National Mentoring Month
Mentoring can make a huge and long-lasting impact on a person’s skills and growth. January is named National Mentoring Month. It aims to promote the idea of becoming a mentor to more people, as well as encouraging more organisations to run mentoring programs and initiatives.
Why be a Mentor?
Growth and development – both in one’s personal life and career – is always ongoing. People look to those with the skills they want to develop as guides. They are more likely to take their advice to improve in that area.
The majority of the benefits are for the mentee. Having a mentor can increase confidence and skill level, as well as help them understand what they want out of their work. It can also keep employees with a company longer when given a mentor. According to LinkedIn, 94% of employees would choose to stay with a company for a longer period if they were offered more opportunities to increase their skillset.
However, the mentors themselves also benefit from this relationship. It can be very fulfilling to offer your skills to someone else. It can also help you develop your communication and group work skills.
“Mentors report less stress and anxiety with work than non-mentors.”Harvard Business Review
The organisation, as a whole, also benefits from a mentoring program. These relationships build a strong company community. It also spreads knowledge around the employees and develops a higher skill base.
How do you develop a mentoring program?
If you are a high-ranking staff member who’s decided to set up a mentoring program, the first thing you need to do is establish what you want to solve with the program. What do you want to get out of it? This will influence the design of your program. For different companies, some projects will work better than others. A smaller, tight-knit company may benefit from a more casual mentoring system, whereas a larger company may do better with a more formalised and structured approach.
An important part of developing a mentoring program is deciding how you want to pair the mentors and mentees. Do you want to handpick them, allowing for a more diverse selection or do you want people to be able to choose their own pair, possibly allowing for combinations where there is already an established relationship, but also allowing for bias in choices? You can also use a digital mentor matching software to remove the human element entirely and rely on an algorithmic choice – or even just match completely at random.
Finally, it’s important to keep the mentoring program going by regularly checking in with mentors and mentees to see how they’re doing and how the experience is working for them. Is there anything you need to change about the program to improve its effectiveness in the future?
Becoming a mentor
Helping somebody, either within your company or in the world, can be very fulfilling.
You can reach out and ask if your company offers a mentoring program and if not, you can contact a senior staff member and request one be created. Alternatively, you can offer to mentor young people by reaching out to schools and universities.
For National Mentoring Month this January, it’s a great opportunity to consider offering your skills and information to somebody who’s developing theirs.
Diversiti UK offers courses that can help mentors and reverse mentors improve their skills. Our course for reverse mentors can help you understand the role and benefits of reverse mentoring, as well as potential barriers and tools and techniques. This can help you build up knowledge across your whole organisation and close gaps in experience.