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Organizations develop employees by way of regular appraisals and training. However, an easy and inexpensive way of developing employees is through mentoring. Mentoring is usually a planned pairing of a more experienced individual with a less experienced one, with ideally no line management relationship. Discussions are skill-oriented and long-term to increase knowledge quickly and effectively.
According to psychologists and philosophers, ''tacit'' knowledge is the kind of knowledge that is difficult to transfer through documentation or verbalization. It is not written. It is implied. Tacit knowledge is rooted in experience, practice and values, and passed on through socialization and mentoring. Mentoring is one of the most effective ways of passing on tacit knowledge. An example would be riding a bicycle. When riding a bicycle, only a certain amount of information can be passed on explicitly through a manual. A large amount of learning, however, comes through tacit knowledge such as sharing experiences, balancing or knowing when to pedal.
Studies show that effective mentoring helps with employee retention in several ways by enhancing job satisfaction, showing commitment from the company and by building bonds within the organization.
Mentors can act as a ''sounding board.'' If a mentee needs impartial advice, a mentor can act as a direct touchpoint who can give advice in an informal and unbiased way. They need to keep conversations confidential and professional. They should have no agenda other than assisting their mentees in their development and to reach their goals.
A mentoring partnership can be an enriching experience not only for the mentee but also the mentor. The role of a mentor can help develop leadership and communication skills. It can also give an overall sense of personal satisfaction, helping an individual grow both personally and professionally.
• Combine mentoring with effective coaching or skills transfer
• Pick a mentor who tells the truth, offers constructive feedback
• Coaching follows a specific agenda, is focused on performance
Source: Nicola Turner, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is Organizational Psychologist, HRI&C