Providing appropriate mentors within the workplace has been proven to be instrumental in staff retention. The training and development that workplace mentors provide can be vastly more effective, personal and specialised than other training programs.
Unlike traditional programs, which are often expensive and time consuming, mentoring provides a cost-efficient alternative for expanding your employees' skill sets and having them invested in the company, rather than looking to external sources.
Mentoring is effective at any stage, but is particularly important as part of the induction process. A strong induction program includes a mentoring plan that identifies what types of mentors they are likely to need at different stages and who would be most appropriate to fill those roles, making mentoring far less reactive in the future.
For any mentoring relationship to be effective there must be an agreement by both parties to be willing to participate, accountable and mutual respect. The key principles that need to be outlined and documented prior to the program beginning are:
While the relationship between mentor and mentored is close, the boundaries between work and personal must be clearly defined.
The purpose of the mentoring must be clearly identified
What is the goal of the relationship?
Anything said within the mentoring relationship is confidential. Should any issue arise that cannot remain so, a clear strategy of dealing with said issue, including bringing in a third party, should be outlined.
• Frequency & Time Frame
How often do the parties need to meet and how long will the relationship last?
What will each party take responsibility? How is that measured?
How often do the parties communicate and in what format? How is negative feedback communicated?
When and how will the relationship be reviewed to assess its effectiveness?
Ensure that the relationship is ended definitively, yet with the option for ongoing mentoring where appropriate.
Real Estate can benefit greatly planned mentoring programs in all areas. For example:
• Sales Cadet working in a Master/Apprentice style mentorship with a senior sales agent.
By clearly defining the mentoring program, strategies can be put in place for the senior sales staff to take an active role in developing the skills and contributions of the junior. Creating accountabilities on both sides provides a unique training method for the company at large whilst keeping costs of training down and decreasing staff turnover as junior staff have no need to look outside for leadership.
• Leasing Consultant partnering with a Property Manager upon induction
Leasing Consultant roles are usually filled by those entering the industry and often need guidance from experienced superiors. An induction mentoring program will allow for inexperienced staff to quickly gain skills and become 'part of the team'. As staff move through the PM department, they will move from mentored to mentor, continuing the process.
• Receptionist meeting regularly with senior administration staff
Many receptionists take on the role as an entry point to real estate with a view to becoming a sales PA, office manager or administrator. By developing a mentoring program when receptionists have the opportunity to regularly meet with more senior administration staff, discuss options and plans of action not only creates a direct line of promotion, but has been known to reduce staff turnover in reception, as staff members can see the company investing in their future.
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