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Mentoring Benefits the Organization as Much as its Employees

Updated: Apr 9

Working woman at table looking back with a man blurred on the other side

While one’s resume may open the door to landing at a dream place of employment, will the acceptance indicator (the “yes”) be predictive of (or even correlated with) long-term engagement, persistence and success? The answer may surprise you.

The decision to accept an employment offer confirms for the applicant that they feel “seen” and important to the organization; and therefore, a welcome member within a new community…tentatively.

Why tentatively? When an employee accepts a job offer, what does the offer or the “yes” really mean? “Yes…what?” “Yes you fit?” or maybe it means, “Yes you can try.”

Will the employee’s decision to persist be solely their responsibility or might the organization be accountable in some way to deliver on that “yes.” Two parties. (Think relationship).

Without the context of relationship, here is what “yes” may really mean. The organization is saying, “Yes we want to hire you” and the employee is saying, “Yes, I want to work here.” This shared “yes” may represent a temporarily aligned event, specifically, an agreement to give it a try. Transaction complete. Now what?

Through the relationship lens, perhaps the next step is setting mutual expectations in this newly-committed relationship.

From this perspective, like any relationship, each party brings a history of experiences and future-expectations that deserve much attention in order to take form, deepen and ultimately, grow. Both parties will also have ongoing needs and expectations. In order to thrive, each party must continuously feel seen, heard and valued.

Let’s be realistic.

The organization cannot possibly reach out to every employee in an ongoing way to continuously remind each employee that what’s important to the employee is also important to the organization. Therefore, the organization must determine a way to ensure the employee feels and knows they matter. According to Gallup,when a manager understands and places focus upon specific areas that motivate the employee, there is reason to believe the employee is more likely to be engaged.

What if the talent pool within the community is actually the strongest internal resource towards retaining talent? What if the best resources a company can invest in are employee relationships?

Interestingly, employees who are supervised by highly involved managers are 59% more likely to be engaged; whereas, engagement is believed to drop to drastically low levels (2%) on teams where managers are perceived as ignoring team members.

Therefore, when it comes to welcoming a new hire into the organizational community, perhaps the best gift that can be provided is that of promise to be integrated into the social fabric of the system. Ensuring the employee is always connected to a key developmental other such as a mentor (peer, supervisor or senior leader) may help alleviate and even address concerns related to other aspects of the commitment. While one’s technical skills and competencies likely helped land this dream job, the human factors play a key role in determining whether the employee chooses to persist.

Go ahead. Ask a long-term employee to talk about their overall experience. It’s likely you will hear more about people, the organization’s commitment to them, or great mentors they’ve had. It’s unlikely they will attribute their decision to remain in the relationship because of their technical expertise.

Creating relationship expectations that begin from the first “yes” lends to best practices in retaining talent. Similar to any relationship, attending to the relational experiences of the employee is critical to the long-term success of both parties.

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