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NCSEA Leadership Conference 2023

The NCSEA Leadership Symposium in Anaheim, California provided an opportunity for leaders to increase their skills and consider different perspectives. The session Increasing Retention: Pivoting from Managing to Mentoring by Monica Hall encouraged leaders to view mentoring as an approach for employee retention. As the Director of Training and Professional Development from the Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support Services, Ms. Hall delivered concrete examples and tools directly from her experience implementing this program in Georgia.

 Ms. Hall began her discussion explaining the role of a mentor: 

  • Support employee development
  • Establish goals
  • Identify skills and knowledge
  • Provide consistent feedback
  • Develop a pathway for success

A mentor provides the foundation for employees to learn and grow within their profession and within their lives. As a manager, I aspire to fulfill this mentor role for my employees.

Important Steps in a Mentoring Program

Since mentoring may serve as a mindset shift, Ms. Hall shared Georgia’s Management Mentor Guide. This guide includes 6 steps to achieve a mentoring program.

Step 1: Preparation

Ms. Hall suggested to begin preparing before sending out the job description.  Review the job description and make sure the job is clearly defined.  Job position documents and information are created and placed in a common location for new employees. Once someone is hired, the manager reaches out to the new employee to discuss onboarding activities and ensure they are ready for their first day.

Step 2: Onboarding

This step takes place in week 1 of employment and includes introducing the new employee to the team, the work, and expectations. The manager provides guidance, resources, and training resources. Connect the new employee to a co-worker who can assist in mentoring the new hire.

Step 3: Orientation

The orientation step occurs throughout the first month of employment. The new employee attends any mandatory trainings and receives policies and guides for their position. The manager provides consistent feedback and meets with the new employee on a weekly basis.  

Step 4: Getting Started

This step occurs during month 2 and provides on-the-job training. Assign the new employee tasks to help them get more invested in their job. The manager provides consistent feedback and meets with the new employee on a weekly basis. At this time, the manager and new hire establish goals.

Step 5: Training

This step begins as early as month 3 until completion of the new hire training. The new employee practices learned skills and is assigned more tasks specific to their job. The new employee’s performance is monitored and reviewed for coaching needs and challenges. The manager provides consistent feedback and meets with the new employee on a bi-weekly basis.

Step 6: Continuous Follow-Up

This step encourages the manager to continue with feedback, set expectations, and establish goals with the new hire. The manager should meet with the new employee 30 days following the completion of new hire training, then 60 days later, and then 90 days later. The manager uses coaching tools to assist the employee with professional development and career goals. The new hire is also provided a survey link to evaluate the mentor experience and to offer any suggestions for improvement.

Through all these steps, Ms. Hall explained the importance of continuous feedback to the new employee, so they can develop their skills in a meaningful way. She suggested that managers need to build their agency’s foundation by building their employees. When managers coach and mentor employees, employees perform better and become stronger employees and empowered managers.

I found this session very impactful and could easily see how the success of an employee is connected to the time and effort a manager spends on their employee. As Ms. Hall explained, managers manage the work, but they mentor the people. When employees are successfully mentored and feel important to the whole of the organization through their work and accomplishments, then employees are motivated to remain where they are. Click to read more of our Courtland Insights.

Blog credit: Lisa Stuchell, Senior Training Consultant

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