Sometimes the result of an established program and sometimes a natural occurrence, mentoring is a useful tool in the business world. Mentoring arrangements match a more experienced employee with a less experienced one for the purpose of teaching and grooming new and promising talent. Mentees benefit from the experience and support of their mentor, and mentors get to share their experience and knowledge. Ultimately, this relationship increases productivity, decreases employee turnover, and grooms employees without less need for outside educators or consultants. It also creates a more cohesive workplace by matching diverse individuals and allowing them to learn from each other.
Provide Real-World Training
Things often work a bit differently in the real world from how they do in a classroom setting. A mentor's job is to help trainees and new recruits discover and navigate these differences so they can succeed on the job. Mentors use real-life experiences to help mentees see a job as it truly is. Working with a mentor allows an employee to get hands-on experience and provides a safe place to get advice when things don't go as planned. For example, an employee would likely rather talk to a mentor about a problem with a customer order than he would the big boss. The mentor can help the employee solve the problem and learn from the experience without the intimidation factor a manager might cause.
Personal and career growth occur outside the boundaries employees set for themselves, and it is a mentor's job to push a mentee beyond her perceived limits. A good mentor will encourage a mentee to take on special projects she thinks are beyond her. This helps the mentee gain new experiences and build confidence while teaching her to trust her skills and knowledge. It may also help the mentee identify areas where there is room for improvement. A mentor helps a mentee set attainable, measurable goals -- for example, increasing sales by 10 percent in a retail environment -- and then helps guide her toward achieving those goals.
Model Appropriate Behavior
Good mentors are role models. By modeling good habits and practicing what they preach, they show mentees how to do the job correctly by following established guidelines and best practices. Mentees with positive role models tend to make better choices and perform better throughout their careers. Businesses adopt certain polices and procedures for a reason, and a good mentor accepts that and teaches a mentee to do the same, even when the policy might seems impractical to the mentee. This ensures that quality standards are met and that customers receive consistent service.
Provide a Network
Those new to a particular field or career won't have many business contacts or favors to call in, which makes getting the job done difficult at times. Mentors introduce mentees to key players in their field. This ushers mentees into a professional network and establishes useful connections, creating a sense of connectivity and belonging that reduces employee turnover. It also supports a team environment that benefits the entire organization. Mentors may also introduce mentees to important clients with whom they have already established important inroads.