Mentorship serves to help employees grow and develop, and it’s also a powerful retention technique. But what is mentorship, exactly, and what does it look like within your manufacturing organization? What benefits does it provide, and how do you create a mentorship program? Let’s dive in.
Types of Mentorship Programs
It’s important to realize that mentorship doesn’t mean one thing and one thing only. It can take on many forms, as there are many types of mentorship programs. It’s up to you to choose which one works best for your organization and your employees.
Some of the common types of mentorship programs include:
- One-on-one mentorship: This is probably what you think of when you think of a mentorship arrangement. A mentor — someone with more experience in a particular area — helps the less-experienced mentee develop, grow their skills, and achieve their goals.
- Group mentorship: Group mentorship means one mentor working with a group of several mentees. The mentor leads sessions for learning and development. This type of mentorship is useful for impacting more mentees in a shorter amount of time.
- Peer mentorship: The one-on-one model is retained, but the mentor and mentee are on a more level playing field. The pair may take turns acting as mentor and mentee — the goal is to help both parties learn and grow through their shared knowledge and experience.
- Reverse mentorship: A more junior employee mentors a more senior person in the organization. This arrangement may be useful for upskilling senior employees on new technologies, and it can also be a great way to reach diversity and inclusion goals.
Benefits of Mentorship in Manufacturing
Just by reading the list above, you’re probably already thinking about some of the great benefits of implementing mentorship programs within your manufacturing facility. Here are just a few of the many reasons to consider setting up a mentorship program:
Mentorship helps with onboarding.
When done improperly, onboarding can have a long-lasting negative effect. Poor onboarding processes create negative first impressions and contribute to higher turnover rates, poor performance and compromised safety. On the other hand, onboarding that works well gets new employees started off on the right foot and allows them to make an immediate impact. And what better way to onboard a new hire successfully than by matching them with an experienced mentor who can answer questions, alleviate concerns, and guide them through their first weeks?
Mentorship promotes a learning and safety culture.
High-performing organizations promote an ongoing culture of learning and development to constantly upskill employees. But it can be difficult to set aside the time and money to put employees through formal training programs. That’s the beauty of mentorship — you can help employees learn and grow while they’re on the job; it’s called experiential learning.
In the world of manufacturing, an uncompromising safety culture is also vital to the success of top organizations. And mentorship programs help you accomplish that. Mentors pass on important safety knowledge and hands-on experience to ensure less experienced employees or new hires are up to speed on all things safety at your facility.
Mentorship helps mentees as well as mentors themselves.
It’s obvious that mentorship programs help the mentees, but mentorship also helps the mentor. Sometimes, the best way to learn is by teaching. Mentorship programs help mentors to grow as leaders, receive immediate feedback, and develop their communication and active listening skills. And that’s good for the future of your organization.
Creating Your Mentorship Program
The first step in creating your mentorship program is to decide what kind of program you want to use, whether it’s one-on-one mentorship, group mentorship or another arrangement. Next, consider how high- or low-tech you want your program to be. There are mentorship software options out there if you want to go the formal route, or you can simply maintain a spreadsheet to track mentor-mentee pairings, length of mentorship relationships, and other important data.
Creating Your Mentorship Program
The first step in creating your mentorship program is to decide what kind of program you want to use, whether it’s one-on-one mentorship, group mentorship or another arrangement. Next, consider how high- or low-tech you want your program to be. There are mentorship software options out there if you want to go the formal route, or you can simply maintain a spreadsheet to track mentor-mentee pairings, length of mentorship relationships, and other important data. Finally, get leaders on board with the plan and solicit feedback from potential mentors to find out what approaches might be most useful in your facility.
There’s no denying that mentorship programs are a cost-effective way to both onboard new employees successfully and help existing talent grow and develop. All you need to do is select which type works for your organization, decide how to best implement it at your organization, and start reaping the benefits.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Moul
James is a copywriter, editor and content manager with Haley Marketing. James earned his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Professional Writing from York College of Pennsylvania. He currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.