Many employers/owners speak of the skills gap and the need for employees. I hope to address these needs with action items that can be implemented within your facility and provide the encouragement to get started.
Woodworking, as I refer to here, includes cabinets, closets, mill-work, and furniture making of many kinds. And though it may seem boring to some on the outside, I am most fascinated by the beauty and everyday impact of the tangible goods our industry produces. In addition, the industry inherently promotes the use of a renewable biodegradable resource.
So how do we inspire and attract young talent to see it the same way?
Much like the major leagues, some of our best talent is homegrown. Mentorship must be an important business process and trained accordingly! Implemented correctly, mentoring young talent will set you apart from your competition while pursuing your next generation of workforce.
What are the Guidelines for a Successful Mentorship Program?
- Employee-driven relationships that foster personal responsibility, growth and development.
- Emphasize the importance of mentorship and lead by example.
- Regular face-to-face meetings scheduled monthly for ½ to 1 hour of uninterrupted time.
- Have them pre-scheduled in a calendar to ensure commitment.
- Written and shared SMART goals that focus on achieving desired outcomes.
- Have the mentee provide an update in advance of the meeting.
- Have a specific time frame for mentorship that promotes urgency to accomplish goals.
- Use a standardized document to capture progress.
- Structure and accountability to maximize time and investment.
- Celebrate wins and recognize accomplishments however small
No matter how far along you are, guidance is always valuable. As for becoming a mentor, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing someone achieve their goals. Not all businesses are successful, but it’s about the personal development of your mentee that shapes them for future experiences.
This solution isn’t glamorous, but it works. The multi-billion-dollar woodworking industry employs millions worldwide and we need to recognize the importance of reaching the next generation to address the skills gap that our industry is facing.