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    Understanding Why Mentoring Is an Important Aspect of a Business

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    Everyone needs someone to lean on from time to time, someone to learn from, who can share knowledge and wisdom, someone to look up to and draw strength from. A mentorship is a relationship where a more knowledgeable and experienced person helps to guide a less experienced and knowledgeable person and is based on communication. In this essay I will explore what makes a good mentor and prove that having mentors in business settings makes businesses better.

    In order to understand why mentoring is an important aspect of a business, one first must understand what makes a good mentor. Some of the characteristics of a good mentor (Richardson, 2005) include:

    • Listening – The mentor listens attentively and gives his or her full attention to their mentee.
    • Guiding – Mentors guide mentees in the direction they want to go, they do not push. Practical – Mentors give insight and advice on keeping on task and setting goals and priorities.
    • Educate – Mentors educate his or her mentees about their own careers and life.
    • Insight – Mentors use personal experience to help mentees avoid mistakes while learning good decision making.
    • Accessibility – Mentors make themselves available to mentees as a resource.
    • Criticize – Mentors provide constructive criticism based on work and behavior, never focusing on a mentee’s character.
    • Supportive – Mentors are always supportive of his or her mentees and encourage mentees to improve and learn.
    • Specific – Mentors give specific advice on what was done well or needs to be corrected. Caring – Mentors care about mentees personal development and progression.

    Successive Mentors should be successive and foster the success of others. Admirable Mentors should be well respected within his or her community. In the business world, any ideas and discussions on how to go about raising the performance of employees should include mentoring. Young employees and middle managers are always looking for someone who can help guide them up the career ladder by providing valuable insight and experience. Additionally, senior employees who become mentors to younger subordinates are more likely to stay up to date on new technology. Mentoring has positive effects on more than just the person being mentored; the effects of mentoring are felt on the employee, the employer, the mentor and even effects the profession as a whole. (Richardson, 2005).

    The employee who is the mentee best benefits from a mentorship because a mentor provides someone with greater knowledge and experience for the mentee to turn to in a time of need. Mentors may demonstrate a task, guide his or her mentee through solving a problem or critique a mentee’s work. Additionally, a mentor may provide a mentee with tips on furthering his or her career and introduce him or her to other fellow employees.

    Employers who participate in mentorship programs among their employees have shown greater productivity than employers who do not participate in a mentorship program. Mentorships have shown to cut down on mistakes made by employees on the job, due to having senior employees to come to for advice; the reduction in on the job mistakes results in cutting loses for an employer. Employers with mentorship programs have also shown to have employees with higher job satisfaction and less turnover rate, leading to a positive work environment that is also conductive in recruiting new, top level employees. (Stone, 2007).

    Mentors, even though they are typically senior level employees, also benefit from mentorships; mentors are often seen as advisors and teachers, which leads to an increase in the mentor’s job satisfaction and confidence. As a senior employee, often with responsibilities in regards to junior employees, listening to the concerns of his or her mentors can provide a better understanding of employee issues and promotes better communication within the work place environment, while potentially improving the supervising skills of the mentor. Additionally, as the mentee moves up to higher positions, he or she becomes a valuable business contact for the mentor. (Stone, 2007).

    Mentorships can also be valuable to a profession as a whole, “providing long-term benefits as employees become more self-directed and develop stronger communication and problem-solving skills. This allows for a business to become more creative and focus its attention on growth, rather than training.” (Tingum, 2013). Furthermore, mentored workers are more likely to become involved in professional organizations that serve to further his or her careers, leading to stronger organizations and strengthening the profession as a whole.

    Knowledge transfer among employees is among the most important traits that is crucial for an organization’s productivity, but an even more important issue to businesses is being able to retain productive employees once that knowledge and success is fostered. One of the most significant benefits of a good mentoring program is that it increases retention, on average, by 33 percent with some companies seeing even higher levels. (Clutterback, 2011). Mentoring helps improve retention by:

    • Making employees feel valued by his or her company.
    • Providing opportunities to build career strategies while providing a safety valve for an employee’s frustrations.
    • Making senior management aware of problems and frustrations by junior employees, allowing for remedial actions to be taken.

    Fostering an environment where employees look for internal job opportunities instead of external job opportunities. (Mentored employees are almost 5 times as likely to look for his or her next job internally than employees who are not mentored) Rekindling a senior employee’s enthusiasm for his or her job. Attracting talented former employees back who have left to join other employers. When searching for his or her next job a former mentee is likely to talk to a former mentor, in whom they trust and have respect for his or her opinion.

    Retention is especially valuable in a time of recession, where employers may reduce the overall number of employees, keeping only the most productive employees whose value increases. When the recession is over, the job market becomes more active and talented employees are more likely to explore job opportunities. While employers cannot keep every talented employee, mentoring helps build a sense of loyalty within the company that increases retention. (Clutterback, 2011).

    Another benefit seen by companies who employ a strong mentorship program are that the company’s employees exhibit a high degree of communication skills that are deemed critical in business. These skills include superior presenting, writing and organizational skills; the increase of these skills can be attributed to a good mentor passing down to his or her junior employees the skills they have honed over many years of services to the company. Mentees are more likely to pick up on skill sets in which his or her mentor excels in, while senior employees have shown improved skills in areas of technology, such as netiquette, where junior employees may be more familiar with newer techniques.

    Furthermore, employees who participate in mentorships are more likely to feel comfortable with his or her coworkers, as per the social penetration theory, which states “that as relationships develop persons communication from superficial to deeply personal topics, slowing penetrating the communicators’ public persona to reach their core personality or sense of self.” (Altman, 1973) As mentees and mentors become closer, a sense of loyalty, closeness and trust is built into the relationship. (Mentoring, 2003).

    The positive effects of a mentorship can be seen and felt by many groups involved, including the mentee, the mentor, the employer and the profession as a whole and include a pass down of knowledge from senior employees to junior employees and vice versa, loyalty, trust and closeness among peers, and an improved retention rate that benefits the company by keeping talented and highly valuable employees within the company.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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