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Mentoring your staff has a high-value addition to your business. If you haven’t tried mentoring or being mentored, give it a shot. Finding a good mentor, or mentee, may not happen overnight. In addition, finding the right chemistry between a senior employee and a junior one can be tricky.

Mentoring can be done in the workplace and outside as well. It can be formal and/or informal. Mentors can be assigned to mentees or pick them themselves.

The impact of good mentorship may take time to show its benefits. Look at the payoff of your mentorship. What behaviours have you changed? What decisions are made? Increased positive personal interactions will help with employee retention, increased performance, creating a positive workplace culture and many more benefits. Go ahead and experiment. Find out which way works best for your own business.


Coaching and Mentoring

You may be faced with employees who demand formal training or education from you as an SME leader. Hiring a coach for yourself or your senior staff may be one option. But why not take advantage of your internal resources first. Position yourself or one or more of your senior staff as a mentor for others.

Mentoring should be long term, and the aim of mentoring is to develop the mentee. As a mentee develops, the mentor should also develop. A star mentee may end up mentoring the mentor! Meanwhile coaching is performance driven and is often short term. The person being coached usually works with their immediate manager.

A mentor is usually not their mentee’s immediate manager. This means that mentoring is most beneficial when:



Many companies have formal, structured Mentor-Mentee programmes or use Business School programmes. Mentor-mentee relationships can also be informal and can start by accident. A good mentor will be able to spot a hidden leader in your company. For whatever reason, a leader may have been ignored, overlooked or unfairly treated and may be buried in your SME, leading to low motivation and low performance. So, don’t let this happen. Find your hidden leaders and mentor them to deliver more value added to your business. Who is the mentor and who is the mentee doesn’t necessarily have to depend on age. 


Relevant impact

What impact are you looking for on your business? One way to grow your business and your business reputation is to surround yourself with talents. Mentoring your staff will develop the talents already in your company. It will help your staff to achieve their aspirational goals in addition to acquiring new skills and competencies. Mentoring should also help increase employee retention by building a stronger emotional bond inside your company that will build loyalty.


How to measure the impact

The pressures of business life often mean that metrics are required to justify any actions. Somethings don’t need to be measured and can’t be measured. And somethings can be measured incorrectly. Look at vanity metrics on Facebook like the number of ‘Likes’ that you get. “Dear Reader, please Like this article!”

Measuring mentorship starts with having a mentor or mentorship programme in place as opposed to not having a mentor. The value addition and benefits may be tangible, like increased performance, or intangible like increased motivation or happiness in the workplace.

Mentorship has an impact. However, it often takes time to see the results. After a while, step back and look at the talents that surround you in your company. These talents are the result of decisions and development. Mentoring means you won’t be able to complain about the talent shortage you are facing. These talents will keep your SME going and help you reach your business goals.

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