Mentorship is a relationship in which a more competent, experienced or knowledgeable person trains a new hire so that he develops the right skills and temperament to excel at the new job. It is a training program involving a new hire and a mentor where the new hire shadows his or her mentor to learn new aspects related to the job and organization. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but he or she must have a certain area of expertise. It is a learning and development partnership between someone with vast experience and someone who wants to learn.
Onboarding is an important step in the recruitment process. As new hires makes the shift from a candidate to employee, the decisions the organisation undertakes during the initial phase can set the foundation for a long association with the company. Research show that a strategic new hire onboarding process leads to higher job satisfaction, employee engagement and retention, organisational commitment, decreased turnover, and better performance.
Most companies don’t take onboarding seriously. A common mistake that Organisations make is to treat onboarding as single event in which the new hires fill out forms and sit in orientation classes. Instead, onboarding should be a year long process where new hires are actively involved in the organisation and its culture and processes. One of the best ways to do this is by scheduling a mentorship program where the company can map new hires with senior employees, ensuring they become focused, motivated and productive from the beginning.
Benefits of customized mentoring program for new hires are many, we list out a few
- Knowledge Transfer
A mentorship program ensures that the new hire has all the necessary access and information to understanding and contributing in his job. These include organizational charts, login details, key contact information, technical training for specific business systems. Companies offer training on the company, its vision and mission, its ethics and culture. Certain companies also provide insight into company specific nuances, technical or otherwise, acronyms and terminologies.
- Role Clarity
This relates to how well a new employee has understood and comprehended his role and the expectations of the organization. Role clarity and specific key performance indicators help set the related expectations, and boost self-efficacy. This directly impacts loyalty, engagement and retention. If roles and expectations are left ambiguous, performance and confidence would quickly slide. In fact, a study of employees in the United States and United Kingdom found that businesses lose an estimated $37 billion each year as a result of employees not understanding their jobs. Therefore, role clarity is a good indication of how well-adjusted a new employee is. Setting KPIs also aid in giving new hires an understanding of their role and contribution to the specific department and the organization as a whole. KPIs also help provide training and development opportunities for the employee to develop and broaden their skill set.
- Understanding Organizational Culture
This entails providing employees with a sense of the organizational norms, both formal and informal. Helping new employees understand the nuances of a company’s unique culture, and steering them to find their own place within the system is essential. The mission and the vision of the company, its values, its ethics, its unique style and language and even the office jokes, are all important for a new hire to quickly integrate into the organization. A new hire often carries previous baggage which is a set of attitudes, norms and experiences that is derived from previous workplace. This baggage can be detrimental and mentoring helps get rid of this so that the new hire can start afresh.
- Career development
Setting up a career development mentoring program for employees enables an organization to help junior employees to learn the skills and behaviours from senior employees that the junior employees need to advance to higher-responsibility positions. This type of mentoring program can help to align organizational goals with employees’ personal career goals (of progressing within the organization). It gives employees the ability to advance professionally and learn more about their work. This collaboration also gives employees a feeling of engagement with the organization, which can lead to better retention rates and increased employee satisfaction.
- High potential mentoring
The most talented employees in organizations tend to be difficult to retain, as they are usually seeking greater challenges and responsibilities, and they are likely to leave for a different organization if they do not feel that they are being given the opportunity to develop. Top talent, whether in an innovation or management role, have incredible potential to make great things happen for an organization. Creating a mentoring program for high-potential employees that gives them one-on-one guidance from senior leaders can help to build the engagement of these talented employees, give them the opportunity to develop, and increase their retention in the organization.
- Ensuring Safety and Security
Mentoring program ensures that the new hire is aware of the safety procedures at the new workplace. Educate the new hire about safety and security plans in the office premises. Need to communicate a security plan in place during an emergency situation or incidents of theft, natural disasters, workplace aggression and terrorist acts.
- Developing Social Connections
Mentoring helps the new hire in making the necessary social connections and understanding power structures and team hierarchies in the company. This relates to all the necessary interpersonal relationships and information networks that would be required for the job. 60% managers who fail to onboard successfully cite failure to establish effective working relationships as a primary reason. Employees also need to feel socially at ease and accepted by colleagues and team mates. Integrating into one’s team is directly related to commitment and productivity. High quality relationships with managers, leaders and other team members is vital.
The 5 different types of mentors you commonly encounter at the workplace are
- Profession or trade mentor
This is someone who is currently in the trade/profession you are entering. They know the trends, important changes and new practices that you should know to stay at the top of your career. A mentor like this would be someone you can discuss ideas regarding the field, and also be introduced to key and important people that you should know.
- Industry Mentor
This is someone who doesn’t just focus on the profession. This mentor will be able to give insight on the industry as a whole. Whether it be research, development or key changes in the industry, you need to know.
- Organization mentor
Politics in the organizations are constantly changing. It is important to be knowledgeable about the values, strategies and products that are within your company, but also when these things are changing. An organization mentor can clarify missions and strategies, and give clarity when needed.
- Work process mentor
This mentor can speed quickly over the bumps, and cut through the unnecessary work. This mentor can explain the ‘ins and outs’ of projects, day to day tasks, and eliminate unnecessary things that may be currently going on in your work day. This mentor can help to get things done quickly and efficiently.
- Technology mentor
This is an up-and-coming, incredibly important position. Technology has been rapidly improving, and becoming more a part of day to day transactions within companies. In order to perform your best, you must know how to get things done on the newest technology. A technology mentor will help with technical breakdowns, advise on systems that may work better than what you’re currently using, and coach you through new technology and how to best use it and implement it into your daily life.
- Knowledge Transfer