A mentor in the workplace is a person who provides guidance to a less-experienced employee, the mentee. A mentor may be another employee of the company or she may be a professional from outside of the company. In either case, the mentor is a role model who shares knowledge and advice to help the employee grow professionally. Mentoring relationships benefit the employee, as well as the employer and mentor, and have long-term advantages.
Benefits to the Employee
An employee benefits from a mentoring relationship because he has someone with greater knowledge and experience to turn to for advice. While a mentor won’t do the employee’s job for him, the mentor may demonstrate a task, guide the employee through solving a problem, or critique the employee’s work. A mentorship may help an employee feel less isolated at work, too, and encourage him to interact more with others. A mentor can provide an employee with tips on career growth and introduce the employee to other professionals. As the employee matures in his career, a mentor may remain a valued adviser to the employee.
Benefits to the Employer
The employer of a mentored employee gains from greater productivity in the workplace. As employees turn to their mentors for advice, they make fewer mistakes on the job, cutting losses to the employer. Employees in mentoring relationships tend to have greater job satisfaction as well, which can mean a more positive work environment. Employers might also notice less turnover of employees as workers feel a greater loyalty to the company. A company might even use its mentoring program to attract new employees.
Benefits to the Mentor
Mentors gain from the mentoring relationship, too. The opportunity to teach or advise others can increase the mentor’s confidence and own job satisfaction. The mentor is required to listen to the concerns of the employee and may develop a better understanding of employee issues and stronger communication skills. If the mentor is a supervisor, mentoring can improve her supervisory skills. Even if a mentored employee leaves the company, the mentor and mentee may maintain a professional connection. This may expand the mentor’s reputation and connections.
Benefits to the Profession
Mentoring in the workplace can have long-term benefits as employees become more self-directed and develop stronger communication and problem-solving skills. This allows for a business to become more creative and focus its attention on growth, rather than training. Mentored employees value collaboration and sharing of information, which can lead to a stronger organization. Mentored workers are also apt to become involved in professional organizations that further both their careers and the profession itself.