March 19, 2013

Creation of a Mentoring Culture – Engaged, Empowered and Accountable Employees

Doug Lawrence


There has long been the dilemma of do I implement a Mentoring Program in our organization or do I look at doing something else. Research has shown that Mentoring Programs fail at a very high rate due to: a) lack of corporate support, b) lack of structure, c) lack of training, and d) the culture will not support mentoring. This tells us very clearly that we need to look at implementing a mentoring culture and have the mentor program as an outcome of that process. We need employees to feel happy with what they are doing and where they are. It can be a long process choosing the right employees, luckily there are ways this can be helped by searching for 'the best PEO company in California', for example, so that the onboarding process is done professionally and with a positive outcome. Afterward, it is up to the business to make sure the employees are supported.

We ask ourselves what is the benefit of doing all this work? There are a number of business value statements that we could explore, but for the purpose of this document we will explore the creation of a workforce that is engaged, empowered and accountable. It has been said by many leadership gurus that the key to success for organizations today is to have an engaged, empowered and accountable work force. This will definitely give you the competitive advantage that you are searching for.

Understanding what engaged, empowered and accountable means from an employee and organizational perspective is important before we see how mentoring provides that process. Here are some definitions for each:

Employee engagement is defined as the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. Employees care about their work and their company. It has also been defined as an individual's degree of positive or negative emotional attachment to their organization, their job and their colleagues.

Employee engagement should not be confused with employee satisfaction. Satisfied employees are not endeared to their employer like positively engaged employees. Employee engagement is not an easy fix and requires the right style of leadership to take an organization to that place.

Employee Empowerment is a management practice of sharing information, rewards and power with employees so that they can take initiative and make decisions to solve problems and improve service and performance. You can find ideas for non-monetary rewards for your employees right here.

Empowerment is based on the idea that giving employees skills, resources, authority, opportunity, motivation, as well holding them responsible and accountable for outcomes of their actions will contribute to their competence and satisfaction.

Corporate culture reflects the values, vision and leadership style of a given company. Levels of trust between employee and employer differ from culture to culture. Encouraging employees to make decisions, providing an environment of open communication and acceptance of new ideas defines a culture based on empowerment. Companies that offer and nurture such an atmosphere can benefit in a variety of ways ranging from a stable workforce to a healthy bottom line.

Accountability is taking responsibility for your own behavior; doing what's right consistently; demonstrating personal integrity; and actively participating in activities and interactions that support the strategy of your organization. Accountabilty doesn't just go for your employees; as an employer, if you mess up, you should take responsibility. Something that's easy to mess up on as an employer is a payroll. If payroll isn't correct or mistakes are made, employees can get very aggravated and will only get more irritated if you deflect the blame. Finding a solution, like employing a global payroll service like to ensure there are no mistakes would be a good way to keep employees happy.

Accountability is not something you "make" people do. It has to be chosen, accepted or agreed upon by the people within your organization. People must "buy into" being accountable and responsible. For many, this is a new, unfamiliar, and sometimes, uncomfortable way to work. Learning how to become accountable involves an element of discipline. Most importantly, individual purpose and personal meaning comes from accepting responsibility and learning to be accountable.

Holding people accountable is really about the distribution of power and choice. When people have more choice, they learn to be more responsible. When they become more responsible, they can earn more freedom. By being accountable, they earn the trust of managers and co-workers. When they are more accountable, they understand their purpose and role within the organization and are committed to making things happen.

Mentor Programs/Culture: The establishment of a mentoring culture which in fact creates a learning and development environment is fostered on trusted relationships and employees that understand the direction of the organization and what role they play in the organization being successful. The sharing of information in an organization with a mentoring culture establishes that foundation for employee buy-in and participation in the success of the organization. Moreover, cultivating a corporate culture that promotes communication and opportunities for progression usually leads to better mental health outcomes for all employees. Simply putting an employee assistance program in place might be all it takes to have a positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of a team of employees. Consequently, if you would like further information about the potential advantages of employee assistance programs you can click here to learn more.

When you create a corporate culture based on mentoring you create an environment of personal and professional growth where the employee and the organization prosper. " Can you afford not to."

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