It’s hard enough for HR having to determine if someone will fit into the organization. Whether they hired the right person, or passed on them, is something HR has to deal with in addition to many other problems. One way to remedy the problem of bringing in new employees, whether they are the right fit or not, is having mentors. As a mentee, you receive help and information that can improve performance and even organizational commitment. There are also studies that show being a mentor has it’s benefits as well.
Mentoring helps increase organizational commitment because employees feel that they have more to lose by switching jobs (Payne & Huffman, 2005). It also helps when mentors are supervisory rather than co-workers. The relationship takes on more of a teacher and student vibe than a friend vibe. However, despite the type of mentor, it is still beneficial over not having one (Payne & Huffman, 2005).
Having a mentor is more than just receiving helpful tips and information. It also serves as a deterrent for turn over. As humans, we suck at cutting our loses. The more time and energy you have invested, the harder it is to walk away. Mentors, if the relationship is good, can serve as an anchor for employees. Not only will employees feel bad about leaving co-workers, but they will also feel bad about leaving a mentor who has invested time and energy in them.
Mentors can also help to reduce stressors for new employees. It is a great socialization technique because new employees have a direct source for questions about handling job situations. Understanding your job duties are not the only things new employees have to learn. Work environments are micro cultures, and they can differ from place to place. This is why socialization can be so important, because it gets employees acquainted with the environment.
While it is time consuming, and can be expensive, it has it’s benefits for the mentor as well. It helps mentors better understand the business, helps better understand themselves, and is great networking. With a new mind, mentors have a different perspective on things. Mentors get asked questions that will make them see a problem and the company in a new light. Mentees can also help with understanding how mentors interact with the office and people. This can be used to improve not only the mentors work attitude but even their work methods as well. Finally, you never know who will be your boss, so it never hurts to add to your network.
Mentoring also helps to build a more open and collaborative work culture. It makes supervisors seem more approachable, and employees more friendly.
Although everything sounds great, mentoring does have negatives. People may feel like a particular employee is at more of an advantage because of who his mentor is. There can also be cases in which mentors are taken advantage of by their mentees: asking them to pick up laundry, or pay for lunch. This level of authority will make it hard for mentees to say no, especially if threats are involved.
I think that concerns like these can be remedied. Proper training, evaluation based on work and not personal traits, two way evaluations so that mentors know they are being watched, are just a few suggestions that may work.
If mentors are provided with the proper training, and they want to do it, it can be really beneficial to a company. It can help reduce turnover, which has high costs associated with it; can imporve team morralle; and can be really rewarding. Besides you never know, you may end up having a winning combination.