Providing mentorship opportunities for your employees can be a great way for staff to develop new skills, not to mention the benefits from an employee engagement perspective. Mentorship can be beneficial to both new employees and staff who have been with your organization for some time.

A typical mentorship relationship would be arranging for each new employee (mentee) to be paired with an experienced employee (mentor). This arrangement should last for a number of weeks or months. Meetings should be at least somewhat formal and should occur on a regular basis. In other words, the meetings should go beyond two employees just connecting for coffee to talk about their latest favourites on Netflix. Having a framework for the program will ensure that the experience is relatively the same for each mentee. You can also set-up a program that is geared to current employees who have been with your organization for a while. For example, pairing an individual with a manager could be part of developing the mentee for a leadership role. Of course, this can be done in conjunction with succession planning or another similar initiative. The benefits of the program for the mentor should also not be underestimated. For instance, an employee without formal leadership experience could be provided with the opportunity to mentor a new employee. This will provide the mentor with some informal leadership experience, which will likely benefit them moving forward. As well, mentees will come to the organization with some great experience, which can ultimately enhance the mentor’s learning. When deciding how to pair mentees and mentors, there are a couple of ways to do this: you may want to pair employees who have similar work – for example, both are accountants or both are welders – or you may want to pair employees who typically wouldn’t connect, say pairing an administrative assistant with one of your sales people. Although components of mentorship can be related to onboarding for new employees, it’s ideal to separate the two processes. To do so, ensure that the mentor is someone different than the person who will be doing the majority of the onboarding for the new staff member.

Joining a new organization can be nerve-racking; a mentor-mentee relationship can help reinforce for the new employee that they made the right move in accepting employment with your company. A mentorship program – whether for new and/or existing employees – can be a simple and cost effective way to build employee engagement and develop skills for both mentees and mentors. A mentorship program can pay off big for your organization, yet doesn’t need to be a significant time commitment for any of the parties involved.

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