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Invest in the Future of Your Business With Peer Mentoring
The future of your workplace depends on the people within it. That’s why investing in your employee’s learning and development is essential for business growth.
We’re sure you know that mentoring is an effective way to develop your people. If not here’s a refresher.
But have you heard about the benefits of peer mentoring?
Peer mentoring is effective at not only developing your people’s skills but at creating better communication, connections and culture that has lasting effects on your bottom line.
What is peer mentoring?
Put simply, peer mentoring is when individuals of a similar age or experience level mentor one another. Many people may already be benefiting from an informal version of this type of mentoring.
Whether it’s a colleague who can troubleshoot problems or someone who can advise on specific topics, there is so much valuable learning to be gained from your peers.
Peer mentoring is about formalising this learning. With peers teaching each other valuable skills and supporting development.
How is peer mentoring different to other types of mentoring?
Unlike traditional mentoring, where a more senior mentor sits with a junior mentee and provides advice and guidance, peer mentoring is more fluid. Participants can take turns acting as mentor or mentee, giving them the opportunity to practice leading sessions.
The main difference to other types of mentoring is the power dynamic. Sitting down with someone on your level is different to sitting down with a senior leader. The equal nature of peer mentoring means participants can connect and share more openly, practising essential skills for their development.
To learn more about the other types of mentoring, read our full guide here.
The benefits of peer mentoring
We’ve waxed lyrically about the benefits of traditional mentoring for years. And peer mentoring is no different!
There are wide-ranging benefits to starting or joining a peer mentoring program. These include:
By introducing peer mentoring in your onboarding program, you can improve the experience.
From the get-go, new employees have a support network within their organisation. Similar to a buddy system, the peer mentor will show your new hire the ropes and get them up to speed on company culture.
Given the peer relationship, it’s a more relaxed and inclusive way of mentoring new hires.
Fostering a positive culture
Creating a positive working culture in which everyone can feel seen, heard and accepted is not always easy.
Connecting people through peer mentorship is a great way to help. When people develop strong, trusting connections with their peers, it can vastly improve the way they feel at work.
A major factor in supporting good mental health and avoiding burnout is strong connections. When we talk to peers, we’re more likely to feel comfortable sharing our worries and can find a valuable source of support.
Preventing burnout and poor mental health in your organisation has lasting benefits for employee retention, productivity and happiness. So, why not connect people through peer mentoring and support better mental health for all?
Upskilling from within
There are many ways to upskill. The benefit of upskilling through mentoring is that the expertise is already in your business.
No more expensive external trainers. You have the knowledge you need already that’s specific to your business and ways of working. This means you can save time and money by sharing skills internally through mentoring.
Developing future leaders
In peer mentoring, you can practice acting as a mentor and develop the skills you need to become an effective manager and leader. This is a great way to get ahead of the curve and start developing the leaders of the future.
Mentoring will also build confidence and communication skills, which are essential for a thriving workforce. Best of all, 89% of people that are mentored will mentor others, multiplying the effects.
5 reasons to start a peer mentorship program, today
1. Widen your pool of mentors
When you think of mentoring, you likely think of more senior employees imparting wisdom to younger, more junior staff. While this is an important mentoring type it’s not the only way to utilise mentoring in your organisation.
You may find in a workplace with a young workforce or a flat management structure that it’s more difficult to identify good mentors. Or you may have senior staff but struggle to get them to sign-up for a program.
In any of these examples peer mentoring can be used. It allows people of all ages to benefit from receiving mentorship while practising acting as a mentor too. This develops their leadership and communication skills, as well as encourages skill-sharing across peer groups.
You don’t need to wait until you have a large pool of senior mentors to get started. Peer mentoring is an easy way of connecting and empowering your people. Knowing that you have something to give and someone to learn from is an amazing feeling.
2. Onboard with ease
Much like a ‘buddy’ system, peer mentoring can be used in employee onboarding by matching up new starters with a mentor with a similar experience level to them. It’s an excellent way for new colleagues to build relationships from the get-go and lessen the pressure on managers running inductions by sharing responsibility.
The peer mentor relationship can also help induct employees into your workplace culture, provide support learning key processes and software, and provide pastoral support. Knowing that you have the support of your peers fosters a culture of community and shared learning. It also gives mentors the opportunity to practice their leadership skills.
Onboarding is a key area to get right. The more you can ease the transition of new starters and get them up to speed with your company culture, the faster they will find their feet and start delivering results.
Mentoring is one effective way to do this and it leads to better retention rates and a much higher likelihood of promotion to leadership positions.
3. Create a culture of allyship
Many companies struggle to foster allyship. Whether you have departmental silos that you are trying to tackle or you want to start a programme to support a specific marginalised or under-represented group, peer mentoring can help.
By pairing up employees in a peer mentoring program, you can provide vital support to your people and foster community across your organisation. You may want to run a program that matches people from the same group to provide one another with support. Alternatively, matching people with different backgrounds can create new allies and wider support systems.
This type of mentoring works well to support people going through menopause, new parents returning to work, or can be used to support LGBTQ+ people.
By providing formal ways for peers to connect, you are facilitating the growth of important relationships. This will increase employee satisfaction and improve your company culture as people feel supported to bring their whole selves to work each day.
4. Support employee mental health and wellbeing
Similarly, peer mentoring is a powerful way to support mental health and employee wellbeing. It can be used to provide safe spaces for people to talk about their mental health confidentially.
Participants may feel more at ease talking about their mental health with someone outside of their management structure. It’s also a great way to support remote employees as mentoring can easily be run virtually.
Knowing that you have someone in your organisation that is on your side and available to talk is an essential source of support. Particularly when that person is in a similar job role to you or can relate to your experiences on a more personal level.
We know that building positive working relationships supports mental health and wellbeing and can prevent burnout later down the line.
5. Develop the leaders of tomorrow
Peer mentorship is a great way to foster leadership through mentoring in your workplace. As the participants switch from mentor to mentee they will gain insight and experience in leading sessions.
As we’ve touched on above, the peer mentor relationship is more fluid than in traditional mentoring. Both participants gain confidence from the sessions and work together to transform what they discuss into positive action. Peers also hold each other accountable, supporting each other’s goals and career growth.
Mentoring is a widely-known way to improve leadership representation as well as promotion and retention rates for minorities and women. By levelling the playing field, peer mentoring is an accessible way to promote mentoring within your organisation.
Finally, fostering leadership is identified as a key benefit that workers are looking for from their employer. Of employees that leave within 2 years of joining a company, 71% report thinking that their leadership skills were not being developed. Investing in peer mentoring will save you time and money in the future by creating your future leaders today.
How to start a peer mentoring program
So, now you know what peer mentoring is, the benefits and why you need it – how do you start a program?
Well, with mentoring software such as Guider, starting a peer mentoring program is simple. Through our platform, you can design, implement and scale peer mentoring all in one place.
Setting up a peer mentoring program is similar to traditional mentoring but how you select and recruit participants will differ. With years of expertise, we’ll guide you through the entire process.
To find out more about starting a mentoring program, here’s our step-by-step guide.
Peer mentoring has lasting benefits for your employees and your business. It’s a powerful tool for learning and development that draws on the knowledge your people already have.
With wide-ranging benefits, there are many reasons to start a peer mentoring program. By setting up formal channels for mentorship, you can make sure that it’s genuinely accessible to all.
To find out more about how to start and scale transformative mentoring programs, talk to us today!