Mentoring helps foster professional and personal growth in “mentees,” so it’s pretty clear how those being mentored benefit. But the mentors themselves also benefit, as do entire organizations that have effective mentoring programs.
Chronus Mentoring and Talent Development Solutions’ white paper, “Why Corporate Mentoring? 5 Benefits of a Workplace Mentoring Program“ observes that mentoring helps attract, motivate, develop, and retain profitable talent while increasing productivity. And, mentoring plays a critical function by passing down institutional knowledge from experienced leaders, preventing that wisdom from walking out the door when those leaders leave.
In fast-moving companies, people often take on new, challenging roles with little formal training. Mentoring can help these employees learn and become more productive more quickly, so the organizations can stay nimble.
As a busy leader, if you’re concerned about spending time mentoring employees, E. Wayne Hart, a senior faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership and author of Seven Keys to Successful Mentoring, suggests you consider how being a mentor will help you with your own career goals.
In a Forbes article, “Seven Ways To Be An Effective Mentor,“ he writes:
“For starters, the most effective mentors also improve their own leadership skills. As you assist your mentee, you have the chance to reflect on and articulate your own expertise and experience–something you probably don’t take time to do otherwise. Along the way, you may see patterns you didn’t spot before.
Mentoring also helps you view the organization with a fresh eye toward its functions, politics and culture. You may, for example, gain a new understanding of how people from different generations or backgrounds approach their work and careers. Also, many mentors say they get personal satisfaction and fulfillment from their mentoring relationships. If you’re feeling burned out or cynical, mentoring can give you and your career a boost.”
More Benefits of Mentoring
The Management Mentors organization’s webpage, “Definition of Mentoring, Benefits of Mentoring, & Other FAQs,” lists other benefits to mentors:
- Gaining insights from the mentee’s background and history that can be used in the mentor’s professional and personal development
- Gaining allies in promoting the organization’s wellbeing
There are important organizational benefits as well:
- Enhances strategic business initiatives
- Encourages retention
- Reduces turnover costs
- Improves productivity
- Breaks down the “silo” mentality that hinders cooperation among company departments or divisions.
- Links employees with valuable knowledge and information to other employees in need of such information
- Uses your own employees, instead of outside consultants, as internal experts for professional development
- Supports the creation of a multicultural workforce by creating relationships among diverse employees and allowing equal access to mentoring
“The young employees of today are the future business leaders of tomorrow. As leaders, we have an obligation to help our future by training and mentoring tomorrow’s leaders today. How do we develop and keep the best young talent in an organization? The answer is using a mentoring program. By using an effective mentoring program, the leaders of today can help develop today’s talent into tomorrow’s leaders. Companies that leverage the leadership and experience of senior employees can develop and maintain the talent they have in-house.”
Workplace Mentoring is On the Rise
Interestingly, the Chronus white paper says, workplace mentoring is on the rise—71% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs to their employees. These include Deloitte, Hartford Insurance, and Daimler Trucks.
And not only does mentoring help employees develop to their highest potential, but with “reverse mentoring,” freshly educated employees may be able to help more seasoned leaders learn about new technologies and techniques.
The paper summarizes a Sun Microsystems study that explored the value of mentoring. Data from more than 1,000 Sun employees over a five-year period showed:
“Mentoring has a positive impact on mentors and mentees, producing employees that are more highly valued by the business.”
The study also found:
- 25% of employees in a test group who took part in the company’s mentoring
- program had a salary grade change
- Only 5% of employees in a control group who didn’t participate in the program received salary grade changes
- Mentors were promoted six times more often than those not in the program
- Mentees were promoted five times more often than those not in the program.
- Retention rates were much higher for mentees (72%) and mentors (69%) than for employees who didn’t participate in the mentoring program (49%)
Mentoring is good business practice. If your organization doesn’t currently support mentoring, be the change needed. Next week we’ll take a look at the “how” behind great mentoring best practices.
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