IntroductionLatest studies on managerial learning have acknowledged the importance of on-job training in career advancement. Mentoring programs can assist freshly employed workers to acclimate easily to the organization or push managers to higher levels of leadership within the organization. However, for this to be achieved the mentoring program should be planned well and the mentors should be equipped with enough skills and experience to pass to their mentees.
The following paper looks at three aspects of mentoring program which are, how mentoring programs works, what might be gained by the organization, and the issues involved in mentoring programs both negative and positive.
How mentoring program worksFormulate a clear objective: Reid (1994, p.122) points out that, many organizations are known to be reactive instead of being proactive in relation to mentoring. These organizations may be reactive in attempting to reduce their turnover or in reducing costs.
However, it is vital for an organization to use mentoring as just another of its many options in developing its employees.
Similarly, it is important to understand the key objective of a mentoring program. Supposing the objective is reducing the turnover, then it is fairly simple to evaluate if the program has achieved its objective. Nonetheless, as noted by Reid (1994, p.
122) it is difficult if managers are more effective in their responsibilities after undergoing mentoring for a period of year. Sullivan and Miklas (1995, p.118) on their part observe that, there could be occasions that do not warranty using mentoring program to achieve the set objective. Thus, the organization needs to evaluate its needs well before deciding to use mentoring.
Select the employees to be mentored: the organization should know which employees need to be mentored; this will define the mentor to be used. The target group could be newly employed employees, or frontline managers. After selecting the target group, the next thing is selecting the mentors.Select the mentors: the moment you have selected the group to be mentored, then the organization can identify the possible mentors.
According to Settle (1988, p.61) mentors ought to be two levels ahead of the mentees, this will enable them to give the mentees a better strategic view of the company. The moment the organization has selected the potential mentors, it should then evaluate their skills, all mentors need to have excellent communication skills and good reputation in the organization. More important, mentors should be ready for the responsibility.
As noted by Rogers (1992, p. 50) there are a few people who are experts in what they are doing however, there are not willing to share their expertise with others, while others might just be very busy to create the required time for mentoring.Formulate a structure for the program: many of official mentoring programs go on for a period of one year, Settle (1988, p.61) said.
The organization can decide to have a program that last of more than this period or shorter. The reason for having a specific time frame for mentoring program is that more easy for employees to commit themselves. At the same time, it will allow for others to be mentored in a subsequent program, the next group of mentees could as well use the same mentors. Wright and Werther (1991, p.
26) points out that, some mentees and mentors may continue with their relation although not on formal grounds after the end of a formal mentoring program. Though each group of mentor-mentee should be free to decide on how regularly they can meet, the organization should however assist by providing general guidelines on the issue.Prepare well the mentees, the mentors and the managers: the mentoring program to be successful, each person ought to understand its objectives and the basic rules involved. Thus, the organization should ensure that each person involved understands the how long the program will last and who is going to head the program.
The organization should as well review what the mentors are teach, supposing the program is about leadership skills, then discussion could start with talking about communication techniques. However, this could be expanded to include other issues about leadership (Sullivan and Miklas, 1995, p.118).When a mentoring program begins and there is a great understanding, then as pointed out by Wigand and Franklin (1991, p.
16) the number of subjects can be broaden. Lastly, the organization should ensure that the managers involved understand the manner the program runs and allows their employees to enough time to attend the program. There is a possibility that some managers could end up being uneasy about their employees meeting with senior supervisors. However, they should be assured that this will not affect their role as managers.
Follow ups: after the mentoring program has ended, it is vital for the organization to evaluate how successful the program was. Owing to the fact that discussions between the mentor and the mentees are normally confidential affairs, it might not be simple to establish how successful the program was. However, the organization can always get a general feedback regarding the program from both the mentors and mentees and on areas that need improvements.Benefits of mentoring program to the organizationThere are several benefits that mentoring programs brings to the organization, we shall outline some of the most important, which are:Reduces turnover: among the most important benefits of mentoring program is reducing turnover to the organization, Winkler (1994, p.
47) explains that organizations uses huge resources it faces high turnover. Nonetheless, mentoring results reduces this turnover and this translates to savings for the organization.Offer training to employees: training is necessary but very costly for any organization, however as noted by Zey (1988, p.46) mentoring programs provides training free or at very low cost to the organization.
More so, it is generally focused on specific requirements of individual mentee, better trained workers, increases their performance and the overall performance of the organization.Sense of fulfilment: mentoring programs are essential and are beneficial to both the employees and the organization. The employee is left happier and satisfied this increases the productivity of the organization.Issues arising from mentoringMentoring is meant to increase the knowledge and skills of employees, however pairing some mentees with senior employees could result in problems that hinder the program from achieving its set objectives.
One of the issues that arise is junior or newly employed feel intimidated by their senior mentors and a mentee could even get angry with the mentor (Forret, 1996, p.28). On the hand, if senior employees are paired together, this could result in the feeling of rivalry between the mentor and the mentee, whereby the mentee will feel that though they are at the same level, the mentor (his colleague) has more experienced and with high knowledge. According to Forret (1996, p.
28) poor paring could actual reduce the performance of the organization. He adds that, studies have shown that various bad mentor conduct that includes revenge-seeking, harassment and exploitation.ConclusionFrom the above discussion, we can conclude that recent changes in business environment, new technologies and high competition are some of the issues that have increased the need for mentorship. As explained by Dunham (2003, p.
8) mentoring program works by the organization having clear objectives, deciding how should be mentored and by whom and having proper way of evaluating if the program has been effective. Effective mentor program results in improved individual and organization performance, provides training to employees and creates a sense of fulfilment among employees. However, pairing issues may arise when the mentor-mentee relationship does not work. Nonetheless, as noted by Zagumny (1993, p.
44) mentoring programs are vital within any organization.RecommendationsIn cases where the pairing of the mentee and the mentor does not seem the mentee should be permitted to choose and later change mentors even when the program is going on to avoid the situation to worsen.Organization should provide support system to the mentoring program for it to be effective. The program needs as well to be integrated within the strategic business requirement of the organization.
Lastly, the organization should provide enough resources for the mentoring program so that the program can be effective and achieve the set objective. Resources includes, proficient mentors, adequate time and any other material resources that could be needed. Reference:Forret, M (1996): Issues facing organizations when implementing formal mentoring programmes: Leadership & Organization Development: Journal; 17(3); 27-30.Dunham, K (2003): Career Journal: Mentors May Not Help: Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition (September 23); p.
B.8.Zey, M (1988): A mentor for all: Personnel Journal, pp. 46-51.
Zagumny, M (1993): Mentoring as a tool for change: A social learning perspective: Organization Development Journal 11:4; p. 43-48. Wright, R and Werther, B (1991): Mentors at work: Journal of Management Development 10:3, 1991, pp. 25-32.
Rogers, B (1992): Mentoring takes a new twist: HR Magazine 37:8, pp. 48-51.Winkler, R (1994): A dynamic duo-sometimes: Human Resource Executive 8:3; pp. 45-47.
Wigand, R and Franklin, B (1991): Mentoring, social interaction and commitment: An empirical analysis of a mentoring program. Communications 16:1, pp. 15-31.Sullivan, R and Miklas, C (1995): On-the-job training that works: Training and Development Journal 39:5; pp.
118-120.Scher, H (1996): New mentor match up programs: Working Woman 21:1; p. 17.Settle, M (1988): Developing tomorrow’s managers: Training and Development 42:4, pp.
60-64.Reid, B (1994): Mentorships ensure equal opportunity: Personnel Journal 73:11, pp. 121-123.
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