How to Mentor an Employee

A 5-Step Plan to Effectively Mentor Your Employees

Are you looking for a free way to attract and retain employees, hone your employees’ skills and make your business more successful? Look no further than mentoring.

What is employee mentoring?

Mentoring is a relationship where a more experienced person works with a novice, providing guidance, counseling and teaching to help the newbie gain confidence and skills.

Why should you be using mentorship programs?

Because employees today are very concerned about keeping their skills up-to-date and gaining new experiences, mentoring is one of the most desirable perks that job seekers look for. Lots of big companies have formal mentoring programs operated by their HR departments, but a small company can create its own mentoring program at no cost but time.

How to Mentor an Employee

  1. Start by deciding who in your business is a potential mentor and who needs mentoring. If you only have a few employees, perhaps you can mentor them. If you have a bigger staff, consider which more experienced workers have the personality and skills to mentor less experienced employees. Again, you may want to personally mentor top-level workers—it’s highly motivating for employees to work directly with their bosses.
  1. To identify people who need mentoring, hold discussions with workers—review time is a natural time to do this—to probe into their career goals. What skills do they want to learn, and where do they (and you) see areas for improvement?
  1. Look for a business benefit. Mentoring isn’t a purely altruistic process for the benefit of employees—ultimately, the goal is to help your business grow. It’s important to consider what skills your business needs more of and how mentoring can develop them. For example, if you’ve got a shortage of experienced managers and can’t expand as a result, focus on mentoring potential managers.
  1. Integrate the program into your operations. Work with the mentors to develop long-term goals for the mentoring program as a whole and for each individual mentee. Then let the mentors get more specific about short-term goals and the details of how to get there.
  1. Develop a process. Set up schedules for how often mentors should meet with mentees and when they’ll report back to you. Otherwise, mentorship will get lost in the shuffle of everyone’s to-do lists. Make results of mentorship part of employee reviews. Finally, make sure that mentors gain something tangible from mentoring, such as a bonus or an opportunity for a raise or promotion. After all, they are putting in extra work.