Mentoring is an agreement between two parties i.e. the mentor and the protégé (working candidate- learner). The nature of the mentorship decides the learning content and advices of the mentor. In the corporate world, mentoring is an arrangement between the experienced old candidate and a new candidate. Some recruiters provide an opportunity for the new talent to prove themselves. However, these new candidate require a bit of training and mentoring. Therefore mentoring is a part of the company culture. However, with the advancement in the Information Technology, mentoring roles have been reversed a bit. Old employees are given the required training by the new ones to get up to date with the upgrade. The mentor is responsible to give advices and guide them to acquire required skills. In the Indian culture mentor is also known as the ‘guru’. However, if the mentor is an immediate supervisor he or she is equal to a coach rather than a mentor. Mentoring is a solution to the managerial problems in the corporate sector for the newbies.
How Does the Mentoring Program Begin? (On what basis)
A mentor is someone who is experienced in a certain department. He or she must have the knowledge, experience and a successful approach. At times a mentor may decide who he or she would like to guide based on the passion he sees in the mentees. Mentoring is a purposeful process, which has the mutual consent of both the parties. The mentor does not limit his or her approach until shadowing his protégé. Great mentors are the basic pillar in the future developments of the company. However, for the successful training it is required that the mentor himself is well prepared.
Types of Mentoring:
There are four types of workplace mentoring i.e. formal mentoring and informal mentoring, peer mentoring and group mentoring.
1. Formal mentoring:
Formal mentoring is a process where two parties, preferably of the same department, are paired together in a mentor-mentee relationship. Here, both the older as well as the junior (new employee) share a relationship of a teacher-student, which is assigned as a responsibility of the mentor. At times, this one on one relationship may be a result of replacement. When an experienced employee is about to retire or resign he or she is replaced by another candidate. Thus, the mentor-mentee relationship indirectly works for the company’s capital benefit. It saves the cost of training of the new employees. Moreover, it also saves the time. Therefore, one can say that there is an indirect relation between the mentor and the training management.
2. Informal mentoring:
Informal mentoring is a voluntary process. Informal; the word itself defines the relationship of the mentor and mentee in this process. Comparatively to the formal or the classical way of mentoring this process makes it easier for both the employees to get along and learn from the other. Generally, seasonal employees perform these tasks. Mentoring, here, is a type of career guidance program that the employees provide to the new workers. Moreover, this relationship has no fixed structure; the mentor may anytime call off the verbal agreement of mentoring.
3. Peer mentoring:
Peer mentoring does not always require people of different ranks. People from the same rank (for example the employees) can form a supportive group to help each other. This supporting group does a group mentoring by discussing about the current issues and challenges. Based on the challenges, they provide strategic advices and information to each other. Peer mentoring not only increased the relationship of the employees but also help the company in being productive. Moreover, it also provides elasticity in of the group i.e. any employee of different rank can form a group of the similar level people and find a definite solution.
4. Group mentoring:
Group mentoring is also called as team mentoring. Here, a senior worker guides all the junior mentees in a group. These groups of junior mentees go through a timely scheduled meeting, once in a week or month. This method helps in improving and getting familiar with the company environment. Moreover, the timely meeting in a group also increases the motivating factor in the trainees. These meeting sometimes include a structural outline like the formal way of mentoring. However, informal mentoring method is also put to work at times. Here, the competitive spirit of working and striving better is encouraged due to the majority of the trainees.
The Advantages of Job Mentoring:
To understand the need for job mentoring in a better way, one must first understand the advantages of job mentoring. Job mentoring is a process of teaching and learning, like the school’s teacher-student relationship. However, here the relationship grows under the shadow of the corporate sector.
1. Acclimatized atmosphere to work:
A new surrounding always comes with new challenges. Thus, some people utterly dislike the changes or specifically the new changes. However, when an employee gets into a new working environment mentoring helps him or her as it works as a factor that helps the employee settle into the new working environment sooner. Having a mentor to guide or ask queries to, it becomes easier to get familiar with the company’s policies, work system, work process, staff and employees, and the company culture. The mentee becomes more acquainted with the company in lesser time due to the guidance of a mentor.
2. Instant feedback with a sense of accomplishment:
The first target of any new employee is to do something productive and achieve a certain amount of appreciation. Appreciation can undoubtedly serve as a driving force to strive better. When a newly hired employee is paired with a mentor, he or she looks forward to complete the given task appropriately and gain the appreciation. This on a longer run also keeps the employee motivated to strive for betterment. As a result, the employee turns into a productive and trustworthy asset for the company. Thus, indirectly it benefits both i.e. the employer and the employee.
