Your employees are vital to the success of your business. They’re a fundamental part of the customer experience – and help shape the perception of your business, both with customers and when they talk to family and friends about their job. So, keeping employees satisfied, happy, and motivated not only leads to better individual performance, it ultimately means growth for your business.
But a happy and motivated employee needs more than a manager who tells them what to do – they need a mentor who guides them, provides expertise, allows them to learn and grow on the job, and builds a relationship.
Nurturing your team members to help them develop professionally can mean as much to you and your company as it does to the employees receiving your guidance. Productive employees who feel confident that they can build their knowledge and advance their careers are more likely to stay with your company, which means more tenured knowledgeable staff less hiring and training cost.
The case for mentorship is strong: Overall, 63 percent of managers hope to be perceived as mentors. Plus, a mentorship provides younger employees with the opportunities and career advancement they desire. Nearly 70 percent of Millennials who plan to stay with their employer for more than five years have a mentor. So how do you make the shift from managing to mentoring?
Before you can be an effective mentor, it’s important to know the difference between mentoring and managing. It’s tempting to give employees, especially junior ones, specific direction on how things should be done. That’s managing (and sometimes turns into micromanaging). Coaching is also “task oriented” guidance. But mentoring is about development for the future.
Given that employers consider employee retention and engagement a top priority, developing a sound mentorship practice is an important step for any business, from small startups to global corporations. Here are a few best practices for effective mentoring:
· Set goals and find out how your employees want to grow and what their ideal career path is.
· Build trust by finding new opportunities for your employees to gain skills and experience and become more visible.
· Survey the landscape for opportunities and pitfalls, which may mean steering them toward valuable projects, or alerting them to mistakes to avoid.
· Share your knowledge and experience.
· Model good workplace ethics, behavior, attitudes, and practices.
· Motivate with support and encouragement.
By mentoring and developing high-performing employees, you’ll generate loyalty and enthusiasm, enhance workers’ skills and your organization’s talent, and create the kind of culture that makes you a destination employer.
Depending on the size of your business, you may have a leadership team who can share the mentoring duties. If you’re still a small business, you can take on the mentorship role yourself and perhaps tap a manager to get on board with the idea, as well.
On the other side of the relationship, good mentees are employees who are curious, organized, efficient, responsible, and engaged. Keep in mind that it’s important to establish mutual expectations.
As your business grows, consider implementing a formal mentoring program with a clear structure and goals.
Consider A Formal Program
It’s important to establish a structure that works for your business, whether it’s a formal program or something you are trying to implement on your own. If you don’t have time for the heavy lift implementing a formal mentoring program might entail, consider exploring new mentoring software like Chronus, MentorCloud, and Insala. These cloud-based packages or apps offer small businesses customizable tools, and can take some of the foundational planning off your plate.
You may even consider tapping younger employees as “reverse mentors” to help company leaders.
While you may be a seasoned entrepreneur or professional with plenty of mentoring wisdom to offer, don’t overlook your own need for a mentor. Who couldn’t use the patience, guidance, insight, and support of someone with different experience?
Whichever route you take, an effective mentorship connection is a win-win for mentors and mentees alike. As a mentor, you too can gain knowledge and insight by learning from the employees you’re mentoring, which is an advantage to any business that takes care in establishing these important connections.
Mentoring may not answer all the challenges of workplace culture and employee engagement, but the mutual learning, strengthened professional bonds, advancement opportunities, and resulting good will make mentoring rather than simply managing important.
Are you looking to grow your business? Experts who can help you reconcile your books, track spending and payments, and manage payroll may be just what you need. BKE specializes in bookkeeping for small businesses, and works with numerous other cloud-based tools. Contact us for a free consultation.