When it comes to mentoring, there are two key roles: the mentor and the mentee. Mentoring roles are often given to people in organisations without really any understanding of what they mean or how they can be beneficial. Many people view mentoring as simply passing knowledge from one person to another, without thinking about how this information connects to the mentee or their role.
However, successful mentoring can be hugely beneficial for businesses, offering strength in knowledge and the opportunity to improve employee morale. It’s especially important for customer services teams or businesses with defined processes that need to be followed.
In this article, we’ll look at how a person can be a mentor or a mentee, and the benefits of a successful mentoring relationship.
What is a mentoring programme?
A mentoring program is a structured relationship between two people either in the workplace or academic setting. The principles behind a successful mentoring program realise the importance of productive conversations and actions that can lead to meeting defined goals or career development objectives.
Mentor mentee relationship benefits
A successful mentor and mentee relationship can provide many benefits for the participants and the wider business.
Perhaps the key aim of a mentorship, skill-sharing is also a huge benefit of a mentor and mentee relationship. The benefit is mainly for the mentee who will gain skills and experience from their mentor which they can use to be successful in their job role.
However, skill-sharing is also beneficial for the mentor who could learn from the mentee. As a side skill, the mentor may learn how to develop their leadership or relationship building skills.
Sharing skills is beneficial from a business perspective because it increases expertise that people have across the business. These skills can be used to further grow the business, passing down knowledge as employees get promoted.
By working closely with one another, mentors and mentees will naturally collaborate and develop their skills in this area. This is beneficial for everyone, with increased collaborationproven to improve productivity, loyalty and employee engagement.
A study by Queens University of Charlotte found that 53% of millennials felt a mentoring relationship with their manager would improve their value and productivity.
Being a new employee can be daunting, everything is a learning curve and it’s difficult to know where to go for help. However, using successful mentoring techniques, these employees have someone to guide them through those first few days and beyond.
Mentorships are a huge benefit for new employees, helping them to feel part of the team and settle in with the business.
A successful mentor mentee relationship is a really good way to develop and progress careers for both parties. The mentee has the benefit of gaining abilities and knowledge that could help them perform well in their job role. Mentors learn leadership and relationship building skills which can help with career advancement into more senior positions.
Sustaining customer service
While mentoring can work in any business function, it is particularly useful in customer services. When a business is going through a growth stage, good customer service levels must be maintained and good employees retained. This is because they know the business inside out and can mentor new employees, passing down their wisdom as they progress into new roles.
Our advocate mentoring program is a great example of how mentoring can be used when scaling and scaling and sustaining your customer service department.
How can you ensure a successful relationship between mentor and mentee?
When it comes to mentorships, you can’t just place two people together and hope a partnership will work. There are several do’s and don’ts to consider when pairing a mentor with a mentee.
Do align personalities
When pairing a mentor and mentee, you should always ensure their personalities are aligned or complement each other.
Do encourage open communication
At the beginning of a relationship, mentors and mentees should be upfront about communication, each explaining what they would like to get out of the mentorship.
Don’t forget to set realistic expectations
Expectations should be defined from the start of the relationship. Mentors and mentees should set out their roles and responsibilities and what they would like to gain from the pairing.
Don’t be unreachable
For a mentorship to be successful, each party should be in regular contact with the other. Responding to emails, answering phone calls and providing or asking for guidance are all imperative for success.
Do be reliable
Reliability is a key aspect of any successful mentor mentee relationship and applies to both parties. The more reliable and consistent each person is, the more successful the partnership will be.
Don’t be limited to one setting
To further improve a mentoring relationship, it’s a good idea for mentors and mentees to connect at any given opportunity. For example, mentors could invite their mentees to any work social events they are attending.
Mentoring in practice
Following the above guidelines for mentors and mentees will set any mentorship on the path to success. The most important thing to remember is to always have realistic expectations and ensure communication skills are maintained throughout the relationship.
A mentoring tip for mentees would be to keep asking for advice and guidance, ensuring they take responsibility for their learning and evaluate any feedback they receive. A great mentor will establish clear action plans from the outset and ensure they are as flexible as possible when helping a mentee achieve their goals.
Establishing a mentoring program doesn’t need to be difficult. You could even start by encouraging employees to take new recruits under their wing. Mentoring can also support your company with the transition into hybrid working, by promoting employee engagement. Read more about how to make hybrid working work for your team here.