“A mentor is someone who helps you see the hope inside yourself.”Oprah Winfrey
Having a mentorship program embedded in company culture shows that you understand the most important asset of any business is its people. After all, a company can’t be successful without great employees.
Therefore, two of the most important challenges for a company are to do with Human Resources: attracting and holding on to top talent.
A formal, structured mentorship program does both.
When done right, its reach extends far beyond recruiting and retention.
While mentoring is just one piece of the employee engagement puzzle, its effects are widespread. It not only strengthens company culture, but it also improves productivity, profitability, employee health, and much more.
1. Attracting and Keeping Talent
Mentorship and Candidate Attraction
Top talent is hard to come by. And they make decisions based on more than just salary.
One of the main reasons people join a company is advancement opportunities. 87% of millennials say career development is of prime importance in a job.
A mentoring program that draws a clear roadmap for growth tells top talent that you’re invested in their future just as much as they are.
Mentorship and Employee Retention
Gone are the days of the lifelong employee.
It used to be common for a person to stay with a company from orientation to retirement. But working at multiple companies–or even having multiple careers–has become the norm.
If high-performing employees feel underappreciated or dissatisfied, they’ll start looking elsewhere. Fortunately, mentorship programs positively impact both sides of the relationship.
A popular 2006 Gartner study for Sun Microsystems found higher retention rates for people in the mentorship program: 72% for mentees and 69% for mentors, compared to 49% for those not in the program.
2. Mentoring Improves Career Development
As noted above, career development goes hand-in-hand with employee attraction and retention.
The same Sun study found that 28% of mentors received a step up in salary grade, compared to 5% for non-mentors. It also found that mentors and mentees were promoted 6 and 5 times more than people not in the program.
3. Mentorship Promotes Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
“It takes a village to raise a child.”African Proverb
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are sometimes at risk of being reduced to buzzwords or simply a box to check. But when implemented properly, DEI practices benefit the company’s bottom line. Studies show diverse teams are more innovative and better decision-makers.
But how does mentoring promote DEI?
Inclusion and career advancement can present a challenge to underrepresented employees. But one study found that, compared to initiatives like diversity training, mentorship increased minority representation among management up to 24 percent.
Mentorship and sponsorship are critical to employee retention and satisfaction — especially for people of color and women, both of whom are more likely than others to report mentoring as very important to their career development.What Great Mentorship Looks Like in a Hybrid Workplace
4. Mentorship Programs Increase Employee Engagement
A recent Gallup report found that, after rising steadily for a decade, employee engagement dropped 2% globally from 2019 to 2020. Furthermore, a whopping 80% of employees are either not engaged or, worse, actively disengaged at work.
And that costs the global economy over $8 trillion in lost productivity every year. That’s 10% of global GDP!
Engagement isn’t just a metric for happiness or job satisfaction. An engaged employee goes that extra mile, surpassing expectations, and giving their company a competitive edge.
5. Mentoring Enhances Employee Health
Worry can kill. Humans are hardwired for social connection. It’s as basic a need as food, water, and shelter. Mentoring reduces feelings of isolation and helps employees thrive. This leads to fewer health problems and less worry, stress, and even depression.
A thriving employee experiences greater hope, happiness, and energy, with an overall increased level of interest.
People who do not feel connected to others are more likely to catch a cold, experience depression, develop heart disease, have lower cognitive function and live a shorter life. In fact, the long-term harm caused by loneliness is similar to smoking or obesity.Scientific American
6. Mentorship Programs Prevent Knowledge Loss
The scope of human history is based on sharing and handing down knowledge. When a company loses a long-term employee, it risks losing the institutional knowledge that the employee holds.
What follows is a period of reduced efficiency.
Unless the company is prepared.
By connecting senior and junior employees, an effective mentorship program fosters knowledge-sharing and prepares for succession planning. So, when an employee retires or moves on, the company carries on without missing a beat.
7. Implementing a Mentorship Program
At the end of the day, it comes down to purpose. In order for such an undertaking to succeed, your team needs to understand the rationale behind it. Mentoring programs are built on trust. They are multifaceted initiatives to help employees grow and develop professionally, with clear goals and expectations, and reinforced by ongoing communication and updates.
And they only work if done well.
Over 70% of Fortune 500 companies have a mentoring program. But the reality is that most don’t have the right tools and processes in place. And a formulaic or poorly implemented program can do more harm than good.
Mentors need to be armed with the proper skills and knowledge to help others, while mentees require (and deserve) guidance on how to optimize their time.
Given their unique requirements, effective mentorship programs are not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s imperative to identify and understand your goals before launching a program of your own.
Implementing a mentorship program takes planning, time, and a level of commitment that can be difficult to manage without the right tools. Fortunately, there’s an entire sub-category of software solutions that do just this.
If you’re interested to see how we can build your mentorship program from the ground up, schedule a demo and learn how we can make your life easier while giving your business a boost.