What factors do candidates weigh up when considering a job offer? Salary? of course, the role? certainly – but just as important is the opportunity to grow. One of the most frequently asked questions by candidates when we recruit for a client is: ‘what will this employer do to support my career development?’ This requires more than just a lip service response. It needs concrete evidence, that you, as an organisation, value your people, their development, and their future – even if their future isn’t ultimately with you. That’s why the best companies to work for offer mentoring schemes.
Even more than money, professional growth and development is the key driver to successfully engage millennial employees. But it’s not just the under 35’s who care about training and developing new skills. Most of us want to learn – irrespective of age, gender, background or stage in our career – we all want the opportunity to grow and develop. As an employer, offering to help someone fulfill their potential is a very powerful message. Especially if you can demonstrate how.
Workplace Mentoring Schemes
Providing a workplace mentoring program is one of the most effective and valuable ways to offer development and training opportunities to your employees. The relationship between Mentor and Mentee offers the possibility of more than just the transfer of advice, knowledge, and insight. At it’s best it’s a relationship that’s mutually beneficial, helping to develop your emerging talent whilst giving more experienced performers the opportunity to reflect on their own goals and practices. It’s a cost effective way of enhancing both skills and practice. Done well, it engages both your new and existing staff, and its success is demonstrable. In 2012 Deloitte found that retention is 25% higher for employees who have engaged in company-sponsored mentoring.
Benefits of Mentoring
The direct business benefits of mentoring are compelling, it boosts the performance of both Mentee and Mentor and enhances the culture of your organisation – from the inside out. Some key benefits include:
- Guidance and encouragement for new or junior employees
- Identifies potential and emerging talent
- Fosters an ‘always’ learning culture
- Encourages senior leaders to reflect on their own development and future goals
- Shortens the ‘learning curve’ for new skills and knowledge transfer
- Develops a Leadership pipeline
- Promotes diversity
- Personalizes your employee brand and culture
- Assists in overcoming career hurdles and transitions
Differentiating yourself from the competition
The chances are that the best candidates are considering more than one option when it comes to their next career move. As they weigh up their options they will be asking themselves:
- What is it like to work for this company?
- How is this company going to support my career growth and progression?
Deciding between a company with an outstanding reputation but with a sink or swim culture and a company with an outstanding reputation and a culture which nurtures its top talent via an established mentoring scheme, doesn’t sound like a difficult choice.
Companies that can offer a professional and effective mentoring program create a very powerful point of difference between themselves and their competitors who don’t. All the more reason to make sure you shout about it. It’s never been more critical to focus on communicating your culture of learning and career growth to prospective candidates.
Mentoring is not just for your newest employees
The good news is that a mentoring scheme can be beneficial throughout your employee’s career. Recently we spoke to Margaret Sargent, VP of Production Excellence at Shell, who has experienced the value a mentor can bring, despite coming to it at a later stage. Hear what she had to say in the clip below:
Mentoring can really help at various points in a career. Mid-career, is a time when employees may be considering an exit and need to make decisions about their future. Whether it’s to look at new opportunities, leadership options or career breaks – sometimes it’s difficult territory to navigate. Research shows that it’s at these critical junctures in employees careers’ that individual mentorin can make a real difference. There are times, no matter how experienced, that we all need a sounding board.
So, if fostering talent is critical to the trajectory of your organisation, then mentoring is one of the most effective ways to develop both new and existing employees. By investing in your talent, you will find that the most powerful advocates of your employee brand are your greatest assets – the people that work for you.