Why mentorship matters
The concept of mentorship is not new. It is how age-old artisanal crafts and skills have been passed on through generations; it is the heart of the apprenticeship learning model; and it is cited most often by successful people as a key factor in their accomplishments.
In trucking and logistics we have many generations working side by side, and quickly changing work environments present a need to balance tried-and-true tricks of the trade with new workplace complexities.
Today, mentorship matters more than ever.
It is also something that employees in trucking and logistics are looking for. Our recent “industry youth” surveys show that the majority of young people are seeking more mentoring and coaching in the workplace. Our “women with drive” surveys have two in three respondents citing mentorship as a tool that would support them professionally.
Mentorship is the process where an experienced worker (mentor) works with and educates a less experienced worker (mentee) to help foster skills development and professional growth. The mentor shares his or her skills, knowledge, techniques, best practices, and experience. It is a personal relationship that can happen informally, or be the result of a structured corporate program.
The benefits of a mentorship culture are numerous. It provides an efficient way to train new people and socialize them to the job, allowing mentees to get more out of training while helping mentors build their coaching skills. It provides you with a pipeline of talent with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes you want in your workplace. It gives experienced employees a meaningful way to contribute to organizational success.
Here are some tips to help you get started with a mentor program, or to fine-tune one you already have:
Link to business goals
You can implement a formal program or encourage more informal mentorship relationships. Both are beneficial, with formalized programs giving you something more concrete to measure at the end. And, I will note that the larger the organization, the more structured your program will likely need to be. Whichever approach you take, the objectives and benefits need to be clearly linked to organizational goals and part of your overall HR strategic plan.
The goals, objectives, and outcomes of your mentorship program should be clear and focused on personal and professional development and not promise career advancement. You also need someone in charge—everyone needs a point person when they want to clarify things, and this person should be accountable in measuring success.
As with any initiative at your business, you need to monitor and assess the business value and return on investment. This will help you identify ways to improve your mentorship program and make it more effective. Whether you use employee surveys or some other tool, be sure you evaluate the success of the program against the organizational goals you established at the beginning.
Make mentorship matter in your workplace. Because investing in your employees’ personal and professional growth sends a clear message that your people matter.
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