MENTORING IN THE WORKPLACE: DISCOVER THE BENEFITS TO YOUR BUSINESS
It’s National Mentoring Day – a day created to recognise the importance of mentoring in the workplace for the individual, business, and employees. Held annually on 27th October, the mission is to make ‘mentoring accessible to any individual, child, business, or group that needs it, regardless of age, background, or ethnicities.’
Mentoring within the business
Can you commit one hour to mentor someone today?
That’s what National Mentoring Day is encouraging individuals to do: ‘One word, one hour, one person can be all that's needed to effect a positive change in someone.’
When you start having conversations with your employees about mentoring in the workplace, take the time to peel back the layers. At first glance, it may appear to be a ‘job’, another task to add to an already overflowing ‘to-do’ list. However, when you look deeper at the benefits mentoring can have within a business and externally, you start to see the value it adds, not the time it takes.
So, what positive changes can come from giving one person an hour of your time on a regular basis?
Between 2019 and 2020, there was a 30% increase in the number of people working from home. Hybrid working may have risen in popularity due to the Coronavirus forcing us to adapt, but figures show that what started as a reaction to a crisis is fast becoming a role requirement.
According to the Office of National Statistics, hybrid working is on the rise. In May 2022, the ONS recorded that 24% of employees worked on a hybrid basis - an increase of 11% from the figure recorded three months earlier.
Hybrid and remote working creates challenges when it comes to workplace culture. In some cases, colleagues rarely meet face-to-face, and the chance to interact with different departments whilst grabbing a coffee doesn’t present itself very often. It’s not uncommon for your workforce to not know who is in your business beyond the teams with whom they regularly interact.
This can negatively impact the company culture and employee experience, but mentoring can help.
When you establish a process where employees shadow each other in their daily tasks, you create opportunities to meet new people and understand how the different departments operate and interlink.
Elaborating on the point above, when your employees aren’t exposed to other key business functions, it can lead to departments and teams working in silos. Siloed working impacts businesses of all sizes and is where individuals or groups do not wish to integrate, collaborate, or share knowledge with others.
Silos create barriers in the workplace which can lead to conflict and can negatively impact individual and organisational performance. Mentoring is not the only response to tackling silos within your business, but it’s an effective measure to implement.
Creating mentoring opportunities across departments allows employees to see the excellent work taking place beyond their own team. It's also an opportunity to increase colleague appreciation and highlight potential improvements. Better still, your employees will start visualising what they can achieve when they step out of their silos and work collaboratively to reach the overall business goals.
Do you have members in your team who aspire to be managers or team leaders? Then why not include mentoring within their development plan?
Set personal objectives based on owning and leading mentoring opportunities, which could include supporting new employee training initiatives. It will boost morale and confidence and allow you to scope out your future leaders.
Cross-department mentoring also allows employees to progress professionally, learn new skills and business areas and set personal goals.
mentoring in the community: social value & csr
Establishing work experience placements and mentoring programmes for those within your community is a great way to improve your organisation’s social value. It also enhances your brand exposure, image, and position within your community – globally and locally.
Youth Work Experience
Creating student work experience placements within your business is another opportunity to further the development of your employees and your position within your local community.
Create a schedule that covers various business areas and exposure to all levels, encouraging employees to take ownership of specific tasks. Not only are you creating internal learning and growth opportunities, but you also have the privilege of shaping the future of the student/s on placement.
“I have gone to every sector of the business, and everyone I have talked to has been so kind. I have learnt copious amounts in the past seven days - more than in a classroom! It has been very eye-opening and such an outstanding experience.
The plan was so vast, and I got to see which parts of the business I liked and which parts I didn't like so much. I will miss going to Sodexo every day as I enjoyed it so much.” Harry Bancroft, Work Experience Placement, 2022, Sodexo Engage
Set the goal of becoming an employer of choice for the next generation of workers by establishing a work experience programme within your organisation today.
SheWorks is a global Sodexo initiative, partnering women with a Sodexo employee and shadowing them in the business for a day. On a local level, Sodexo Engage uses the SheWorks initiative to support women from our community, empowering and creating new job opportunities for them.
Established in 2019, SheWorks also supports women eager to enter industries that lack female representation, and the scheme has seen its participants successfully apply for promotions and further their careers.
Recognition and Reward
When you create mentoring opportunities for employees across your business, you pave the way for a collaborative approach to recognising excellent performance. Establishing a recognition strategy where colleagues can nominate each other will help nurture a culture of collaboration and create a positive working environment.
You could even create a group award for your Mentoring Champions and reward their brilliance with a Celebration Package to be enjoyed as a team – regardless of the department they work in. Once you open your employees’ minds to how mentoring can improve collaboration and morale, there’ll be no stopping them.
Get in touch with our expert team today to find out how Sodexo Engage can help support your employee engagement and recognition strategies.