Instead of giving a new employee their keys and learning through a trial by fire, many organizations are embracing a mentoring in the workplace program as an alternative. These mentoring programs bring young and experienced workers together, tech-savvy and those not familiar with technology together, and any other combination needed to build-up individual skill levels. Here are the pros and cons of mentoring in the workplace to consider.
What Are the Pros of Mentoring in the Workplace?
1. It helps employees forge meaningful professional relationships.
Mentoring creates relationships where employees will protect one another. Praise on another. Give support to one another at work when it is needed. If an employee doesn’t quit because of their boss, then it’s likely because they have no support network at work. Mentoring in the workplace provides that support network. It doesn’t have to be in that 1-on-1 role either. Mentors can introduce new employees to their entire professional network.
2. It creates productivity levels that are more consistent.
A workplace needs to have a predictable level of productivity in order to operate efficiently. Bringing in a new employee disrupts that predictability until their skill levels can be brought up to appropriate levels – which may take 12+ months. Mentoring in the workplace can dramatically shorten that time period by giving new employees an experienced insight into the expectations which exist.
3. It helps with internal politics.
When you put a group of people together, there will always be political jockeying involved at some level. A mentoring in the workplace program can help to stabilize the gossiping and positioning that each worker does to protect their position. Instead of trying to throw the new employee “under the bus,” this type of system gives new workers the tools they need to insert themselves onto a team almost immediately.
4. It helps new workers begin to speak the company language.
Every company has their own jargon that is used. Mentors help new workers be able to start learning this unique language so everyone can communicate with efficiency. Even highly skilled and experienced workers who can jump right into a project can benefit from a mentor in this regard so that there isn’t an issue with miscommunication that creeps up.
What Are the Cons of Mentoring in the Workplace?
1. There can be enhanced feelings of resentment.
If a mentor is not fully bought into the mission of the company or the role they have been asked to play, then mentoring in the workplace can increase resentment. The mentor will feel like they’re asked to do more than other workers without getting paid more to do it. This will cause the mentor to potentially avoid teaching the new worker what they need to know, which causes even more resentment.
2. It can create loyalty issues.
Many mentoring in the workplace programs find conflict when there are loyalty issues which must be confronted. It can happen on either end of the scale. The mentor and new worker might find legal, ethical, or moral issues that must be addressed internally by the agency and bringing the matter up could threaten a job. A mentor might also discover similar issues in the performance of the worker they are mentoring. When this happens, the choice a mentor must make can often take one of the best workers right out of the workplace.
3. It can create issues with dependence.
New workers can become so dependent on their mentors for advice and support that they cannot function without their presence. When that occurs, a business will begin to lose its creative edge, have issues with productivity consistency, and may even struggle to continue developing independent critical thinking skills. In essence, the company cannot function without the mentor, which places even more pressure on the success of the relationships formed.
4. It takes time to develop high quality mentors.
Mentors don’t just grow on trees. They’re built from the ground up with effective training classes, workplace experiences, and encouragement from the executive team. This means a mentoring in the workplace program is going to cost something before it ever gets started, and it’s not just a monetary cost. Without taking the time to develop good mentors, there can never be a good mentoring program.
The pros and cons of mentoring in the workplace show that it may be a costly program to implement, but can be a system that can create consistent investment dividends as time goes by. Invest into mentors and they will invest back into the company.