I’m thinking about hosting a call-in radio show called “Hey Bob”– where people call in with questions about business, and get the latest relevant information on their questions. A typical show might sound like this:
Q. Hey Bob! I’m in a highly competitive field, and that includes competing for top talent. How do I get a competitive edge when I’m after top talent?
Answer – start a mentoring program! Nothing is as impressive to a gen Y superstar than being told, “When you join us, you’ll be assigned a mentor – someone who will take you under his or her wing and show you the ropes.
A mentoring program makes new hires feel cared for, and that they are not adrift in a company where they don’t know anyone.
Q. Hey Bob! When new people come on board, they take forever to get up-to-speed. How can we cut that learning curve, and get people producing quickly?
Answer – start a mentoring program! Most people take bout 18 months to get their arms around a new position – where they’re really competent and feel secure about the job. Mentoring cuts that significantly.
Q. Hey Bob! What can we do to reduce turnover? We bring people on, train them, and they leave! And it’s costly. It takes time to get them up to speed, and time and money to retrain their replacement.
Answer – start a mentoring program! Statistics prove that workers with mentors stay with companies. Having a mentor is a bond – a tie that causes candidates to pause and think before they jump ship.
Q. Hey Bob! We’ve got a significant portion of the workforce that’s nearing retirement age. When they leave, the company history – our culture – walks out the door with them. What can we do to retain corporate wisdom?
Answer – start a mentoring program! Assign each person nearing retirement a mentee, with the assignment that that person absorb the culture, the history, the wisdom that walks out the door when they leave.
Q. Hey Bob! Our people need to be trained, and trainers and consultants cost a bundle. How can we train large numbers to perform well without breaking the bank?
Answer – start a mentoring program! Here’s the secret most people don't know: mentoring is both more effective than traditional training – and more cost effective than traditional training.
I’ve been involved in training for most of my life, and I’ve delivered training to some of the biggest and best companies in the world – all over the world – and helped a lot of folks.
But there are some drawbacks to training – even very good training, world class training – that mentoring addresses. When you bring in an expert - they obviously know their stuff, but they don’t know your stuff. The good ones do their homework, but it’s not the same as knowing your business inside out the way your own people do.
Also, when you bring this expert in, they are with you for a limited period of time – often only a day or two. The truth is, people don’t change quickly. Change isn’t easy – learning new skills isn’t easy. If you could change behavior in one exposure – my golf game would be better! My experience has been – it doesn’t matter how good the teacher is – or how solid the material they’re presenting – one exposure isn’t enough.
In a mentoring program, on the other hand, the mentee has an ongoing one-on-one relationship with a mentor who has the specific knowledge they need – with access to that person for an extended period of time - - enough time to change – to absorb, to learn – to grow into new skills and understandings and awareness. To develop business judgment - and that’s key. You can’t develop judgment in business school – the perfect place to develop it is with a mentor.
So with a quality mentoring program, you have specific learning and behavior change taking place, and as to your budget, it takes place for a fraction of what it costs to bringing in world class experts to train your people.
So, the answer to your questions: How do you attract top talent? How do you get them up-to-speed quickly? How do you keep them and retain corporate wisdom? How do you train people in a cost effective way to perform well?
Answer – start a mentoring program!
Pssst! – We can help with that. Just call us. We’re at 415-380-0910