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Effectiveness of mentoring programs regarding employee job satisfaction
Mentoring is an informal and flexible approach to leadership, supevision and professional development. It involves the mentor and protégé setting goals that are focused on the protégé’s professional and personal development needs. Mentoring relationships can occur between a mentor and a protégé or a small group of protégés or it may involve peers who act as mentors for each other (Skinner, Roche, O'Connor, Pollard & Todd, 2005:2). Mentoring programs are increasing rapidly in response to needs for new and innovative ways to develop people, allow them to grow in their jobs and the need for change. However, typical problem areas include expectations and objectives which may be misunderstood, and these are areas that are necessary to determine whether the mentoring program was effective or not. Due to the vague understanding of mentoring programs and their effectiveness, techniques and methods were reviewed and discussed to figure these out. Mentors and proteges who were already on programs and those who had begun new programs were randomly selected to participate in this evaluation; the reason why these two groups were chosen is that there is a need to determine how the groups went about making their programs a success or not, since these groups were already on the program or starting out, and interest in a mentoring program was already existent. An attempt to motivate new groups would defeat the aim, since it could sabotage the aim of the research and end-results in several ways, for example, groups would require guidance to begin their programs. The groups were monitored over a five month period, and evaluated at the end of every four weeks in order to make sure that no information would be omitted at the end of the five months. Furthermore, information from literature on mentoring was used in order to compare respondents' information that was gathered over the monitoring period. Participant groups were randomly chosen from the Karas region and from different industries and fields in order to obtain a good reading from different work environments; the work areas were chosen from seven companies. Each month had an area of interest, which was examined throughout the five months. Once questionnaires were completed and returned, data was examined to determine positive and negative impacts that mentoring relationships and approaches (within in the relationships), had on both parties and their styles of participation. Participants were assessed six months after the fifth evaluation to determine the long term effect that mentoring had on participants, the mentor and protege. A reason for this was that some participants might have grasped the knowledge and skills for a only a short period of time and then forget or ignore it, while others may have taken time to understand and implement the new knowledge, which would have given them time to absorb the information, knowledge and skills that were acquired. The mentor, protege, as well as the organization, should be clear on what they expect and want from mentoring, and should communicate thoroughly, while the program should be tailored to the needs of participants and the culture. The mentor should be trained, if necessary and evaluation and reviews methods should be established in order to ensure smooth running and, eventually, the effectiveness of the program. Both employees and the organizations can benefit; employees can benefit through career development initiatives and find a sense of belonging and empowerment, while organizations can benefit as this helps the firm to communicate its values and behaviours, provide opportunities to expand networks and boost training efforts, as well as facilitate knowledge.