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Human Resource Management: Workplace Shortages (Mentoring) Report

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Updated: Jun 18th, 2019

Executive Summary

Workplace shortages have become a common problem in Australia. Because of the upgraded demands towards employees and the unwillingness of the latter to train their professional skills on their own, the Australian public companies and private entrepreneurships have developed a strategy of mentoring, which has already been launched in several companies, yet its aftereffects still remain unexplored. By considering the opportunities that the mentoring approach can offer, as well as evaluating the threats that it poses, one can possibly decide whether approving mentoring in public and private companies is truly worth it.

Introduction: Where Workplace Shortages Stem from

Australian companies are facing a crisis. The lack of qualified workforce is having its toll on the companies’ performance (Fang, 2009). Although reasons might vary according to the chosen field, a number of companies in Australia suffer from the same problem, which is the inability of adopting the recent changes and innovations fast and efficiently (Jaworski, 2010). Therefore, the factors that cause workplace shortage are:

  • Problems with tracking recent innovations (Kilpatrick, Johns, Millar, Le & Routley, 2007);
  • High community expectations (Beth, 2012);
  • High workforce expectations (Lindsay, Hanson, Taylor & NcBurney, 2008);
  • Absence of cohesive organizational behavior principles (Iacono, 2010);
  • Absence of clearly established corporate values, company mission and vision (Cummings & Patel, 2009).

The Consequences of Workplace Shortages

As one might have expected, workplace shortages will most likely lead to the most deplorable results in the nearest future.

Finally, the lack of qualified workforce will probably lead to such phenomenon as migrant workforce. Therefore, the work quality will drop even lower, while the unemployment rates will sharply increase.

Concerning the existing Alternatives: Workplace Mentoring and More

A number of strategies have been provided to solve the above-mentioned problem. However, only three of them seem viable enough. Of these three, mentoring might be considered the most costly and time-consuming, yet it clearly has fewer drawbacks and will lead to better results.

The Potential of Workplace Mentoring

Naturally, mentoring has a number of advantages compared to other strategies suggested as an alternative for the Australian entrepreneurships to adopt. For example, raising the retirement age seems a rather unjust move, while mentoring is, on the contrary, a very reasonable suggestion. Among the key benefits, the following must be mentioned:

  • Upgrading the employees’ skills (Rayburn, 2010);
  • Using an individual approach (Holding, 2012);
  • Learning the employees to adopt a different (optimistic) approach towards working and learning (Burgess & Dyer, 2009);
  • Promoting the idea of lifelong (self-motivated) learning (Morrison, 2004).

It is also crucial that the chosen workplace mentor should have a set of specific qualities that will help the given mentor train the employees in the most efficient way possible. The given issue is rather debatable, though, since it picks a question concerning whether a mentor should train solely the employees’ professional qualities, or their organizational behavior. In the latter case, it is important that the mentor should have the following qualities:

Professional qualities training Organizational behavior training
  • Competence;
  • Ability to analyze;
  • Explanatory skills;
  • Ability to evaluate progress.
  • Positive attitude;
  • Accepting responsibilities;
  • Being confident;
  • Being eager to learn more

The qualities in the left column will help the trainer upgrade the trainee’s skills, while the qualities in the right column will modify the trainee’s behavior.

The Possible Obstacles and Negative Outcomes

It would be wrong, however, to assume that mentoring is an impeccable approach for any Australian entrepreneurship to adopt in order to raise employees’ motivation. Mentoring also has its flaws, which have to be taken into account as long as the company leader is willing to get a positive effect out of the specified approach. With that said, one must remember that mentoring, as a rule, implies the following flaws:

Conflicts between the trainer and the trainee

Arguments in the trainer–trainee are inevitable; moreover, they are necessary. In order to make the employee take interest in self-development, a trainer must offer challenging tasks, the difficulty of which will surely trigger conflicts, yet will teach employees to handle complexities at work (Ghosh, Dierkes & Falletta, 2011).

Bringing the employees’ self-esteem down

Providing a grown-up person with a trainer who is said to be trying to improve the skills of the latter and, which might be considered even ore humiliating, change the attitude of the employee towards his/her work might be regarded by this employee as a sign of his/her incompetence. Unless (s)he failed at his/her work and was irresponsible for the task that (s)he had been assigned with, the employer would have never resorted to hiring a trainer – these are the kind of ideas that will definitely rush through the employees’ mind. Therefore, it is crucial that the company manager or, more reasonably, an HRM team, should explain the purpose of the trainers and where the necessity to change the current state of affairs stems from (Eby, Durley; Evans & Ragins, 2008).

