for your mentoring program. Taking this approach helps you ensure success with your mentoring program, meaning your future leaders will be fully prepared to take the company well into the future.
Build Off Existing Efforts
It’s likely people in your company have already built some mentoring relationships. It happens naturally in an environment where learning and growth are prevalent. As a result, when you begin to take a more active role in the implementation of mentor programs, make sure not to damage any existing relationships. Ask people to identify who they are teamed up with, and do your best to help support the arrangement.
For those who don’t have a mentor, pairing them with someone can be a great way to get them more engaged and connected with the company, improving retention and productivity both now and in the future.
About the Author: Natasha is a business blogger for YourBusinessPeople.com. She worked most of her career in human resources, specifically in the healthcare industry. Now, she works part-time as a consultant helping businesses improve their HR operations. The rest of the time she is blogging about issues of the day so as to be a resource for HR professionals and other business leaders.