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Why Mentoring Matters

Why Mentoring Programs Matter

Take a moment to think back to a time when you were mentored by someone. Was it in a school setting or work environment? Were sports involved? Was the mentoring relationship beneficial for you? What things would you change about it? Mentors can come in all different forms: mentors can be professors, coaches, colleagues, parents, etc. Mentors are individuals who take the time and effort to teach trainees skills in order to help them progress to the next level of their chosen field. Mentors can be informal or formal. Informal mentors are those who may choose to help teach someone in a less official capacity, the outcomes are unknown, and organizations can benefit indirectly. Formal mentors may be paired with a trainee by an organization, the outcomes are measured, and the organization benefits directly. Mentoring may also be more important than ever for organizations themselves, since linking up a mature mentor with a promising protégé is an excellent way to keep valued up-and-comers from jumping ship and taking jobs elsewhere (Workplace Loyalties Change, but the Value of Mentoring Doesn’t – Knowledge@Wharton, 2007).

Who Uses Mentoring Programs?

Mentoring programs are being implemented in many environments and, more recently, an increase of mentoring programs have been integrated into the corporate world. It is a common occurrence for employees of a company to wear many hats and have divided responsibilities. By implementing a mentorship program, employees are able to focus on what they highly value and then train and teach others unique skills in the given field. Fortune 500 companies view mentoring as an important employee development tool, with 71% having mentoring programs. In October 2006, Sun Microsystems, a technology company based in Santa Clara, CA, released the results of a study that explored the value of mentoring. The study found that 25% of employees in a test group who took part in the company’s mentoring program had a salary grade change, compared with 5% of employees in a control group who did not participate in the program (Workplace Loyalties Change, but the Value of Mentoring Doesn’t – Knowledge@Wharton, 2007).

Who Benefits from Mentoring?

Mentees are the primary beneficiaries of learning from an experienced mentor. However, there are others who benefit from mentoring as well. For example, many mentors find personal fulfillment from sharing their experiences and helping others in their mentoring relationships. A mentoring initiative can not only lead to higher retention but can also attract new talent by demonstrating a company’s commitment to professional development through mentoring. Mentoring also offers benefits to organizations themselves. For example, firms enjoy increased employee engagement and productivity. A positive mentoring relationship can go a long way to helping a firm retain its best employees. 

10 Tips for Starting a Successful Mentoring Program

Sherry Tiao, a talent and career developer at Chronus, details 10 key tips for starting a successful mentoring program:

  1. Define your objectives and secure leadership support. 
  2. Find a strong, passionate program manager. 
  3. Build flexibility into the program. 
  4. Put your marketing hat on.
  5. Think win-win. 
  6. Prepare participants for success. 
  7. Embrace the role of matchmaker. 
  8. Track, measure, listen, and tune. 
  9. Bring closure to individual mentoring connections. 
  10. Broadcast successes. 

By: Jordan Collins, M.S.

References

Tiao, S., & Tiao, S. 10 Tips to Start a Business School Mentoring Program | Chronus. Retrieved from https://chronus.com/blog/10-tips-starting-business-school-mentoring-program.

Workplace Loyalties Change, but the Value of Mentoring Doesn’t – Knowledge@Wharton. (2007). Retrieved from http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/workplace-loyalties-change-but-the-value-of-mentoring-doesnt/.