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The importance of mentoring

Sinead Bunting
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Over a quarter of (28 percent) of Brits say they want mentoring to progress through their career with confidence. However, a fifth (19 percent) admit they don’t know how to go about finding a mentor. A further 9 percent say they are actively looking for a mentor but haven’t been able to find the right person. Contributor Sinead Bunting, VP of Marketing Europe – Monster.co.uk

A fifth of HR professionals believe that introducing a mentoring programme in the workplace would help towards gender equality. Barack Obama tops the list of dream celebrity career mentors, while Donald Trump only received 3 percent of the vote. New research from global jobs site, Monster.co.uk, shows nearly three quarters of Brits (72 percent) don’t have a mentor to help guide them through their careers.

While over a quarter (28 percent) say they want a mentor, nearly a fifth (19 percent) admit they have no idea how to go about finding one. A further 9 percent say even though they’re actively looking for a mentor they haven’t been able to find the right person.

Those starting out in their careers were most likely to want a mentor with 41 percent of 18-35 year olds saying they would like a mentor, compared to 27 percent of 27-50 year olds and 14 percent of people aged 50+. The survey also revealed that those working in a smaller company were most likely to have a mentor, or want one.

The research highlights the role mentoring can play in tackling gender representation issues, particularly in fields with less female role models – 15 percent of those surveyed agreed that business should offer mentorship programmes, in particular aimed at women in business. A fifth of HR professionals polled agreed that introducing a workplace mentoring programme would help towards achieving gender equality in businesses, it’s also widely acknowledged that programmes like this work to improve self-confidence amongst participants.

The research found that the UK is trailing behind its EU counterparts when it comes to supporting mentoring – 63 percent of French employees, 59 percent of German employees and 56 percent in the Netherlands have mentors vs 28 percent in the UK.

VP of Marketing Europe at Monster.co.uk, Sinead Bunting, says: “Everyone could benefit from the increased career confidence being mentored offers, and our research shows that young people in particular are crying out for one. Finding a mentor can help you lay out your goals and receive advice from someone who has ‘been there, done it’. However, the main hurdle people face is finding a mentor in the first place and having the tools and confidence to approach them.

 Employees and HR both agree that business need to do more to build mentoring into the fabric of the company. After all studies have shown that this leads to a more confident, empowered and productive workforce and significantly improves retention of employees. It’s a win, win.

“If your company doesn’t currently offer a mentoring programme then be proactive. Whether it’s approaching senior people in your workplace and asking for advice, attending industry events and picking up business cards or messaging people on LinkedIn, just take that first step. People rarely say no to offering advice, in fact it’s quite flattering, and it could be the start of a brilliant mentor, mentee relationship.”

When asked, 18 percent of Brits would like Barack Obama as their dream career mentor, compared to only 3 percent who would prefer current President of the United States, Donald Trump. Theresa may came 15th in the list behind Kim Kardashian and Mark Zuckerberg, who despite the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal came 7th. A Generation of Job Hoppers: How to Keep Millennials from Leaving the Workplace

Data from more than 5,100 millennials worldwide suggests a link between frequent job changes and feeling unsatisfied at work. As millennials continue to enter the workforce, a trend has emerged that has many companies wondering what they can do to keep the talent they’ve acquired.

Recently, O.C. Tanner conducted a global study on workplace culture, surveying nearly 10,000 employees from 12 countries around the world. Taking a look at a portion of the data from the 5,142 millennials who took the survey, there is a strong association between the number of jobs that millennials have had and their discontent with their current organization.

Surveyed millennials reported having worked at one to more than ten different organisations. Nearly a quarter of millennials (24 percent) have worked at five or more organisations while the majority (60 percent) have worked at two to four organisations. The data shows that the more employees bounce from workplace to workplace, the more they feel undervalued and disconnected from their companies. Feelings of stress, distrust of managers and underutilisation of skills also increased dramatically for employees who have worked for a higher number of organisations.

As millennials change jobs in search of a workplace and role that they feel more connected to, data shows that the cycle only continues and strengthens feelings of stress the more they move around. And because these employees appear to fail to recognise that frequent job changes will only increase dissatisfaction, they only fall deeper into this repetitive pattern and become progressively unhappier.

Businesses should consider areas in which they may need improvement in order to keep millennials feeling valued and connected enough to stay with their organisations. But how can companies influence the mindset of an entire generation?

The answer is simple: Businesses need to change the way they think about the workplace, too.

Think Wellbeing
Many of the millennials surveyed felt that their job creates a great deal of negative stress in their lives and that their organisation only cares about its profits. Environments that are purely results-driven do not resonate well with employees. Instead, the focus should be creating a positive space where employees feel comfortable enough to stay.

While many organisations have adopted strategies for encouraging good physical health through wellness programs, it’s also important for businesses to pay attention to their employees’ mental well-being. Developing initiatives that emphasise the importance of social, emotional and financial well-being of a person is paramount to creating a better office culture. Organising functions where employees can engage and interact with one another outside of the office is a great place to start. Businesses might even consider hosting a budgeting workshop to help workers become more financially savvy.

Additionally, companies should show employees their efforts are valued as genuine recognition elevates the sense of social and emotional well-being. Genuine recognition for their output, talents and contributions can go a long way in communicating to employees that their hard work is appreciated.

Think Communication
One of the biggest issues noted in the study was the number of millennials who distrust their direct managers. In addition, many reported feeling that their organisation rarely sets goals. While this might be a bigger challenge to tackle, it’s not impossible to overcome.

The best way to gain an employee’s trust and ensure company goals are being met is through open channels of communication. Have the leaders in your company schedule regular check-ins with individual members of their team to help create a space where both can share their thoughts, feelings and ambitions. Employees who feel heard and informed report higher levels of trust in both direct supervisors and senior leadership. Transparent two-way communication helps employees connect to a common purpose and understand the value behind their assignments.

Think Purpose
Another reason millennials jump ship is they feel bored with their work responsibilities—not exactly the best sentiment for your employees to have if you’re after better results. One way to reinvigorate the workforce is by instilling a sense of purpose in the company as a whole.

Defining purpose is defining the soul of the company. When an organisation fails to clearly articulate their reason for being, employees feel disconnected. People long to connect to something bigger and more important than themselves; it’s no longer sufficient enough for employees to work for a paycheck. They want to feel that their contributions have a direct impact on the company and its mission. Establishing a clear purpose within the organisation is an important step in making employees feel more valued.

Think Opportunity
This isn’t an argument that companies should be doling out more promotions (although, many surveyed employees reported feeling stuck in their current positions). While vertical growth within a company is great, it’s important to keep in mind the benefits of horizontal growth not only in terms of addressing feelings of stalled growth but also to alleviate workplace boredom. Millennials are not lazy; they want to learn and thrive and do great work. More than that, they want to feel like they “have a seat at the table” and help influence important decisions.

Including employees in important projects not only allows them the opportunity to showcase skills they may not have the chance to otherwise, but they are able to interact with co-workers from different departments and learn from them. Even if this means inviting a junior employee to attend a strategic meeting or listen in on an important phone call, an invitation to watch and learn shows employees that the organisation wants them to continue learning and sees a future for them outside of their current position. These small acts can go a long way in establishing meaning for an employee and encouraging them to look forward within their current organisation rather than applying elsewhere.

Retaining talent rests in the hands of the employer. Making the changes necessary to keep all employees happy is challenging, but by improving office culture, workers will choose to stay loyal rather than seek opportunities elsewhere.


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