Four Key Benefits of Workplace Mentoring Initiatives

Co-written with A. Crosser

Q: What increases employees’ education and learning; saves company high turnover costs; develops leadership and management skills; and saves people time and money to focus on the big priorities?

A: Workplace Mentoring

When examining companies and how they became remarkably successful, one trait which stands above many others: successful companies have excellent leaders, and with excellent leaders come excellent employees. Leadership and guidance is very important to success in nearly every field, and workplace mentoring is one way to provide personalized leadership for both new and tenured employees. Skills-based Mentoring is part of on boarding to teach new executives the company ropes and to help them excel and grow as they continue their position.

Mentoring programs are becoming increasingly popular in workplaces, as they help in reducing turnover, promoting growth, and overall help employees adjust to new positions as well as become prepared to move up in the company. We shared earlier that over 79% of Millennials see mentoring as crucial to their career success. According to Chronus Corporation, over 71 percent of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs, showing that mentoring programs are becoming a standard in many workplaces. This begs the question, why are so many successful businesses incorporating mentoring programs, and what benefits do mentoring programs offer?

  1. Education and Learning

There is no debate that educated, well-trained employees produce better results in the workplace than employees who lack knowledge and training. Nearly 80 percent of all learning is considered to be informal, meaning that it is not done by reading or taking classes, but rather by learning on the job and from others. By introducing mentoring programs, businesses can ensure that their employees are able to complete their work with knowledge of the field and their position. Mentors will elevate and escalate “knowledge transfer,” which is useful in shortening a learning curve in the workplace, meaning that companies can have highly-productive employees in a much shorter period of time then they would have had mentors not been implemented.

  1. Reducing Turnover Rates

One of the main benefits of mentoring programs is that mentors can play a major role in reducing the turnover of employees, meaning that the company will not have to invest in training new employees as often as they would with a higher turnover. Diversity & Inclusion leader Dresdene Flynn-White shared with us that the loss of one good employee costs on average a years salary. By providing personalized advice to a mentee, a mentor can help to ensure that employees will work through any frustrations or concerns they may have, help them build the skills they need for success, encouraging them to stay with the company and grow there for a longer period of time. By keeping employee turnover rates low, companies will continually have experienced personnel, rather than the burden of constantly training new employees to replace those who left.

 

  1. Development of Leadership and Management Skills

Having employees who are ready to step into management positions in the business with minimal training is highly valuable, as it reduces the need for external hiring, ultimately saving the company time and money. By implementing a mentoring initiative, mentors can assist in teaching leadership skills to employees showing potential for future leadership positions. In addition, mentors reduce turnover rates, meaning that providing mentors for high potential employees will improve the chances of them staying with the company long enough to progress into a leadership position, reducing the need for outside hires.

  1. Time Savings and Focus

Implementing mentorship strategies is an excellent way to save time in the workplace. By implementing mentors, employees with questions or concerns can often work with the mentor on a resolution or answer, reducing the time needed to get tasks finished, which overall improves productivity. Mentors also reduce the formal training necessary for new employees; by providing new employees with a ‘project-based’ mentor, they can learn on the job, rather than in a training room. Managers and bosses will can therefore spend more time working on tasks more imperative to the success of the company, making mentoring a win-win for the employees and the company leaders alike.

So bottom line, mentoring can be a WIN/WIN/WIN (for the company, the mentor, and the mentee) but it has to be imbedded formally into the culture of the company. A need to have, not a nice to have. Additionally, recognizing & valuing employees who take time to mentor and those who lead the initiatives needs to be on every HR and team leader’s priority list.

References:

http://chronus.com/resources/daimler-trucks-reinvents-corporate-mentoring-program

http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/04/19/peer-mentoring

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1736

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/benefit-company-gain-mentoring-programs-20665.html#

https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/the-importance-of-having-a-mentor-in-business

Julie Kantor is the CEO of Twomentor, LLC a management consulting firm that provides mentor training, strategy and global speaking to elevate women and millennials in STEM.

Mentoring Culture is Good for Business

“I am leaving my company,” Bridgette, a very senior executive told us.

“We just don’t have a mentoring culture.”

In this world of GO, GO, GO productivity and massive technology dependence (or can I boldly go ahead and say, addiction), it becomes harder for people to take out time for each other. The ROI, the business case for mentoring is also not always clear to industry (ie. is it good? vs. is it good for business?)

“I just started here, and no one can explain to me how to use our Microsoft Lync platform.”

“I don’t know what I am being measured on and the other interns don’t either. I came here for experience.”

“I haven’t spoke to my hiring manager yet and its been 10 days.”

“Our girls need role models of women in IT.”

Concerns such as lack of time, lack of formal programming at the company, belief that one doesn’t have the skills to be a professional mentor are often cited for not engaging or saying “no” to this important role.

But the process of mentoring can be a great asset to the company. Both good for the people involved and good for the company.

In one Gartner/Wharton study, employees who mentored were promoted six times more often than their peers who did not mentor; mentees were promoted five times more; 25 percent of employees who mentor received a salary grade change in comparison to 5 percent of employees who didn’t. Lastly, employees who participated in a mentoring program had a retention rate 20 percent higher than those who did not mentor, and over 68 percent of mentors and mentees stayed at the company after five years.

Experiential learning is where it’s at. It’s one thing to hear about the world of work, it’s another thing to be swimming without a life vest in what feels like shark infested waters. A mentor can help their mentee enjoy the swim, dodge the jellyfish, jump up on a Jet Ski, and experience how not to just survive but thrive in a new career. Do you remember your first swim? Did someone champion you and help you navigate?

With the “I don’t have time to mentor,” concern. I can relate. This is why I am a big fan of internships and job-shadowing. I mentor about a dozen young men and women and feel our interns in the office get my best and more time. Short coffee breaks here and there work. Sure, we can sit in the conference room for 30 minutes after the staff meeting and go over your action plan for the week, vision and troubleshoot an area you are challenged.

Brandon Busteed at Gallup said “Mentor Duty is the new Jury Duty,” and also taught us that there is a big big (actually huge) divide between how prepared college Presidents believe their students are for work and how corporate leaders feel.

I do believe it’s our civic duty to teach, mentor and hopefully sponsor when interns come to learn. Online mentoring coupled with face-to-face works too. Thanks to our visionary CEO we hire many of these interns as part of an on-boarding strategy and we are able to test drive talent to see if a good fit for our company and culture.

And by the way, they reverse mentor me on collaboration, technology, use of social networks and so much more.

YOLO. JUST DO IT. Start now with just 30 minutes a week. I don’t know how else to put it, we all want to work for a company that has a mentoring/coaching culture. Those companies will retain their workforces significantly more.

In a non-mentoring environment people tend to swim in fear, visualize the fins around, likely want to leave, or worse join the silent majority who are not engaged in their work and drift through their days. That is not good for business.

Julie Kantor is the CEO of Twomentor, LLC. Follow her @JulieKantorSTEM She writes ongoing blogs on STEM, Entrepreneurship, Education and Technology for Huffington Post HERE

A Resource to help you get started . Here is an action guide geared toward mentoring in areas of Science, Technology Engineering and Math.

Splash_Multicultural