3 Ways To Create A Corporate Culture That Values Mentorship


According to an Olivet Nazarene University study, 76% of professionals see the value in having a professional mentor—yet only 37% of people currently have one. An increasing number of workplaces are shifting toward remote and hybrid setups, which makes fostering a relationship between seasoned and new employees much more challenging—and yet much more critical.

Mentorship programs give early-career employees and tenured staff a chance to connect, establish personal rapport, and develop professional common ground. While those bridges are ideally built in person, letting them fall by the wayside in all-remote or hybrid environments deprives new employees and their teams of critical building blocks.

If you want to recommit to mentoring or start it outright, there’s no time like the present! January is National Mentoring Month, marking a time to set new goals and plan to better support your employees in the new year. For hiring managers who feel overwhelmed by the idea of having to launch a new program, there are mini-mentoring options that can deliver a big return on investment. Check out the following three strategies to help develop talent.

1. Pay attention to your seasonal workers.

The National Retail Federation projected that retailers hired between 500,000 and 665,000 temporary workers during the 2021 holiday season, up significantly from the 486,000 seasonal workers brought in during the 2020 holidays. If your company was one of the many that went on a hiring spree to keep up with the rush, you might have some employees who are interested in staying on and growing with your organization.

Often ignored by corporations, seasonal workers represent an exceptional pool of untapped talent that could be a great fit for other areas of your business. Integrity Staffing Solutions CEO Megan Couch suggests that organizations listen to what seasonal workers are seeking, and work to keep them in the fold.

“Instead of ignoring candidates who might not be the best fit, take the time to listen to what temporary talent wants in a role—or their career,” Couch said. “You might find that their experience and aspirations perfectly match other opportunities at your organization.”

Finding solid candidates is often one of the toughest challenges for a hiring manager. Recruiting full-time positions from your seasonal worker pool allows you to assess and interview a broader range of qualified candidates, ultimately speeding up the hiring process.

2. Conduct stay interviews.

Filling open positions can be expensive. With Gallup estimating the average cost ranging from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary, it’s far more cost-effective to focus on employee retention—and that’s where “stay interviews” can be beneficial.

Think of a stay interview as the opposite of an exit interview. Rather than asking employees why they quit, these one-on-one conversations center on what motivates employees, where they think they can improve, and where they see their career moving within the organization. When conducted thoughtfully, these conversations can have myriad benefits. They empower employees to voice their opinions more thoroughly than on other platforms. And companies can use whatever feedback is collected to improve, build trust, and boost retention.

When hosting these dialogues, try to listen more than you speak. The objective here is to gather all the information needed to create a retention plan that meets each employee’s individual needs. Questions about why employees stay, when and why they last looked for a new job, and what your company can do better are good foundational questions. These queries show mentees that you’re invested in their growth and your own.

3. Create training materials that cater to different learning styles.

Training Magazine’s 2020 training industry report estimated that U.S. companies spent an average of $1,100 per employee on training. With so much allocated per worker, companies can adjust their approaches to appeal to different people’s preferred learning styles.

Everyone learns differently, but companies often don’t accommodate these different learning styles when creating training material. For example, asking a subject matter expert to give a lecture could be great for employees who are auditory learners, but it won’t do much for people who learn better through doing. Rather than creating a one-size-fits-all approach, develop individualized plans that cater to each employee’s learning style and professional needs.

First, identify which four primary learning styles (aural, visual, kinesthetic, and reading) are best suited for an employee or group. Once you understand each learning style’s nuances, interview employees individually. Ask them how they learn best and where they feel like they need more training to succeed in their role. From there, you’ll have the information needed to create a learning approach that does more than just check off a box and actually helps your employee succeed.

With more career options than ever before, it’s easy for employees to leave companies where they don’t feel supported. At the end of the day, you want top talent to choose your organization, and offering professional mentoring opportunities can encourage them to do just that. Consider National Mentoring Month your nudge to initiate professional mentoring in your organization.

William Arruda is a keynote speaker, author, co-founder of CareerBlast.TV and creator of the LinkedIn Profile Type Indicator (LPTI) which measures your LinkedIn profile likability and credibility.



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