Modern-Day Mentorship: How it Can Help Your Small Business

Despite new technology and a changing business world, guidance and mentoring remain deeply important. Here's how to make it work...

Modern-Day Mentorship: How it Can Help Your Small Business

Once deemed as necessary to achieve successful career growth, the concept of a mentoring programme hasn’t really changed over the years; yet still we find many businesses no longer using them. In the past, a hierarchy system was the norm; however, in this day and age, our approach to forming new relationships with other business professionals has changed.

Be that as it may, at CV-Library, our recent survey revealed that 94.1% of UK workers still believe that having someone they can receive guidance from is beneficial to career progression.

Yet, less than a quarter of employees have actually been offered any form of mentoring by their employer, indicating this is no longer a priority to businesses.

So if mentorships aren’t what they used to be, why are they still relevant in today’s world?

Three-quarters of employees state that having a mentor would help them to feel more valued at work, which suggests that having a mentorship programme in place is still very significant in today’s society.

Businesses looking to retain their talent should, categorically, consider offering staff the chance to have a mentor if they want to prevent employees from leaving.

What’s more, businesses would also benefit from mentoring programmes as they encourage employees to work towards their career aspirations and bring new skills to the table.

It’s evident that mentoring still plays a significant part in career growth, so businesses should take heed of the following approaches to modern-day mentoring if they’re going to continue motivating their workforce.

Peer to peer mentoring

Research shows that 72.9% of workers are happy being mentored by someone who is younger than them, which indicates that mentorships are no longer about seeking advice from older peers.

Employers, therefore, should be encouraging their staff to interact with each other by enabling them to set aside some time for weekly or monthly knowledge-sharing sessions where they can talk about the skills they’ve learnt and how they’re implementing these within the workplace.

This encourages two-way mentorships, meaning businesses don’t need to worry about only one person getting value out of the time away from work.

Enable access to online tools

The internet has opened up a host of resources; no longer do we need to only look to our peers for information when we can open up Google and ask a question.

Although this isn’t a substitute for having a real mentor figure who workers can approach for advice and information, the internet does lend other alternatives.

Businesses should look to provide access to online tools: for example, letting employees listen to seminars which are relevant to their role or allowing them to connect to other professionals through social media. If a company mentoring programme isn’t in place, businesses should ensure staff know where they can access these online tools and how to use them effectively.

Encourage attendance at external networking events

These days there are so many events aimed at the UK’s working professionals.

They are the perfect place to meet other like-minded workers and offer a wealth of information such as key trends, training courses and presentations.

Employers should be encouraging their workforce to attend these as regularly as possible and arrange to have business cards made up so that staff can hand these out to their prospective role models.

Another incentive to ensure workers are taking advantage of these events is for businesses to pay employees’ expenses, as this will provide them with the opportunity to attend an event they may not otherwise have been able to afford.

Funding these events will also contribute towards boosting office morale as employees will feel they are a valuable member of the team.

Manager or mentor?

It’s common for employees to ask their managers for guidance and advice, especially when they’re new to the role, but there will be times when a manager must prioritise and make informed decisions.

Managers should be aware of this if they’re going to act as a mentor and ensure there’s a balance if the mentoring is going to work for both parties.

For this reason, businesses that do decide to establish their own formal mentoring programme should always aim to connect two employees from different departments and discourage managers from mentoring the juniors in their own team.

What’s next when it comes to mentoring?

It’s clear to see that mentoring still plays a big part in the world of business and, although mentoring can now be implemented in other ways to the old hierarchy system, having someone to look up to still goes a long way to providing successful career growth.

It’s recommended, therefore, that businesses set up their own internal mentoring programme; however, whilst this may be plausible for some, other companies may not have the resources to do so.

In this instance, employers should be open to these other forms of mentoring and encourage staff to approach their managers for support when seeking out a mentor themselves.

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