In-office mentorship is not just one of the most affordable ways to build a better team, it’s also one of the most effective. The benefits are not just limited to efficiency. Mentoring programs also have a wide impact on your practice culture, employee satisfaction, and staff retention. When you base your mentorship programs on data, you’re creating a recipe for outstanding results.
Benefits of Inter-Office Mentorship
Mentoring statistics are impressive. Up to 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if they are offered opportunities to learn and grow,1 and 67% of businesses feel that mentoring has had a positive impact on their profits.2
When you tap an employee to become a mentor, you’re taking a step to build real leadership within your business. Mentors gain a sense of validation and confidence that they are contributing positively. This is often the first step in a managerial career path. Mentees (those who will be mentored) have the opportunity to build new skills, increase their own confidence, and explore career options they might have otherwise overlooked.
Your office as a whole will also see benefits. Mentorship helps to build the entire team by expanding the talent pool, creating cohesion in work practices, and building a consistent experience for your patients. Especially if you’re running a small team, having a broad skill pool helps you cope with employee absences and minimize gaps in patient service. Mentorship also contributes to a collaborative business culture, creating a workplace that nurtures growth and fosters teamwork. All these positives do more than just make it ‘nice’ to come to work every day. They should add up to improvements in your business revenue.
Choosing a Mentor
One great way to identify those who are successful in performing their professional duties is to review your staff’s individual KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Practice analytics can help you find the staff members who routinely lead the group in those key profit markers, like capture rate, average sales price, or optional services. Don’t overlook non-sales related goals, like accurate insurance billing, taking good measurements, or even pursuing professional certifications and advancement.
But good mentors are not just people who are good at their jobs. You’ll need to identify the skills and qualities you believe are essential in their new role. They should include excellent communication skills, empathy, and patience. The best mentors are (or become) skilled teachers, who can both convey complex information and adapt their style according to individual needs.
Equipping a Mentor
Your mentor candidates may need to develop additional skills to become truly effective. If you really want your program to work well, consider providing them with leadership training that reaches beyond traditional management practices. That will help them enhance their essential mentoring skills, like active listening and effective communication.
A good mentor also needs to be able to describe the work and skills they do well. Encourage them to think about how they do what they do, and provide feedback yourself. That will help them develop an understanding of how to begin the process.
Since this should be a collaborative process, it’s also a great idea for you as a business owner or manager to spend time observing the work of your most effective employees. It positions you to help them develop their teaching skills, and it also gives you insight into your own business. If their particular skillset involves engaging with patients, you might even ask them to develop scripts based on their own strategies.
Selecting a Mentee
Chances are good that you’re already aware of your weakest employee. However, using their KPIs to identify areas where they need help can take a lot of the emotion out of conversations about training and improvement. It shifts the conversation from “you’re not doing well,” to “this is what’s happening.” When you can offer up data results, you don’t have to talk about who’s good or bad. Instead, you can talk about what’s working and what’s not.
Set Mentorship Expectations Correctly
Use those same KPIs to help your mentor/mentee pair set some concrete goals to aim for. Identify the benchmarks, record past performance and set an attainable goal for improvement. Consider a 5% improvement as a good starting point. Write out a short description of the mentorship time frame, include the specific skills you’d like to see the mentee develop, and get those goals on paper. Include the description in both employee files.
Build in Accountability
Make sure you check in periodically with both parties (separately) to gauge progress and attitude. Evaluate what’s working and what’s not. You may need to make adjustments as you go along. Whatever you do, don’t “set it and forget it.” Remember, you’re asking both of these people to invest their time, energy, and passion in this process. You need to be invested as well.
The results of the mentor/mentee relationship should also become part of the evaluation for both employees. Leverage their individual KPIs – especially those of the learning employee – to give them clear feedback and encouragement. Again, it’s not about who’s good or bad, it’s about what works.
Don’t be shy about celebrating success in your practice. Sharing progress and acknowledging achievements become a foundational part of your practice culture, helping all of your staff members – and ultimately your patients – to interact positively with your business. If your mentee is genuinely improving, then it behooves you to offer a more concrete thank you. Think bonus, gift card, or even a pay raise, if it’s warranted. Show them that their effort really matters to both you and the business.
Equipping your staff leaders and managers with mentoring tools and experiences creates a supportive work environment geared toward employee growth and progress. By investing in these programs and providing good training, you create a more nurturing workplace culture in which both individuals and the business itself can flourish.