12/13/14 By Jennifer Brown

mentorAlthough a formal mentoring program would be the preferred route, having an informal mentoring relationship with an employee can reap the same benefits and compliment your company’s existing talent management strategy.

Mentoring benefits your organization
I’m sure you’ve heard this before – A company’s people are its most valuable asset. Well, it’s true. The collective knowledge, skills, and abilities of your employees will determine your organization’s success. Showing interest in your employee’s professional development can keep your top employees on the team and on track. Mentoring is one way you can accomplish this (and so much more).  Mentoring can help you hit a home run for your company through:
✔ Developing top talent and keeping them engaged
✔ Paving the way for knowledge sharing, leadership development and succession planning
✔ Increasing employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention

How can I make an informal mentoring relationship work?
Not everyone has the staff and financial resources to support a formal mentoring program; however, that should not stop you from beginning an informal mentoring relationship with an employee who you feel has potential. Here are a few ideas on things to consider:
✔ Pairing is key! Consider personality, pre-existing relationship, communication styles, willingness, and trust.
✔ Create a framework and set expectations up front.
✔ Define goals and determine a way to evaluate success.

What’s in it for the mentor?
As a mentor, you will find the experience rewarding through the:
✔ Satisfaction of knowing you are helping the employee achieve their goals.
✔ Opportunity to build your leadership skills and gain new insights.
✔ Opportunity to build a lifelong professional relationship and future network.

Mentoring is a great activity both for the mentor and mentee. Formal or informal, the relationship can make both an immediate impact to your organization as well as form a lifelong relationship regardless of where life takes you both.

photo credit Stuart Miles via Free Digital Photos