If you think back through your career, most likely there’s somebody that comes to mind as a mentor. Maybe somebody that helped you get started, provided you guidance or just had a listening ear. Did you know there are multiple benefits a mentorship program can provide new employees on your farm? Sarah Beth Aubrey, author of The CEO Coach blog, shared some of benefits a mentor can provide new employees at the 2018 Top Producer Seminar.
- Acclimate More Quickly – Even if you grew up working in the family business and come back from college it can be a little awkward to know what to do on the first day. “There’s a dynamic difference now,” Aubrey explains. “If you have someone to help you have conversations, bounce ideas off of, that can really help.” She says mentors should not be your direct supervisor and she does not recommend a dad mentoring his son in a formal program.
- Bridging The Gap – Sometimes young people returning to the farm feel like their ideas fall on deaf ears. A mentor is somebody a new employee can share ideas with, and Aubrey says they can help new employees to figure out how to put new ideas into play.
- Sharing Knowledge – A mentorship program can provide seasoned employees an avenue to share their institutional knowledge with new employees. “Sometimes seasoned employees feel threatened by new employee,” Aubrey explains. “Jack’s been with dad 20 years and I just hired Trevor. Trevor’s got a B.S. in something Jack doesn’t care about. We aren’t getting rid of Jack because he’s got value. Sometimes making Jack Trevor’s mentor creates a way for productive conversations to happen between the two.”
- Provide Feedback – Training new employees can be frustrating. “You hired a new person to take something off your plate but you have to manage them,” Aubrey says. “Sometimes it’s hard to be the only set of eyes on a new employee’s progress.” A mentor can provide feedback before bad habits become costly mistakes. They can also help guide a new employee and help them understand the culture on your farm.