Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Three Ways Employee Mentoring Pays Off

Traditional new employee training is probably inevitable in many settings, but companies who have the opportunity to supplement or to even replace those programs in favor of employee mentoring solutions can capture significant advantages. Having existing top performers actively mentor new hires can produce amazing outcomes. Let's look at three of the many reasons to consider this approach.

First, employee mentoring spurs greater levels of engagement among the "mentor" employees. It's an opportunity to provide appreciated recognition and to give the individual in question an additional, yet manageable, responsibility. It also forces those employees to consider their role in the operation and the best possible ways to perform job duties.

Second, it creates a more cooperative work environment. Workers get to know one another and to appreciate their roles and abilities. Instead of having individuals whose only connection is a line/arrow combo on the flowchart, you begin to forge real relationships that make workplaces run more smoothly and efficiently. The morale boost certainly doesn't hurt the bottom line, either.

Third, employee mentoring provides an opportunity to provide a more in-depth form of training. It can help new additions to your staff avoid "reinventing the wheel" and can prevent common errors that may occur otherwise. It gives your new staffers a chance to see how things really get done instead of exposing them only to the more theoretical or hypothetical education that's a frequent hallmark of regular training.

Would you rather have your employees learn their jobs on paper or in the trenches? Would you rather have a series of individuals occupying cubicles or a vibrant office filled with people rallying around a common purpose? Which sounds better: Challenged and rewarded employees who redouble their commitment to the company or maintenance of the status quo?

All of those questions are easy to answer. And all of those answers point toward on unmistakable conclusion. If it's possible to utilize a strong employee mentoring program within your business, you should do so. There's very little downside to a well-managed program and significant potential for improvements to your business and its bottom line performance.

By Debbie Norris

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