Decreasing the rates of responsibility

Not a very plausible concern, it should be considered anyway as a threatening possibility. Once a grown-up person accepts that (s)he is going to have someone tracking his/her actions and controlling his/her steps, the quality of the employees’ performance might go down a few notches, since (s)he will feel the coach, not the employee is responsible for the outcomes. Hence, it is up to the company and/or the coach that the employee should retain his/her responsibilities (Griggs, 2012).

Workplace Mentoring Strategies

Needless to say, a number of workplace mentoring strategies have been developed over a relatively short period of time because of the promising concept that the given approach offers. As a result, company leaders face a wide range of strategic choices that will most likely predetermine the course in which their company is going to develop. Therefore, workplace mentoring seems the optimum decision at present (Washington, 2011). Even though the given approach is relatively new, it has already evolved far enough to offer the company leaders several mentoring types to choose from. Among the most popular, the following kinds of workplace mentorship must be name:

  • Setting the goals and splitting them into objectives;
  • Learning to distinguish between personal, professional and career goals;
  • Differentiating between personal needs and the needs of the company;
  • Providing the ways to link personal needs and the needs of the company;
  • Learning new professional strategies and tactics;
  • Applying the new learned strategies to practice.

Conclusion: Mentoring as the Most Promising Coping Mechanism

Therefore, it cannot be doubted that workplace mentoring is bound to become an Australian foot forward in dealing with workplace shortages. While mentoring might be considered as displaying a lack of trust towards the potential employees and a definitely overbearing, parenting attitude towards the company staff, it is still clear that mentoring will help not only train the employees accordingly, but also provide a behavioral model for them to follow.

Instead of changing the corporate climate and adapting private and public companies towards what employees would like to see them – calm, stale environment with little problems and even less progress – the Australian entrepreneurs seem to have taken risks to provide employees with role models to live up to. While some will certainly find the message too on-the-nose, the idea of representing a model employee who will be able to both mildly control the team and stream their activity in the right direction looks very promising at present.

Reference List

Beth, M. (2012). High performance workplaces of the future. The Queensland Nurse, 31(1), 3.

Burgess, J. & Dyer, S. (2009). Workplace mentoring for indigenous Australians: a case study. Equal Opportunities International, 28 (6), 465 – 485.

Cummings, L. & Patel, C. (2009). Managerial attitudes toward a stakeholder prominence within a Southeast Asia context. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing.

Eby, L. T., Durley, J. R., Evans, S. C., Ragins, B. R. (2008). Mentors’ perceptions of negative mentoring experiences: Scale development and nomological validation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(2), 358-373.

Fang, T. (2009). Workplace responses to vacancies and skill shortages in Canada. International Journal of Manpower, 30(4), 326-348.

Ghosh, R., Dierkes, S. & Falletta, S. (2011). Incivility spiral in mentoring relationships: Reconceptualizing negative mentoring as deviant workplace behavior. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 13(1), 22-39.

Griggs, C. (2012). Mentoring community-based trainee assistant practitioners: a case study. British Journal of Community Nursing, 17(7), 328-32.

Holding, G. (2012). Introducing mentoring: A guide for mentors and organisers of mentoring schemes. Bloomington, IN: Balbo Press.

Jaworski, K. (2010). Minding the gaps: Examining skill shortages in Australian rural non-agricultural workplaces. Journal of Management and Organization, 18(4), 499-515.

Iacono, T. (2010). Addressing increasing demands on Australian disability support workers. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 35(4), 290 – 295

Rayburn, C. A. (2010). A handbook for women mentors: Transcending barriers of stereotype, race, and ethnicity. Santa-Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Kilpatrick, S. I., Johns, S. S., Millar, P., Le, Q., Routley, G. (2008). Skill shortages in health: innovative solutions using vocational education and training. Rural And Remote Health, 7(1), 623.

Lindsay, R., Hanson, L., Taylor, M. & NcBurney, H. (2008). Workplace stressors experienced by physiotherapists working in regional public hospitals. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 16(4), 194-200.

Morrison, R. (2004). Informal relationships in the workplace: Associations with job satisfaction, organisational commitment and turnover intentions. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 33(3),114-128.

Washington, C. E. (2011). Mentoring, organizational rank, and women’s perceptions of advancement opportunities in the workplace. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2(9), 162.

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