Utilising Mentorship to Alleviate Burnout in Emotionally Demanding Professions

In this article, we take a look at mentoring programs, why they work, and how they can reduce burnout.

Mentoring« Back to Articles

Mentorship programs have well-documented benefits both for overall productivity and for employee wellness. People who participate in mentorship programs generally experience less work-related stress and are significantly less likely to resign.

The ingredients are relatively simple. Take an experienced employee and a newer one, and put them in a room together. Some mentorship programs are carefully structured while others are more about fostering connections. Regardless, virtually all of them are effective.

In this article, we take a look at what they are, why they work, and how they can reduce burnout.

How Does Mentorship Help with Burnout?

You are a busy professional. You work nine hours a day and spend another hour round trip for your commute. Almost half your waking hours go into the job and that doesn’t account for the time you spend getting ready for work in the morning. The number of times you check your email when you are “off work.” The time it takes to unwind when you finally get home.

No one in your household can relate to the corrosive stress that you experience each day. You can talk about your feelings with your partner, but they don’t truly understand your struggles because they haven’t experienced them firsthand.

Mentors are a great outlet for dealing with difficult feelings because they have been in the same position. They know what it is like to work in a difficult job, and they can provide concrete advice on how to deal with work-related stress.

Certain professions, nursing, education, social work, etc. require new hires to participate in mentorship programs. Compulsory participation helps ensure that the rookies don’t fall through the cracks.

Stress management isn’t the only benefit of mentorship programs. Below, we look at a few other reasons mentorship programs work well for everyone involved.

1. Mentorship Programs Increase Job Proficiency

It’s been said that about 70% of work-related skills are developed “on the job.” The rest come from education, training, etc. Having a strong relationship with an experienced mentor can make on-the-job learning more structured and effective. The newly minted professional has someone they can take their questions to, allowing them to get good quicker.

Not only is this great for the company, but it also boosts the new hire’s career prospects considerably. The sooner you get good at what you do, the quicker you become eligible for the promotion track. Speaking of which…

2. Mentorship Programs Help Professionals Develop Their Leadership Skills

It’s obvious how this works for the mentor. They very literally gain practical experience as a leader. The mentee may experience the same benefit. They get to spend more time working with people who are good at what they do, allowing them to learn the right way to meet company expectations.

The mentor may also serve as a networking connection, introducing the mentee to higher management within the company.

3. Improved Retention

A recent study showed that mentees have a 72% retention rate. Mentors have a 68% retention rate. It’s perhaps for this reason that more than 70% of Fortune 500 companies have active mentorship programs. High retention saves companies enormous amounts of money but it also has direct employee benefits.

Employees who stay in one spot for a long time generally do so because they are happy where they work. They also often experience more opportunities for raises and advances than they would have if they jumped around a lot.

Mentorship programs boost retention because they keep employees on track for good opportunities while providing them with an outlet for their stress and general concerns.

How Do You Encourage People to Participate in Mentorship Programs?

While the benefits of mentorship programs are well-established, getting people to participate in them can still be hard. Most working professionals don’t have extra time in their schedules to opt into elective activities. There are several effective ways to get people to participate.

• Schedule time within their working day: It’s much easier to get someone to agree to sit down for a conversation with a coworker at 9 AM than it is at 5 PM when they are trying to get home. By making mentorship programs part of their working day, you eliminate the number one barrier to participation. Just make sure that the program doesn’t wind up adding more stress than it subtracts. If the employee feels pressure to make up for lost time during the day, the program will not have its intended effect.
• Recognition and rewards: Implement a system that recognises and rewards both mentors and mentees for their participation and achievements within the mentorship program. Publicly acknowledge the contributions of mentors, perhaps through company-wide announcements, awards, or even small tokens of appreciation. Employees respond very well to recognition from their supervisors— largely because they feel a significant disconnect. In fact, a study from several years ago found that the average working person trusts strangers more than they do their own boss. Recognising your staff publically will not only strengthen the program but also improve relationships company-wide.
• Structured training for mentors: Offer training programs for potential mentors to enhance their mentoring skills. Providing mentors with the tools and knowledge they need to be effective can make the experience more rewarding for them. It will also improve the mentee experience. Being good at your job is awesome but it doesn’t necessarily equip you with the skills required to educate and provide emotional support. Ensuring that your mentors are actually good at what they do will encourage participation in the program.
• Provide tangible rewards: Many businesses have found success in mentorship programs by offering tangible rewards for both mentors and mentees. These are usually provided in the form of small payments, though you may find other ways to offer incentives.

Finally, try to make it clear how participation will help mentors and mentees further their careers. The promise of stress management is nice, but it may not be the effective selling point you are hoping for. Ample sleep and green vegetables are also good for stress management, but you don’t see spinach flying off the shelves.

To learn more about mentoring, book a demonstration with a member of the PushFar team today.

This article was guest written by Andrew Deen.

Welcome to PushFar, the world's largest mentoring platform. Whether you're looking to find a mentor or launch your own mentoring programs and schemes, we can help.
Looking for a mentor or to become a mentor?
Join Now Free Running your own mentoring programs?
Request a Demo

Explore more articles...

Similar mentoring, career progression and learning articles and resources by PushFar, you might like to read.

Go Further, with PushFar.

What are you looking for in your mentoring journey?
Individual Mentoring - Join Free
Organisation Solutions - Request a Demo