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Peer Mentors & Their Importance in the Workplace

Mentoring is a two-way street. Managers, executives and leaders agree that mentoring is one of the most impactful ways to spend your time. In return, you're building crucial leadership qualities. Let MentorCruise help you begin a mentorship journey, so you can concentrate on personal and professional growth for both you and your mentees.

According to research, 87% of the people participating in a mentorship program (mentor or mentees) at their workplace claim that they felt a boost in confidence in the workplace. As a mentorship organization, we recognize the power of a peer mentor, which is why in this article we are discussing what it means to be a peer mentor and the benefits of having a peer mentorship program in your organization.

What is a Peer Mentor?

A peer mentor is a type of mentor that provides education, recreation and support opportunities to individuals. The peer mentor may challenge the mentee with new ideas, and encourage the mentee to move beyond the things that are most comfortable. Most peer mentors are picked for their sensibility, confidence, social skills and reliability.

Moreover, peer mentors introduce mentees to the environment and ethics of the workplace, along with sharing their personal experiences and knowledge to ease their transition. However, the best thing about being in a peer mentorship program is the fact that it goes both ways.

The relationship may begin with one person as the mentor and the other as the mentee, yet as it develops, it flourishes into a two-way channel where both parties find support and advice. Hence, you become both a mentor and a mentee and grow with your peers.

Benefits of a Peer Mentor Program at the Workplace:

In traditional mentoring, there is always a respectable gap in communication due to one person being considered a 'senior' while the other a 'less knowledgeable junior’. This leads to inherent hesitation in employees, and they struggle to be transparent about their workplace issues or questions.

Peer mentorship programs remove this gap by matching people at almost equal levels. Since peer mentors are going through the same phases, they understand the endeavors of their peers better and can have a more effective approach. Furthermore, the roles of mentors and mentees are reversible in this regard, making both parties equally involved in the process of coaching and learning.

Such programs are now a crucial part of high schools and colleges. However, workplaces are keen on adopting them for increased employee engagement and higher recruitment retention.

Here’s how a peer mentorship program can benefit your organization:

Mental Health of Employees

Having a peer mentorship program at your organization can provide the employees with the support they need to tackle workplace stress.

Since COVID-19, not all organizations are calling employees on-site. Therefore, this gives the opportunity for individuals’ mental health to decrease due to a lack of in-person workplace engagement and stimulation. In these times, such cooperative programs can improve the mental well-being of employees and thus, enhance productivity in the workplace as well.

Good Market Repute

When employees feel satisfied with their company, word tends to get out. Positive discussions about a company are extremely beneficial when recruiting and can make your hiring process easier.

When people find out that your organization provides a supportive and effective mentorship program, you may see a spike in applications from potential candidates. This can give your company the opportunity to find skilled, passionate employees that make a great fit for your team.

Retention of New Recruitments

Having employees leave your company mid-training can be incredibly frustrating. This costs you in terms of both time and money. Therefore, the focus of every organization should be to find better ways to continue to retain as many employees as possible.

While potential candidates are looking for opportunities, companies that are involved in peer mentorship programs are more likely to be chosen because of the work relations they have garnered over time.

According to a survey reported by CBC in 2019, 4 out of 10 workers who didn’t have a mentor were not happy with their job and contemplated quitting.

Higher Employee Engagement

Employees that participate in peer mentorship programs may begin to feel more valued and appreciated within the organization. By having a sense of support and guidance from their mentors, you could begin to see more engagement from mentees within the organization during meetings, daily tasks, and other workplace opportunities.

In other words, peer mentoring can bring about positive motivation, leading to an atmosphere of cooperation and togetherness.

How to Develop an Effective Peer-Mentoring Program

Here are some ways to develop an effective peer-to-peer mentorship program in your workplace:

  1. Know Your Goals

In order to create clear goals and objectives for your mentorship program, you must identify what you intend to solve with it. For example, your organization may have unproductive employees, little engagement with the company, or an excessive amount of resignations.

The solution to such issues can be part of peer mentoring. Resultantly, you can define more specific goals and easily evaluate the effectiveness of the program later on. Your program will stand successful in the face of these issues that were once holding your company back!

  1. Help Your Employees Get Started

Peer mentoring should give the employees the freedom to learn and grow, therefore providing bits and pieces to keep them on the right track is essential.

Creating a form that identifies important addressable questions and issues, setting a minimum meeting frequency, and developing a feedback system for further evaluation are great tools to get your employees started in their mentorship program.

  1. Give Your Employees a Say in Matching

In some organizations, a peer mentor chooses their mentee, while in others, they might be matched randomly. Successfully matching your employees must be done mindfully, yet it should also allow some flexibility.

For instance, your company can develop a questionnaire that asks about their expectations from the program, their learning behaviors, and the type of individuals they mesh well with.

Moreover, your employees must have the option to back out of their peer-to-peer mentor relationship if they are unhappy. You can monitor their experiences by using a frequent feedback system. At the same time, you can also use mentoring platforms like MentorCruise and allow employees to choose their mentor on the platform.

  1. Develop a Peer Mentor Training

Some people communicate and lead more efficiently than others. With so many diverse individuals, your organization must be inclusive and aware of everyone’s strengths and weaknesses.

Your peer mentor training should be used to determine strengths and weaknesses in the group that will affect the success of the mentorship program. This training can be on a monthly or quarterly basis to ensure that the peer-to-peer relationships are going smoothly. You can also use a questionnaire or feedback form to gauge the following: Are some employees struggling to communicate well? Do they shy away from taking charge? Are they finding a gap in their relationships?

Based on the data, the training can focus on enhancing leadership skills, communication skills, and workplace relationships.

  1. Schedule Frequent Check-ins

Schedule check-ins with your mentor and mentees to maximize the results. Reference your original goals and objectives you have developed in the first stage for these meetings. If the program is checking all the boxes, you are on the path to success!

For instance, if one of your goals was to increase employee engagement, and you find that your employees have become more enthusiastic and productivity rates have increased, it would be safe to say that your program was a success.

Apart from external studies and statistics, the first-hand reports of your employees also play an important role in judging the extent of success. This is where you can incorporate feedback sessions and questionnaires.

Here are some example questions: Are your employees reporting positive feedback? Do they feel more connected with the organization? Do they find themselves more eager to pitch in and participate in group settings?

Similarly, any problems reported by your employees can be tackled by introducing modifications to the program.

  1. Have the Senior Leadership On-Board

Mentoring programs demand specific budget allocation and modifications to the work environment. Both of these can occur easily if the organization's executive board and senior leadership are invested in the program.

Another key to a successful peer-to-peer mentoring program is the ability to make and implement timely decisions and modifications. However, having multiple communication levels before directly reaching the topmost hierarchy can be problematic and may lead to delays.

By having your topmost hierarchy on board, you can develop, nurture and re-design the program and get the exact budget required for it.

Are You Ready to Jump into Peer Mentoring?

If you are convinced of the importance of a peer mentorship program, you must be ready to be a part of it yourself. As an organization, you must market the availability of peer mentor jobs to all types of employees. You can encourage them to join your program and lend their efforts happily by offering special incentives.

If you have mentors and mentees participating from all hierarchy levels, your program is much more likely to succeed. However, some organizations might find the need to train a few individuals for such programs before taking it into their own hands and developing their own training sessions.

Such individuals can get coaching from external mentors related to effective communication and presenting their knowledge and then go on to teach others in the organization.

Before you know it, the entire organization will be sustaining the program itself. At MentorCruise, we offer multiple mentorship programs to help companies and organizations in their endeavors. If you want to expand from peer-to-peer mentorship, check out our mentorship programs today.

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