1.1      Background to the Study

Traditionally, mentorship involves a process that brings together the inexperienced and experienced individuals in an attempt to enable the former to gain knowledge, self-confidence, skills as the other benefits from the later as they transit through the process (Colby and Young, 2006). (Allen 2007) says mentorship is a system of semi-structured guidance where one person or a group of people share their knowledge, skills and experience to assist others to progress in their own lives and careers. Over time, the definition of mentorship has evolved, with some theorists suggesting that mentorship must be voluntary relationship of equality, openness, and trust between the mentor and mentee (Coppola et al, 2010). Mentorship further involves motivating and empowering the other person to identify their own issues and goals, and helping them to find ways of resolving or reaching them. It is not by doing it for them, or expecting them to 'do it the way I did it', but by understanding and respecting different ways of working Bozionelos (2006).

A person who commands a certain degree of respect, either by virtue of holding a higher-level position, or because of age, expertise or experience doing the job is referred to as a mentor (Noe et al, 2002). It also refers to someone who takes a special interest in a person, and in teaching that person skills and attitudes to help that person succeed. (Garten2007) states that a shift has occurred that mentorship is now viewed as a knowledge management technique that supports the creation of knowledge or innovation. (Mathewman et al 2012) established that mentorship has a large number of outcomes for the mentor, the protégé and the organization. Protégé outcomes include career advancement, success and satisfaction whilst mentors can benefit from increased promotion rates, rejuvenation and the acquisition of useful information. Furthermore, organizational outcomes include increased employee motivation, better job performance and increased competitive advantage. (Clutterbuck et al 2012) found out that mentorship has the net effect of enhancing the competence of mentee; provide psychological support, motivation and job satisfaction which enhances performance not only for the employee but the organization as a whole which may translate into a competitive advantage position to the organization.

Olsen et al (1999) revealed that in knowledge economy, where the business environment is characterized by turbulence and complexity, knowledge is the main source of creating both innovation and sustainable competitive advantage. It is therefore necessary to appreciate the link between mentorship and knowledge identification, creation, transfer and application of knowledge in order to enhance employee competence and capability through acquisition of relevant skills, knowledge and decision making strategies. (Roussean 2008) emphasizes that instructional and transfer strategies are ways in which new concepts and skills are communicated and transferred from a seasoned individual to a less experienced person to reach a specific goal. For instance, with the 4p model developed by Toyota Company to ensure its continuous success, (Meier et al 2005) states that Toyota leaders have learned through mentorship and experience that when they follow the right process they get the right results. Toyota Company also disclosed that when someone in the Toyota company learns an important lesson, he/she is expected to share it with others facing similar problems so that the company can learn from such sharing. Coppola et al (2010) explains that mature and experienced organizations will see mentorship as another method to help the entity achieve its mission, objectives and goals as mentorship ensures that organizational skills, knowledge and best practices are transferred from the mentor to the mentee. As a result of this knowledge transfer mentorship, the organization benefits through the development of more highly trained and competent employees who are loyal, with enhanced efficiency; and, competence in their jobs. In this case mentorship is viewed as a method of developing strategic leaders (Zachary et al, 2012).

Mentorship has immense benefits to an organization besides being the key to improving project capability. While there is a reliance on personal knowledge, explicit knowledge and collaboration within the project external networks play a crucial role in terms of knowledge creation. These networks tend to be the informal networks of project team members when external knowledge or expertise is required (Jennex, 2007). The process of mentorship can be used to instruct organization culture, pass on technical expertise, develop creative problem solving, foster critical thinking, and build interpersonal skills, which are requisites to successful performance of an organization (Coppola et al, 2010). How leadership mentorship, innovative mentorship, and knowledge transfer mentorship affect employee productivity in Start-Up Innovation Hub, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria is the concern of this study. Furthermore, leadership and innovative competencies can be developed by an employee through mentorship. This study therefore endeavours to find out how leadership mentorship, innovative mentorship, Knowledge transfer mentorship and Talent development mentorship influence employee productivity in Start-Up Innovation Hub, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.

1.2      Statement of the Problem

In a developing country like Nigeria, employees are considered as a tool of accomplishing the tasks without realizing their emotions or work requirements. It consequently reduces their attention and interest in the work and they try to avoid performing according to the will of the firm, an organization or an institution. Such employees are least beneficial to the workplace as they get their wage/pay but in return they are consistently lacking their interest in their work. Employees who are cared and provided timely learning through training at different intervals and on the job coaching/mentoring are much encouraged and active employees and they comparatively outperform those who are lacking these facilities. In country like Nigeria, especially in educational sector HR practices are not much widespread in public and private sector. There are some signs of existence of these practices in private but public is far away from this concept and, they hardly realize the importance of it. So, highlighting the need of training, mentoring and other HR beneficiary practices will attract the attention of the institutions and they will include them as a part of their plans and policies.

1.3   Research Objectives

The study has both general objective and specific objectives. The general objective or main objective of this study is to investigate the impact of mentoring as a tool in improving employee productivity by using Start-Up Innovation Hub, Uyo as a case study. The specific objectives are:

i)             To examine the effect of mentoring outcomes on employee performance at Start-Up Innovation Hub, Uyo, Akwa Ibom, State

ii)           To study the effect of mentoring challenges on employee performance at Start-Up Innovation Hub, Uyo, Akwa Ibom, State

iii)         To identify the strategies for effective mentoring at Start-Up Innovation Hub, Uyo, Akwa Ibom, State

1.4   Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

i)             What are the effects of mentoring outcomes on employee performance at Start-Up Innovation Hub, Uyo, Akwa Ibom, State?

ii)           What are the effects of mentoring challenges on employee performance at Start-Up Innovation Hub, Uyo, Akwa Ibom, State?

iii)         What are the strategies for effective mentoring at Start-Up Innovation Hub, Uyo, Akwa Ibom, State?

Research Hypothesis

Ho: There is no significant effect of Mentoring on improving employee productivity.

Hi: There is a significant effect of Mentoring on improving employee productivity.



1.5   Significance of the Study

The study will assist the Start-Up Innovation Hub management in addressing the gaps of mentoring in the workplace that are overlooked in improving the organization performance. This can foster a drive towards achieving the organization goals and objectives in serving needy people in the community. It will also help management measure the effectiveness of employee mentoring. The management can successful ensure that employees have access to the best mentoring approach. This will help leaders to diagnose, where performance improvement can best be targeted during mentoring. It will also enable employees to understand workplace mentoring in enhancing their performance. It will as well be useful to academicians and researchers who might be interested in pursuing research in the same area. The study will help them understand the aspects of mentoring within an organization.

1.6   Scope of the Study

The scope of the study will be limited to Start-Up Innovation Hub, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

1.7   Limitations of the Study

This study had some limitations which include the problem of diverse coverage of locations of the organizations as they are spread around the country. There was also the problem of time and uncompromising attitudes of some respondents encountered during the study as some respondents refused to fill the questionnaire while some respondents were not available to answer the questions despite several visits.

1.8   Definition of Terms

The following terms were used during the cause of the study.

Mentor: A mentor is an individual who is considered knowledgeable and experienced about a subject area or job-related task that guides another individual who is less knowledgeable and experienced (Murray, 2006).

Mentoring: Mentoring can be defined as the ability to help the individuals acquire the skills necessary to do their job and possibly further their career through induction, personal development and personal change (Cameron, 2007).