Magazine article Business Credit

Establishing a Mentoring Program

Magazine article Business Credit

Establishing a Mentoring Program

Article excerpt

When you reflect upon your professional life, you can probably point to at least one individual who made a meaningful contribution during the formative years of your career. That significant individual could best be described as your mentor.

Most credit professionals, like yourself, attribute part of their success to their relationship with a mentor. In fact, a recent survey commissioned by Robert Half International demonstrates this premise--94 percent of executives with Fortune 1000 firms said having a mentor is important for individuals early in their careers. Three-quarters of those polled said they currently have a mentor or have had one in the past; and 82 percent keep in touch with their mentors.

The importance of having a mentor is so crucial that many companies are now establishing mentoring programs. Through these programs, experienced employees are paired with junior workers looking to "learn the ropes" and progress in their careers. Mentors are able to help new staff members learn the subtleties of office protocol, such as managing delicate or challenging situations; build a spirit of teamwork; and help less experienced employees develop interpersonal and communication skills.

Why Establish a Mentoring Program?

Mentoring programs build loyalty among new or less experienced employees because they recognize the investment that the company is making in them. Those individuals who serve as mentors also realize substantial benefits through mentoring programs. For example, the fact that they are selected for this advisory role boosts their confidence level, reassures their feelings that senior management is pleased with their contributions and gives them a greater feeling of job security and job satisfaction.

In addition, mentoring programs give these individuals the opportunity to test their leadership skills and may even encourage them to take on new challenges within the organization that will bolster their career and, in turn, their potential within your company.

How to Launch Your Program

Before starting a mentoring program in your credit department, you will need to answer a few important questions. Start by setting your expectations. What do you want to achieve by establishing a mentoring program? How will you measure results to ensure you stay on target in pursuing those goals?

Decide who will manage the program. Is your human resource department better equipped to oversee the initiative or will you have senior-level staff members within your department handle this responsibility? …

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