How can a mentorship program help to grow a small business?

Every small business owner knows that their company is only as good as their employees. Growing individuals to their maximum potential can pay serious dividends in the long term, though certainly dependent on retaining those individuals. Personal and professional growth depends on a myriad of factors; one of the most important ones is having a mentor. A mentor is a support system where employees can go to ask questions, seek clarity, and learn more about how to add value to the organization.

Mentors provide much needed support not only for new employees, but for veterans seeking to grow in an organization like NuWaves.

NuWaves assigns a mentor to every new employee to help with their transition. Starting a new job is one of the most stressful times for anyone, and having an ally within the organization from day one can reduce that strain. It is recommended that the mentor not be the employee’s supervisor, but should be someone who is well-versed in the company’s culture and has the time and passion to grow others.

Regular meetings (e.g. weekly) between mentor and student should occur to ensure support is provided as necessary. Keep in mind that new employees may not know what they don’t know, so simply saying “Let me know if you have any questions” is not sufficient support from a mentor. The mentor needs to understand what the student is working on and their background, so they can anticipate issues and misunderstandings before they arise.

Mentors must also have adequate bandwidth to provide the needed support, which could vary from among individuals. The mentor needs to understand that it is vital to the organization that new employees are integrated successfully; this is not a secondary task to be done in one’s free time. Mentoring and growing new employees ensures the company stays successful by increasing the talent pool organically. If you’re involved in the hiring process, you understand that it is an expensive investment, and the relationship between employer and employee is strengthened as their network grows.

A mentor is a great asset for a new employee and should be integrated into every company’s hiring process. Even current employees can benefit from a mentorship program by providing a non-supervisor ally to guide and provide feedback. Competition for talent has never been greater, and providing a strong mentor can help small businesses retain those talented individuals by better integrating them into the company. A mentor is the first step to growing that employee’s network and showing them the path to growth, both for the employee and the company.

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