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Why is mentoring during the onboarding process important?

Lučka Žunič, Marketing Assistant
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“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” — John Crosby

Why is mentoring during the onboarding process important?

We’ve already written about the onboarding process and how important it is to ensure that new hires have different aspects of support. We’ve also mentioned that buddy is one of the key elements during this process, so let’s deep dive into the whole mentoring thing.

Onboarding should be a process where new hires are actively involved in the organization, and one of the best ways to do this is by creating a mentorship program. Mentoring is all about a learning and development partnership between someone with vast experience (like a senior employee) and someone who wants to learn (in this case a new hire). When done properly, this will ensure new hires develop the right skills and temperament to excel at their job.

Although the mentoring program may seem obvious to you, it’s often a missing part of an onboarding phase. Let’s see what are the benefits of this approach and how buddies can help new hires:

  • Satisfaction improvement. Studies have shown that new hires who get to work with buddies are more likely to receive active support from their manager and the broader team as well. Therefore, they are more comfortable and satisfied with a job.
  • Providing context. Without context, a new hire will struggle to fully understand their role and how to contribute to their team’s success. Buddies can provide the type of context you won’t find in the employee handbook, for example shedding some light on cultural norms or unspoken rules.
  • Productivity boost. Speed to productivity can be a concern for both the company and the employee. Studies have shown that the more the new hire meets with the onboarding buddy, the greater the new hire’s speed to productivity is. For best results, the mentor and mentee should meet once a week.

There are, of course, some of the immediate benefits to a newcomer, such as removing awkwardness associated with the first day in a new environment and a senior employee showing the new one the ropes. Among other things, an experienced employee can ensure a positive first impression of the organization’s culture and environment.

Mentorship can be mutually beneficial serving as an onboarding buddy provides an opportunity to develop managerial and leadership skills. Moreover, tutoring others will strengthen employee’s knowledge and enable them to deepen their expertise.

Remember, mentoring programs alone won’t sufficiently develop junior talent if the organizational culture doesn’t encourage mentoring on a regular basis. Along with other mentoring approaches, you should try a thing called mentors-of-the-moment. This kind of mentoring promotes a culture where everyone in the organization takes advantage of daily opportunities to engage junior colleagues and help them grow. The main purpose is for new hires to get noticed and recognized, so simple praise for a job well done or asking them for an opinion on something you do is very likely to be cherished.

Mentoring should become a significant part of building your own structured onboarding process. Encourage your colleagues to become mentors and guide new employees through all the tricky (and enjoyable) parts of being a new hire.

Does your company have a mentoring program? What is your experience with it? And if you haven’t done it yet, what are you waiting for?