Finding and hiring great talent is a near-constant priority for leaders of growing companies. And while attracting the right people to one’s business is crucial, it’s equally important to have a strategy in place to retain and grow employees in a way that maximizes their contributions as well as their satisfaction and professional development. Leaders, however, often find it difficult amid their ongoing demands to implement such a strategy and regularly dedicate time to it. Establishing an HR mentoring program is an effective way to provide this positive guidance for employees and simultaneously strengthen a company’s overall capabilities and simultaneously enable functional leaders to focus primarily on their core competencies and responsibilities.
At its core, HR mentorship is designed to enhance individual staff members’ career development through a collaborative, knowledge-sharing relationship with an HR leader who serves as their mentor. CEOs and other leaders can sometimes rationalize that this can happen organically in a sufficient manner without a defined program, but that often isn’t the case given other areas they need to stay focused on. Below, we examine some of the key elements, best practices, and benefits of HR mentoring programs.
Key checkpoints and elements of HR mentoring programs
HR mentoring programs are not one size fits all and should be tailored to an organization’s individual needs and attributes. There are, however, common elements that should be a part of every HR mentorship program. For those that do not have a HR mentoring program in place, ask yourself whether you can genuinely say that you focus on employee development and guidance in a way that really addresses these points.
- Maintain regular, recurring meetings and checkpoints
Placing mentoring sessions on the calendar and sticking to them shows that you see employees and their development as important. It also helps to prevent their neglect amidst hectic schedules.
- Establish clear objectives and track progress
It’s essential to understand what mentees want to accomplish long-term and to ensure there’s a win-win relationship between those objectives and what contributions the company needs. Create interim goals and be disciplined about checking progress during connections.
- Create an open dialogue that checks for changes
What an employee is feeling six months from now may shift from what they originally see as their desired direction. Make sure your conversations are seen as safe by encouraging questions, soliciting ideas, and offering constructive feedback.
- Share mentoring success stories
As employees hit certain milestones such as getting a new certification, completing a challenging project, or taking on new responsibilities because of their development, celebrate and promote these accomplishments to encourage others to participate in and benefit from your mentoring program.
Benefits of HR Mentoring Programs
As noted above, HR mentoring programs are mutually beneficial for employers and employees alike when implemented effectively. Specific benefits include:
- Highly engaged workforces
Supporting and solidifying employee engagement is one of the biggest benefits of an HR mentoring program. Employees appreciate when there a continued focus on their broader career trajectory and support is demonstrated for them developing of sharpening skillset.
- Longer tenured and happier employees
HR mentorship provides employees with a consistent opportunity to learn and grow in their position. Simultaneously, the organization benefits from employees that can take on more over time as the company continues to grow.
- Extra support for managers and supervisors
HR mentors can take some of the developmental heavy lifting off of departmental leaders. At the same time, they can also mentor these very same leaders to help them be more effective in their roles. HR mentors often serve as a sounding board for leaders as they grapple with frustrations in their role or look to iron out issues with individual employees
- Reinforcement of Organizational Culture
With HR mentors being able to interface with such a wide variety of employees, each touchpoint is an opportunity to demonstrate characteristics and positive components of a company’s culture so that enterprise-wide alignment can be achieved.
- Identification of broader HR improvement opportunities
HR mentoring also helps employees when they experience challenges in how navigating HR processes or issues that they may not have deep familiarity with or where they see grey areas. Similarly, these points of dialog often surface areas where HR practices or processes may need to be updated or recommunicated with others in the company.
Adopt HR Mentoring for a Stronger Business
Employee development can take on many forms in an organization, but an HR mentoring program can be a vital piece of the development puzzle that pays dividends well beyond the broadened skill sets gained by individual employees. CEOs and other leaders are, of course, pivotal too in developing employees but the demands of their roles leave gaps that HR mentoring can supplement. Growing companies of virtually all types should strongly consider the merits of implementing HR mentoring in their organization.
Curious if you or your organization could benefit from an HR mentorship? Request a free consultation from a vcfo HR expert who can help.