When you consider employee wellness, you should think beyond health coverage and wellness programs and consider mental health, stress and workplace engagement. The American College of Healthcare Executives states that formal mentoring programs are excellent tools for any workforce because they create happier staff members who are more productive. A mentoring program does not have to be large or expensive. Rather, it should simply be in place as a way for employees to work to achieve the goals of the company together.

The goal of a mentoring program is to establish a formal network for employees to reach out to when there is a need. Mentoring programs can help in many ways:

  • A mentoring program is ideal for team building. It allows for better communication and better morale. Happy employees are generally more open to participating in office programs, including workplace wellness initiatives.
  • Mentoring improves retention within the business. This can help you reduce turnover and improve productivity.
  • It provides a sense of accountability within the organization as well, states The Center for Association Leadership. A mentoring culture can help encourage employees to achieve their established goals because there’s someone else encouraging them to do so.
  • It provides an opportunity for employees to have someone to turn to when they are facing stress or mental health concerns. They have a go-to person to turn to.

Establishing a Mentorship Program

The process of putting this program in place may seem challenging. Luckily, it’s easier than it may seem.

  • Pair employees to foster more one-on-one situations. This is important but can be tricky to navigate. Pairings should be based on need. For example, allow employees to provide information about what they would like to learn, and then match them with those who can offer those skills.
  • Consider implementing a program that pairs all incoming employees with a peer who has experience in the same or similar role.
  • Host an information day to discuss the goals of the mentoring program with everyone involved. Explain the goals of the program and what expectations are in place.
  • Establish specific goals, such as the amount of one-on-one time that pairs should have during the workweek. Determine when this can occur based on scheduling needs.
  • Managers should oversee and engage the pairings. What is the individual learning? What has he or she achieved? How is the communication?
  • Evaluate the program regularly to ensure that it is working to meet specific goals, and offer outlets to make it work better. It’s always a good idea stop periodically to ensure that both parties are getting what they want out of the mentor relationship.

A mentoring program can be an important part of your business. It’s a cost-effective method of building trust, loyalty and communication within an organization. While mentoring is often touted for its ability to improve employee growth and produce leaders, it can also positively impact every aspect of the workforce. For a company looking to help employees with aspects of their wellness beyond health coverage, mentoring is an easy investment.

Sandy Baker is a full-time freelance writer specializing in health, personal finance and Internet marketing. Her long-term history online has included publications with companies including Marriott Hotels, The New York Times and dozens of other small and medium-sized businesses. She is also published in print with award-winning books such as The Complete Guide to Estate Planning, Complete Guide to Early Retirement, The Complete Bankruptcy Guide for Consumers and Small Businesses and The Complete Guide to Organic Lawn Care.