Build Company Culture with Mentoring

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"Mentoring provides an opportunity for employees to learn from experienced professionals, to grow and develop their skills, and to become more invested in the success of the company and its culture." - Michael Dell

What is a mentoring culture? A mentoring culture is an organizational environment that successfully fosters the principles of learning, knowledge sharing, and personal development. It goes beyond running a few mentoring programs and instead becomes a core value of the company as a whole.

The driving force behind employee performance and engagement is company culture. Are your employees clock punchers or do they have a passion for their work? A culture that values collaboration, continuous learning and career development will inevitably result in a dynamic company. Mentoring plays a vital role in building the company culture you want.

The benefits of Mentoring can’t be overstated. When you match your experienced veterans with younger, inexperienced staff skills get transferred and your employees learn directly from your best and brightest. Mentoring nurtures mental health, reduces isolation (especially during remote work) and can become the main component of the on boarding process.

A mentoring culture takes more time and investment to establish than a mentoring program, which is why many organizations struggle to do so. If you have had success with a few programs and are looking to instill mentoring in your company culture, here are some tips:

Get Leadership to Support Mentoring

I’ve mentioned this over and over in several blogs. That’s because it is one of the most important factors to getting anything done within a company. No other sector of the organization has more influence over company culture than Senior Management.

Get the leadership team on board. Leadership behavior filters down to the rest of the organization, and if the leaders are advocating for mentoring, it won't be long before others take notice.

Identify the key stakeholders in your company and come up with strategies to appeal to them. Whether it's retention rates or employee satisfaction, make a business case for mentoring that resonates with senior leaders. Use statistics and case studies to demonstrate the power of mentoring to support your case. The ROI on mentoring programs is tangible. Investment in employee performance results in improved company performance.

Break Down Silos

Mentoring often exists in silos within organizations. An executive might take on a junior employee under his wing within their respective department. Learning & Development programs for specific sectors may have been established in isolated zones and aren’t widely available to all employees.

Mentoring solves all this and opens up the doors for company wide participation in personal and career development. Use your Mentoring Program to purposefully match mentees with mentors way outside their zone of work. Pairing mentees with mentors in totally different sectors of the company exposes them to new skill sets, different angles of the company and diversifies your company.

Cross training in sports is highly effective. Skills from baseball and basketball translate over to ice hockey and vice a versa. The same goes in business. There are skills in accounting that your software developers and marketing people can use.

Incorporate Mentoring into Onboarding

A simple way to cultivate a mentoring culture is to provide each new employee with a mentor within their first week at the company. This demonstrates that personal development is a key value and resonates with new recruits. It tells them right from the start this a place that cares about them, their future and well-being.

Today, retention rates are low and employee turnover is shockingly high. Plugging mentoring into the onboarding process is an effective way to hang onto hard earned talent.

By including mentoring in the onboarding process, you're also investing in a future pool of mentors as 89% of mentees go on to become mentors themselves. 

Foster Casual Mentoring

You can foster a mentoring culture by encouraging informal and spontaneous moments of mentoring where employees can support each other, collaborate, and give feedback.

Middle and upper management should lead by example, creating opportunities to connect with their teams and encouraging employees to reach out to them for guidance. This creates a more cohesive work environment where employees feel comfortable seeking advice from all levels of management.

It's similar to fostering a culture of feedback, where employees are encouraged to ask questions and continuously learn and grow.

Try to have executives make it a part of their routine to select out random employees for lunches and mentoring sessions.

Empower Mentees to Take the Lead

Mentoring also benefits mentors. The learning process goes both ways. Taking someone under your wing and mentoring them towards success can be a rewarding experience.

In talking to one mentor about his experience helping an employee overcome problems in their work, they told me they were reminded of all their successful actions in the work place. Their mentee was asking for advice on how to manage people. The mentor had to reflect on hard one lessons throughout the years and wrote them down for his mentee. He’d never written them down before and it re-enforced positive leadership traits not only in his mentee but in himself.

Mentoring Programs like Wisdom Share provide checklist and tailored guidelines to make the most out of your Mentoring Program. But these are tools to get mentoring going they aren’t laws set in stone. You want Mentors to put their own spin on things and relationships can grow organically.

Embrace Inclusivity

The rise of remote work has shown the value of a flexible work environment, where employees can communicate through video chat, instant messaging, and virtual social or educational events.

58% of employees have even reported increased productivity when working from home. This has been especially beneficial for those with disabilities who may struggle to work in a traditional office setting.

By incorporating mentoring into your workplace inclusivity plan, you create a more accommodating and understanding environment for all employees. Virtual mentoring options allow for busy employees, international communication, and the inclusion of disabled employees who may not be able to work in the office.

Mentoring also helps to create a more diverse leadership, supporting your goals for increasing representation of women, minorities and disabled employees in senior positions. A mentoring platform like Wisdom Share can remove human biases in the matching process and give employees the freedom to choose their mentor. By creating a mentoring culture that supports inclusivity, you build empathy and connection throughout the business.

Celebrate Mentoring Success

Finally, celebrating success is a key aspect of fostering a mentoring culture. As a culture that encourages continuous learning, celebrating success reinforces positive habits and inspires other employees to support each other.

Embed mentoring into your communications schedule by using newsletters, social media and events to celebrate the success of your program. Participants can share their stories and advocate for the program moving forward.

Don't forget to also celebrate the hard work of your program leaders and HR team who have championed mentoring and facilitated successful connections.

If you have implemented a Formal Mentoring Program and used the above advices, you are well on your way to creating a positive company culture that embraces mentoring. Don’t get discouraged if company culture doesn’t manifest overnight. It takes time and constant work to build company cultures through mentoring.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither will your mentoring culture bloom full into view in a snap.

Mentor Resources can help any company or government agency to leverage technology to create tailored career development programs that are cost-effective. Our mentoring software - Wisdom Share is a cloud-based program that is simple and comes with guided workflows. Included are tools for administrators to attract, enroll, connect, and guide participants. We also provide analytics to ensure you can monitor your employee development program and easily see ROI metrics.

Reach out to us today for a Free Demonstration of our software.


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