Mentoring Relationships Helps Companies Thrive
Recently, I was asked to speak at a National Conference for Accountants. The topic I was asked to speak on was the importance of the mentoring relationship in the corporate arena. I accepted the assignment and began to gather my thoughts on the topic and do my research. It didn’t take long for me to really understand the major importance of being a mentor and the equal importance of being a mentee.
Last year, a colleague of mine made an interesting observation. They observed that I was constantly mentoring others and sharing my knowledge in an attempt to help others grow and succeed personally and professionally. Although they admired that trait in me, they also commented that they didn’t notice anyone mentoring me. It was then recommended that I find some mentors that were doing so much more and better than me that I might almost feel dumb in their presence. That was an interesting challenge. It’s great to feel like the smartest person in the room, but who wants to feel like the dumbest in the room. Let’s face it, there is plenty that we don’t know. I accepted the challenge.
I identified a couple of business persons that were extremely successful and that I respected. I invited them to separate lunches to start a mentoring relationship primarily by starting a friendship. It was astonishing the information they shared with me over a lunch that I used to grow my business and develop personally. The information was sitting on the top of their head and the tip of their tongue waiting to be shared.
Mentoring is a necessary part of the growth and development of your talent pool in your organization. It’s no surprise that more than 80% of management and senior executive recruits change employers within two years of hire. Mentoring is when a role model, or mentor, offers support to another person. A mentor has knowledge and experience in an area and shares it with the person being mentored. The primary focus of the mentoring relationship is to educate and motivate.
Developing a mentoring program in your company is an excellent way to transfer knowledge and increase performance among your staff. A recent edition of the Harvard Business Review highlighted this topic in a casestudy. Avnet, Inc., one of the world’s largest distributors of semiconductors, connectors, etc., began a mentoring program. The goal was to enhance talent development as well as succession planning. Mary Ann Miller, is their VP of Talent and Organization Effectiveness. After conducting a global employee survey, Mary Ann found that additional development opportunities was appealing to their staff. She knew that mentoring would be one important component in attracting and retaining the best talent. The following outcomes were identified as a result of the mentoring program:
Reduces learning curve for new hires
- Reduces learning curve for new hires
- Enhances job satisfaction for the mentor and mentee
- Helps reduce turnover
- Builds long-term relationships and mutual respect
Ann also has a mentoring relationship w/ one of the group Presidents, and they meet on a monthly basis. The goal of their meetings is to focus on her overall professional development. Therefore, they try not to talk about day-to-day work issues. Her mentor also provides feedback on his observations of her in meetings or other various settings. The dialogue may even venture into personal topics to assist with personal development as well as professional development.