Learning & Development, Talent

Is Now a Good Time to Start an Employee Mentoring Program?

Does your organization have a formal or an informal employee mentoring program? There are a lot of benefits to these programs, from increased employee satisfaction to reduced turnover. For employers that are considering such a program, you may be wondering if now is a good time to implement one, given that many employers have had to reduce staff and people are stressed and on edge.

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Now may actually be a prime time to introduce such a program or bolster one already in place. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons. Here are a few benefits of employee mentoring programs that are especially relevant right now:

  • These programs can be a way to pass knowledge on to other employees.
  • They’re good for the continuation of business as employees move to new roles or take on new responsibilities.
  • They’re also good for rebuilding the team once business picks back up, as they are a great way to transfer knowledge.
  • Mentoring can help employees who currently need to take on new responsibilities, especially because some will be furloughed or let go and others may opt to retire amid the social distancing recommendations.
  • This type of informal training can help reduce skills gaps that were created by some employees leaving as workforce numbers were reduced. This can mean cross-training or even additional training within their original field, even without a formal program in place.
  • A mentoring program can provide employees with another reason to connect with one another, even if working remotely. This can help keep remote teams connected and reduce the loneliness that can be associated with remote work if your employees are no longer regularly coming to the workplace.
  • It can also be a way to keep employees engaged, especially during times of uncertainty.
  • Mentoring relationships can keep teams cohesive, even as they’re changing.
  • Mentoring programs can help with employment branding in several ways, such as by showing potential hires the employer cares about its employees and by aiding in retention, which then can help with the employer’s online reviews.
  • Mentoring programs can also help keep the company culture going and keep employee morale up; mentoring others can improve mentors’ self-esteem, which also improves the workplace bond.

Beyond those benefits, which are especially helpful now, mentoring programs can have other benefits, as well:

  • They can help retain good employees and show they’re valued and that their contribution is important.
  • They can help train new hires by giving them the knowledge and perspective of others in the organization outside of their normal onboarding. This can also encourage new hires to stay with the organization.
  • They can help employees improve their leadership skills indirectly, which can benefit everyone.
  • They can be an avenue for improved communication within the organization.
  • They can be a way to conduct informal employee training, which not only helps with development but also can be useful for productivity.
  • They can help with succession planning by passing along knowledge to others possibly in line for a given role.
  • They can even reduce the number of problems taken to HR because employees have an outlet to get advice on how to handle problematic situations on their own.

For any organization considering adopting a mentoring program, this may be an ideal time to get it started. It can help organizational continuity in the face of uncertainty and changing times and can ensure employees stay engaged and interact more often, which are both crucial right now. It can also help the employment brand, which can pay dividends both now and in the future.

Bridget Miller is a business consultant with a specialized MBA in International Economics and Management, which provides a unique perspective on business challenges. She’s been working in the corporate world for over 15 years, with experience across multiple diverse departments including HR, sales, marketing, IT, commercial development, and training.