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Why you should be promoting mentorship

By Jack Campbell | |6 minute read

Mentorship is a win-win. Those who receive mentoring will gain a better understanding of their role and advance their skills, and the mentor will be able to progress their teaching and leadership skills.

Workplaces should consider implementing these policies, as they can often get overlooked.

“Mentorship is one of the biggest ways of personally developing in your career, and that’s not just my opinion,” said Dr Debbie Devis, University of South Australia research assistant.

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“We have statistics showing that people who are mentored, both men and women and non-binary people who are mentored, progress in their career much faster, and they have lower levels of imposter syndrome, so they have higher self-efficacy.”

Mentorship is a great way to help underprivileged workers shine, such as women, who can find it harder to find role models due to underrepresentation.

There are issues, however, as many businesses do not recognise the importance of mentorship and disregard the time and effort that goes into it. This can deter people from implementing these systems as the reward does not keep up with the effort.

Dr Devis continued: “People who mentor are usually more likely to be women, and they are not considered for promotions and leadership positions as much as people who focus more on the technical side of their work, which is bizarre because mentoring and people who are really good mentors make really good leaders. They’re learning those leadership skills really early on, but they’re not being recognised.”

Workplaces can benefit by implementing a mentor program and keeping it alive through recognition.

“It’s important for workplaces to approach this idea of mentorship and regard it as a very strong leadership skill. People who mentor are in good positions. Let’s start looking at whether we should promote them, but also having formal mentoring programs within their companies as well,” Dr Devis explained.

“So, that might mean that you can voluntarily enter into a mentoring relationship with someone in your company when you’re early on in your career, but the person who is acting as the mentor may be able to decrease their workload in another way in order to actually participate in these mentoring positions because they know that it’s a really good leadership development skill.”

Aside from skills development for the individual, Dr Devis said that these programs promote innovation. Furthermore, by opening up dialogue, you’re actively increasing collaboration, which can be great for business growth.

“If you think about somebody who’s really far ahead in their career, they might just accidentally be disconnected from the new fresher ideas that new employees are bringing in that might actually be more relevant to what people are going through in the world at the moment,” Dr Devis said.

“So, you want to make sure that you keep that mentorship if it’s already there or actually start building it within your workplace because that leads to innovation, better innovation leads to more money, and let’s be honest, that’s what business is about.”

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full audio conversation with Dr Debbie Devis on 30 May is below, and the original podcast article can be found here.

RELATED TERMS

Coaching

Coaching differs from training in that it frequently focuses on a narrower range of abilities or jobs. This might be done as a part of personnel upskilling or performance management. Both internal trainers and outside coaches may carry out this task. Coaching occasionally includes assessments and performance feedback.

Mentoring

Mentoring pairs up less experienced workers with more seasoned ones to provide coaching, training, and development. This can be done informally or formally, with meetings and quantified results.

Training

Training is the process of enhancing a worker's knowledge and abilities to do a certain profession. It aims to enhance trainees' work behaviour and performance on the job.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.