Why your firm needs a mentorship scheme

03 Jun 2019
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Within your organisation, your greatest resource will always be your employees. From client-facing to internal support teams, they are key to ensuring that your firm continues to thrive. However, individuals need to be nurtured and encouraged if you want to retain talent and continuously deliver high standards. This is where an employee mentorship scheme can prove most helpful. Schemes like this been around for quite some time, gaining increased momentum in the 1990s and for good reason. Not only can it help mentees evolve during the early career stages, but it allows your more senior members of the team to share their expertise and further demonstrate their value, which in itself is incredibly empowering. But don’t just take our word for it – there’s research which also showcases why these schemes remain relevant. So, let us explain.

 

Increase team satisfaction
Although an idea which could arguably be traced back to the biblical times but grew in popularity in the business world in the 1990s, mentorship schemes are continuously renowned for increasing employee retention levels. A 2013 study, Career benefits associated with mentoring for mentors, highlighted that people who have the opportunity to serve as mentors experience greater job satisfaction and a higher commitment to their employer. This is because they are likely to be regarded with high levels of respect, providing one-to-one support as well as sharing their own professional experiences. Additionally, 79% of millennials state that mentorship programmes are crucial to their career success, with many seeking a business culture and mentorship scheme that can help them to evolve professionally.

 

Demonstrate a commitment to development
Whenever a trainee or newly qualified solicitor enters your firm, they will still have a lot to learn. One of the best ways to support them is with a mentor or someone they can turn to for help and advice, particularly when it comes to asking questions to assist with ongoing learning. This is why 70% of Fortune 500 companies now boast a formal or informal mentorship programme, leading the way for business operations worldwide. According to Inc, mentors can help identify skills that should be developed or improved upon, helping to enhance training plans from an earlier stage. Yet, as you’ll already know, learning doesn’t have to be formal or just in the form of external training. In fact, it’s said that 80% of all learning is informal so mentorship should be an essential part of this ongoing development.

 

Create a more engaged workforce
Better employee development leads to a more knowledgeable and more engaged workforce. Mentors are typically on hand to give feedback, which is an important consideration when addressing employee engagement. According to HR Zone, managers giving little or no feedback to their workers fail to engage 98% of them. After all, it’s crucial to remember that feedback and engagement go hand in hand and it’s an essential skill in management and leadership. However, we know that as the legal industry continues to evolve, employee development can span across many different departments from technology, technical skills to client account management. Therefore, we no longer believe that one mentor has to take a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, consider offering multiple mentors to your employees, focusing on their specialities to help shape a well-rounded team.

 

Improved working relationships across teams
Working closely with team members helps to boost professional relationships and feelings of mutual trust. This is particularly important when pairing up team members who wouldn’t usually need to interact with each other whether that’s due to varying roles or responsibilities or office bases. Team trust can also create feelings of safety, allowing employees to open up to each other and spur each on other for better levels of productivity. Forbes also reports that positive relationships with colleagues helps to create a better working environment that is more rewarding and perhaps less stressful. As flexible working increasingly becomes the norm with team members spread across different locations, firms can look to technology to help implement and innovate traditional mentorship schemes. With lean management as the aim, mentorship can be conducted via online meeting spaces such as Google Meet, Skype or even FaceTime (where appropriate), keeping your team connected to improve working relationships.

 

Ultimately, mentorship schemes remain relevant today as an essential part of the development toolkit as they are a cost-effective way to keep your team engaged, motivated and feeling empowered. We predict that as flexible working continues to grow in popularity and your team operate in different offices nationally or internationally, this will prove ever more crucial. After all, not only is it a positive method for developing talent that you already have, regardless of where they are based, but it’ll also demonstrate to your mentors that you value their insight and contribution within the organisation. To learn more about managing talent in your organisation, speak to a member of our team about our upcoming Management and Leadership courses by calling us on: 02920 451 000 or email us at: altior@kaplan.co.uk