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Businesses should consider investing in mentorship programs as they can reap benefits such as skill development, increased employee retention, and attracting top talent. Additionally, exploring existing mentorship programs like the Africa Youth Trust and MentorMe Kenya can provide opportunities to support and empower young individuals and women in business.
Around 75% of executives credit their success to having a Mentor, as reported by Forbes. Their words reveal one important fact about leaders: the old adage that they are born as such is false. All professionals have a set of skills and abilities that they need to learn, sharpen, and refine, and mentors bridge the gap between capability and self-actualization. If you are wondering whether a mentorship programme is a good investment of time and resources for your organization, read on.
Dubai-based group, Jupiter Business Mentors, conducted research into mentorship, finding that 93% of young entrepreneurs felt they needed interaction with mentors who had faced similar challenges as business owners. However, even employees who have no plans on launching a business of their own can benefit in key ways. There are three main ways in which mentors can leave their mark on newbies to business or industry: by helping them build specific skills, offering mentees guidance on potential career paths, and boosting their self-confidence and ability to take on new challenges and seasoned risks. A clear example of an industry that benefits greatly from mentorship is the culinary sector. Ask any chef with a Michelin-starred restaurant and chances are, when they tell you about their trajectory, they will mention the time they spent under the guiding hand of greats who have come before them. Process, time management, and budgeting are three of many skills that mentors can share with mentees.
Small companies considering investing in mentors should see this step as a crucial one if they wish to truly stand apart from the competition. Businesses benefit from highly motivated staff who plan on building their lifelong career within the same organization. Mentoring and lifelong learning are two key ways that top companies (including Google, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco Systems, and General Electric) employ to boost employee retention. Microsoft’s programme is so sophisticated that it offers mentorship in various different areas—including leadership development, technical skills, and career advancement. Small businesses may not have the budget for a multifaceted programme such as this, but individual mentorship covering these areas can still be a vital means to attract and retain top talent.
“Any genuine teaching will result, if successful, in someone’s knowing how to bring about a better condition of things than existed earlier,” wrote philosopher and educator, John Dewey. His words highlight the potential of students or mentees to leave the world (or their organization) in a better state than in the past. By investing time in getting employees to think innovatively and creatively, management can reap countless rewards. Just think of how useful it can be to run a team comprising employees with top skills in time management, teamwork, and conflict resolution. Meanwhile, managers can make big personal gains. Not only are their coaching skills enhanced, but they are also able to lead others in a more personal and impactful way. Through mentorship, managers can define employees with leadership potential, and identify those who are capable of taking on vital delegated tasks. The can additionally discover the relative strengths of each employee, thus enhancing team creation and the designation of specific teams to key projects.
If you are a young person seeking to obtain guidance on your venture or chosen career path, and you live in Kenya, check out the work of the Africa Youth Trust. Its mentorship programme is aimed at supporting young people manage their own learning, maximize their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance, and become better citizens. One of its main aims is to improve youth access to a fair labour market via capacity building and training activities. Overall, 40% of youths trained by the Trust have launched startups, and 29% have obtained employment. The Trust also empowers disadvantage and marginalized youth and offers capacity building programmes.
Another organization you can look into is MentorMe Kenya. The latter promotes jobs and business for female mentees in Kenya through a Kenyan-German mentoring programme, offering training and networking. Through these organizations, you can also become a mentor, if you are a manager or successful entrepreneur. Since its launch, MentorMe has provided training to some 2,500 mentees. It currently offers 220 events, training sessions, and workshops yearly and has established 21 communities for networking and the exchange of ideas.
Mentoring is universally hailed as a vital means for young people and companies enjoy vast benefits. Mentees learn a number of key professional and life skills, and are empowered to carve out a future career bath. Mentors, meanwhile, are given the opportunity to sharpen their leadership skills and identify individuals with strong leadership potentials. Finally, organizations running mentorship programs can benefit by attracting talented, hard-working individuals who can make a big difference to the companies they work for and the society they form part of.
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