Mentoring is one of the oldest methods of supporting an employee in their development and, what is worth emphasizing, a method that take voluntary action and commitment on both sides. It is a long-term process, so it brings far-reaching results in talent management.
It is a unique and elite method – it will not bring great results everywhere. The typical time for a mentoring program in an organization is from 6 to 18 months, but relationships last much longer. It is worth remembering that this is a method of supporting an employee through inspiration (Robert Dilts), which is one of the most motivating methods.
In Polish language the word mentor can be associated with many things, e.g. authority, counselor, patron, etc.
A mentor’s job is to inspire, teach and support. The mentor’s personal experience and willingness to share knowledge are very important. The basic difference between coaching and mentoring is that in coaching, the client comes to his own solutions with the help of coaching questions. Mentoring involves sharing knowledge and usually the solutions come from the mentor, his knowledge and experience.
The task of mentoring as a method is to equip the student (mentee) with new competences by the teacher-practitioner (mentor), as well as their effective training to such a level that the mentee becomes independent in a given field, and thus capable of achieving above-average results. The student is not only supposed to act independently on the basis of new competences, but also to develop existing ones in order to obtain better than standard results. Efficiency is therefore an inherent feature of mentoring. What counts is the result of the mentee.
How does mentoring work for knowledge management?
The knowledge management process in an organization is extremely difficult. Employees acquire knowledge and experience while working, but if an employee leaves, they also take their knowledge with them, which is a natural course of things. Mentoring can be a support if we want to manage not only knowledge, but also the employee’s motivation, both the one who is a mentor and the one who is subject to development mentoring, not patronage mentoring, which follows slightly different principles.
What should you pay attention to when introducing mentoring in an organization? What “non-obvious” benefits can the organization and mentors gain during the process? What is the role of the HR department in this process? Where to start when introducing mentoring?
Of course, you have to answer the question – what purpose you want to achieve, and whether it is the best and most cost-effective process. One of the goals may be precisely to retain knowledge in the organization, experienced employees are usually reluctant to share their knowledge, often due to lack of time and also because no one asks them to do so.
The long-term goal may be to integrate employees from various departments, build a long-term relationship or simply increase the commitment or prepare colleagues for promotion.
When it comes to the short-term goal, it should be very personalized and described by the mentee. Mentoring guru prof. David Clutterbuck has shown in his research that satisfaction with the relationship and its quality for both parties strictly depend on the student having specific goals and / or personal learning goals.
For the organization, an expected or less expected benefit will be the exchange of knowledge about how other departments work. Mentoring process participants often mention it as an added value and inter-departmental communication is much better, which means that people are more effective as a result. Of course, this is a long-term process, it is worth to make the process take place periodically, so that employees know that they can join if they feel the need to do so, but the relationships and effects are also long-term, both on the motivational level and in knowledge management.
A way to manage employee knowledge
Improving communication between departments
Employee motivation management
For mutual comfort, before the sessions we sign a contract that guarantees the following: