Mentoring: Are you helping others succeed?
Author Oliver Goldsmith shined a spotlight on the importance of mentoring with his famous quote, “People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy.”
Mentoring programs can provide as much value to a company as they do to the professional. For programs that are formal or informal by design, there is a shared benefit: the transmission of valuable, and often distinctive, knowledge.
In 2014, I had the privilege of participating in a mentorship protégé program offered through the Greater Women’s Business Council, which is recognized as the nation's leading advocate of women-owned businesses as suppliers to America's corporations. I had taken over the reins of my 38-year-old small business three years prior in 2010, and I knew that Key Services needed a strong leader.
Throughout my career, I have been a firm believer in mentoring and professional development and this seemed like a great opportunity. Thanks to the GWBC mentors who brought me into the group and gave unselfishly of their time, I gained additional confidence, capacity and compassion to take my business to the next level.
Business mentor programs are evolving. Here’s a look at their impact on a business.
Sophisticated Forms of Learning and Mentoring
Technology is fueling the advancement of mentoring. While on-site mentoring programs still provide the most value, we are no longer limited to these programs. With more and more online programs becoming available, there is opportunity for development at every level of the company. Mentoring programs can be expanded and tailored to meet the needs of all companies operating in today’s ever-changing business environment.
Extensive Knowledge Transfer
Technology provides the opportunity for companies to create internal development programs that can become long-term assets to the company. We are able to capture the expertise of our employees and create a knowledge base of information to be shared with others. At Key Services, our certified technicians and engineers have been compiling a repairs knowledge base for the past 10 years. We have built extensive knowledge around part demand, failure rates, and repair issues – information that can be used to improve operational efficiencies and develop future team members. Moving forward, information sharing can also be conducted through online resource centers, communities of practice, virtual classrooms and communities, and company social platforms.
Stronger Companies and Stronger Communities
Many formal mentoring programs include an aspect of corporate social responsibility where employees are dispatched into the community to do good work. The results show promise. Important needs of the community are being met and companies are seeing improved employee recruitment, retention and productivity. A company’s employees are members of the community, and using mentoring programs as a platform for professional development leads to a stronger workforce, but it also places new resources into the community through the employee.
Increased Business Capacity
Formal and well-established mentor programs, like the GWBC Mentor Protégé program, connect business leaders with long-standing organizations and influential leaders. These important programs shave years off the time it would take to build a company network of such well-established connections, who will ultimately serve as resources and business partners.
There are many more far-reaching benefits of company mentoring programs. The true effectiveness of mentoring can be seen immediately in employee productivity and engagement, and over the long-term in employee career advancement and company growth and success.
This article was first published on LinkedIn by Michelle Deal.