Mentoring Without Formalities: The casual way to share valuable advice and insights with employees

There’s no question that mentoring new or younger employees provides numerous benefits, including fostering employee retention, reinforcing company culture and supporting the overall success of the business. A formal mentoring program may not be the right fit for your small business, but fostering informal mentoring relationships with new employees or employees who are joining the workforce for the first time can provide the same experiences and benefits to both employees and your business.

What is informal mentoring? 

It’s a casual, but intentional relationship where you or another employee with experience working for you provides guidance and shares knowledge with a new employee, the mentee. It’s an organic relationship without set schedules, strict roles or bureaucratic processes. 

Informal mentoring allows the new employee to receive targeted advice and support, all through casual conversations and interactions. It’s mentoring “on-the-fly” as situations arise. It can happen in the middle of a project, over a beverage in the break room, or en route to a client meeting. 

One challenge that some new employees experience is a reluctance to ask too many questions for fear of seeming inexperienced or incapable of the job. It’s critical to acknowledge the informal mentoring relationship exists so the new employee understands she or he can turn to a specific person for advice and not feel asking questions will reflect negatively on their performance.

How to be an informal mentor

To be an effective mentor, stay approachable. Share your own career story and insights generously. Provide guidance not step-by-step instructions so the mentee can work independently with confidence.

Along the way, troubleshoot any issues that arise. Poor communication or differing expectations can easily derail an informal mentoring relationship. Address these issues as they arise so you can keep the mentorship relationship on track. 

By embracing these casual yet invaluable relationships, you’ll inspire new employees while ensuring continuity of process for your business.

If you would like to discuss strategies to grow your business, let’s talk:

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