energizing breakthrough performance

Mentoring for Improved Employee Morale

Author: ; Published: Mar 18, 2010; Category: Mentoring, Uncategorized, Workforce Succession Planning; Tags: , , , ; No Comments»


Mentoring programs are morale-builders. They replenish energy among those who are expected to be more productive tomorrow than they were yesterday. Mentoring’s considerable contributions to morale and energy are an investment in tomorrow and an investment in today.

As an example, a forward-looking city government in Southern California, with which we have had the privilege of working as mentoring training consultants, has leveraged its mentoring program to build a strong esprit de corps throughout its workforce. The commitment of staff to bettering themselves spills over into the important work that they do everyday.

A recent study published by the Harvard Business Review (January-February 2010 issue, "What Really Motivates Workers" by Teresa M. Amabile) reports that an important ingredient, perhaps the most important ingredient in employee satisfaction is having a sense of making progress in the work that the employee is doing.  At Strategic Futures, we believe that this principle applies not only to the work that the employee does for the organization, but also the work that the employee does on and for himself or herself.

Mentoring is as important, perhaps more important, in economically difficult times as it is during times of prosperity. It’s neither a secret nor inappropriate that employees who leverage your organization’s mentoring program and seek out mentors are committed to cultivating their careers. Naturally, it’s important for mentors to make plain that extraordinary efforts to develop oneself are not a guarantee that promotion will follow. Expectations must be set judiciously. The bottom line is that employees who make an investment of time and effort in bettering themselves and their skills are likely to increase the probability of promotion or other rewards, but there is no guarantee.

That said, career mobility in today’s flattened organizations is not what it once was. Promotions and rewards in budget-constricted organizations can be few and far between. Indeed, sustaining one’s gainful employment at a status quo level is a challenge in many places.

However, these difficult times can be viewed by employees as an opportunity to “pre-position” themselves for future career gains. Once the protégé or mentee, has grasped today’s economic realities, s/he can gain motivation from the fact that they are gearing themselves up for opportunities that will eventually emerge. A large cadre of mentees who share this optimistic view and who continue to improve themselves affords vital positive energy to the enterprises that are strapped by current economic challenges.

When you are considering the possibilities for high-return HR investments, give mentoring programs a close look.