3. Job satisfaction and enhanced confidence (for mentor):
A position that is given respect from the people is the position you feel proud of (yourself). Similarly, the job of mentor may include training an employee who would not know much about what he or she is supposed to do. However, mentoring provides him with the guidance of mentor, which benefits him. On the similar note, the mentor not only receives respect from the employee he or she is training but also gains a sense of satisfaction. This sense of satisfaction may be due to the help he or she provided to the newly hired or due to the self-satisfaction of being capable to guide someone. Moreover, it also boosts the relationship between the employees. In an indirect manner, this is also a chance for the mentors to self train his or her supervisory skills. On a brighter side, even after the retirement of the mentor, the employee will remember the professional reputation and grace.
4. Self-development with stronger problem solving skills:
Any business requires a good amount of strategic working, problem solving skills and strong communication. Without these skills, an employee would be inefficient to work in the company. However, these skills are not in born. Individuals have to work in order to develop these skills. Mentoring in the workplace is a clever solution for developing these skills. This not only improves the productivity of the employee but also increases the quality of business. Mentored employees are relatively more developed with these skills. These skills can not only improve the employee on a personal level but also help the business flourish along with personal success.
5. Improved satisfaction, loyalty and positive working environment:
Mentoring is a training process that enhances the ability of the newly hired workers. This indirectly limits or eliminates the amount of silly mistakes in work. As a result, the amount of losses decreases comparatively for the employer. Lesser amount of losses means that the employer is able to expand the profit in business successfully. The employer is greatly benefited from this program. Moreover, the mentor-mentee relationship strengthens the ability of the learner, as a result the newly hired are more confident about their work. This increases their confidence in themselves and promotes in building a positive environment in the office. Positive working environment is an efficient way of boosting the loyalty of the workers towards the company and the employer.
6. Necessary guidance and contacts (for newly hired):
Well, a mentor is a person who has already acquired a successful position in the company. He or she not only has a good experience of the struggling years and present times but also abundance amount of strategies and contacts. Making contacts in any industry is the beginning of your existence. However, the process is not as easy as you think it to be. To connect to various people of different positions, takes years of hard work and networking. A mentor has already been through the years of struggle and has innumerable contacts to provide you. The contacts of your mentor may help you in more ways than you can think.
Now that you have learnt about the advantages of job mentoring, let us have a look at the disadvantages. To make an appropriate decision regarding enrolling yourself into mentoring program one must need to look at both the aspects.
The Disadvantages of Job Mentoring:
Job mentoring is indeed a helpful way, through which the employee, employer and the mentor develop. However, the cons of the mentoring may not be ignoring totally.
1. Generation gap hampers the process:
The mentor is assigned the task of training a newly hired person. However, the employee (mentor) has no choice but to train the newbie. As a result, they share a forced relationship, which may hamper the growth of the newly hired person all together. Moreover, generation gap between the senior and junior employees may lead to dissimilar ideas. This can further lead to a not-so smooth relationship. This forced and unwilling relationship can ruin the productivity of the mentee and make him feel unwelcome in the company. This will further wreck the working atmosphere too.
2. Slow friction may lead to frustration:
Which factors trigger your frustration? Have you ever listed them down? If you ever have tried listing them down, then you must have noticed that ‘waiting for something’ is the #1 trigger that leads to frustration. Similarly, mentoring is a patient process, wherein both the members should patiently work with each other. However, if a mentee is unable to improve his or her performance in a certain time, the level of frustration in the mentor increases. This frustration decreases the quality of motivation and guidance for the mentee. Moreover, on not being guided properly, the mentee starts feeling frustrated too. This frustration can have dire effect on the career of the mentee. Thus, in a situation as such the mentee is advised to switch his or her mentor.
3. Mentoring is subjective based on the mentor’s mentality:
In a mentor-mentee relationship, the mentor has a very important role. The mentor is responsible to provide necessary skills and training to the assigned employee. However, the work of the mentor is subjective and based upon his mentality. This makes it harder for the mentee to learn things out of the box. The mentor may only teach what he or she thinks is important. Thus, the scope for development is very limited.
There are innumerable pros and cons of the job-mentoring program. However, understanding all the aspects of the program is essential before deciding in or against the program. The benefits that I have listed above may outnumber the drawbacks but the drawbacks are not limited to those. However, the number of drawback and benefits should not affect the decision. Moreover, there is always a scope for solution. Businesses requires good problem solving skills. On a similar note, employers, employees and mentor should always look forward to solve the problems that occur in the way of the job-mentoring program.