When we start in our careers, we tend to have the opportunity to receive a lot of support or at least be given some leeway if mistakes are made when we are starting out. Some are lucky and are able to go on a graduate program or a training program. While others fall into our current role, which happens a lot in SEO. When starting out in a career, you are given quite a bit of slack and are encouraged to learn more and develop yourself.
But what happens after you have gained experience, moved up the ladder and are managing a team? Can you ask for help? Is there help out there for you? More importantly, are people training your manager? Not everyone is a good manager. According to FSB, UK productivity is negatively affected by weaknesses in leadership and management capabilities at firm level, especially in small businesses. I was not surprised to see the research by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills that found that leadership and management skills are the key to driving innovation and high performance working. This leadership is important ensure that organisations adopt the right strategies to boost productivity and growth. So why do organisations not invest in their people? Aren’t people a company’s best asset?
According to the Gov.uk website, you can only ask for time off to train if your organisation has 250 people or more. The study says that in 2017 in the UK, 5.5 million (96%) businesses were micro-businesses, employing 0-9 people. Microbusinesses accounted for 33% of employment and 22% of turnover. Another surprising fact was that 99% of businesses in the UK have between 1 and 249 people. This means that out of the 5.7 million businesses in the UK (as of December 2017), then only 57,000 of these businesses have more than 250 people and only these people can ask for time off to train. The rest of us will need to learn and improve ourselves in our free time.
Why aren’t micro-businesses providing more training programs?
Resource. They do not seem to have the time. According to the Federation of Small Business in UK, their 2016 report found that although 91% of business owners recognized how valuable it was to train and invest in staff, only 43% said they did so. These are disappointing figures to see, but having worked for these micro-businesses, it is the reality. For most of us who work for these businesses, what we can do?
Have you ever thought about having a mentor? A mentor is a person who can help you and give you support. A Performance coach is a person who helps you achieve your goals. I read a very interesting article on payment sense about mentoring. 39% said it helped improve their confidence and 23% said it helped them manage stress. So how do you find a mentor? Some have mentors from school (12%), but for those who left a long time ago, it can be difficult. According to Payment sense, 22% of people’s mentors are an ex manager and 15% have their first manager as their mentor. 19% have their dad as their mentor. However dads can be a little biased and want the best for you. For example your dad may want you to stay in role where you are not developing and growing, but your dad is concerned with you paying the bills. Paying your way through life is important but you also need to develop yourself. So maybe you might be using savings for a short while but it is an investment in you.
A business mentor is impartial and independent. The mentor will also question you, they will not give you the solution but help you get there by asking you the right questions. A good mentor will only mentor one or two people at one time as they have to be there for you. By having a mentor you are more likely to succeed in business.
What are the benefits of having a mentor?
I read an interesting article on Forbes.com about the positives of having a mentor. Meghan sourced her stats from Deloitte who conducted this research across LEDC and MEDC countries, and interviewed millennials, there were 300 people interviewed in UK, USA, Australia, Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland as well as LEDCs.
Step back, what is a millennial?
Pew Research defines millennials are those born from 1981 to 1996 and Generation X are those born 1965-1980. Post-millennials are those born post-1996. Deloitte refers to these definitions and time frames in other surveys although did not state the age range of the interviewees for this study.
Effects of mentoring
Where there is mentoring, there is a positive impact and 61% of Millennials in this study have a mentor. Having a mentor has a direct impact on the company. Those with a mentor are twice as likely to stay with their employer than those who do not (68% compared to 32%). Out of those who had a mentor, 81% of them were happy with them. The numbers speak for themselves, invest in your staff, make sure they are happy and they will reward you with loyalty. This is especially important when I read in the same survey that millennials will be 75% of the workforce by 2025, so that is only in 7 years time. What I found interesting is that millennials want to feel in control of their careers. 29% of them said they have total control over their careers and 77% felt that their career paths are in their own hands and not influenced by others. Perhaps this is why they enjoy having a mentor, the mentor supports them and works with them.
What are your strengths?
I initially found this question difficult to answer and how they can apply to your business. However, I completed the CliftonStrengths online talent assessment and it highlighted my 5 top strengths. My strengths are Responsible, Maximiser, Developer, Learner and Empathy/ The way Gallup works is by focusing on your strengths which then become your talents. This is the opposite to what you might be used to where people focus on improving your weakness. People who know and use their Clifton Strengths are 7.8% more productive in their role, 6 times as likely to be engaged at work and 6 times as likely to do what they do best every day. If that does not sound like a motivation to start using this in your company, I am not sure what is!
I have enjoyed using the Clifton Strengths Framework and am continuing to build on it every day. One of my strengths, Responsible means I am reliable and do a task/job well. Some people may want me to cut corners and just get the job done quickly. This is not good enough for me. I stick to my strengths and make sure the work is completed to a high standard. With Clifton Strengths and working with a mentor it allows you to continue working in the way you are comfortable and build on your natural abilities to turn them into your talents which not only improves your performance at work but develops you personally as well.
Many people I have spoken to have taken the decision to start their own business and I was surprised to see what an impact having a business mentor had on their business. While researching for the article I found that If you are looking to set up your own business, having a mentor, can positively impact your company. According to SBA, 70% of mentored businesses survived more than 5 years. This is an important stat when 30% of businesses may not make 2 years.
We are all very busy people but it is important to focus on you and develop your own skills. Take a little time out of your day job, try the Clifton Strengths or look into getting a mentor if you want them to help you in a certain area. I have one from Sales Code and get so much from it, helps a lot. We only have one shot at life and I certainly want to make sure mine has no regrets.