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Mentoring Must Be A Positive Experience

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A classic example of poor mentoring was recently shared in my Human Resource Development class.  A new employee, Bob, was paired with an experienced employee who was to be Bob’s mentor.  While age should never be a factor in matching a learner and mentor, this was only the beginning of the problems Bob faced.  There was virtually no communication between the two and the only feedback for Bob was when the mentor would tattle to Bob’s manager of Bob’s mistakes.

An effective mentor/new employee relationship begins with the company developing clear, strategic objectives such as program goals, roles and responsibilities, scope of the program, and a means to assess the effectiveness. The prospective mentor must desire this role, have a can-do attitude and believe a mentoring relationship will help the company.   The new employee must be enthusiastic, be willing to accept coaching and acknowledge inexperience.  A positive mentoring experience can lead to retention of happy, dedicated employees.

To determine the effectiveness of a mentoring program, measurements should be put in place.  Both employees should complete a check list detailing actual performance vs guidelines for such items as reviewing the purpose and relationship between mentor and mentee, the number of mentoring meetings and hours completed and topics covered. Employee satisfaction surveys should be used to determine if the relationship is mutually beneficial.  Management appraisal of the new employee’s performance is a good tool as well as a comparison of non-mentored vs new hires’ performance. The employee, mentor, and manager should be aware of all results and develop an improvement plan as necessary.

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