Trends in workplace mentoring

Photo via US Army Corps of Engineers, Flickr

As 2015’s National Mentoring Month winds down, we examine trends in workplace mentoring, starting with an observation from Doug Lawrence, president, TalentC, in a post at 12Manage, a forum for executives.

Workplace mentoring is increasing in popularity in the business world, and organizations are having cultural assessments to ensure they are mentor-ready, he notes.

Talent Shortage

Professional services network PwC has found that CEOs are facing a shortage of skilled workers ready to hit the ground running. Its 15th Annual Global CEO Survey  finds a “disparity between confidence in growth and access to talent,” adding that only “30% of CEOs believe they have the talent they need.”

That alone creates a need for workplace mentoring and coaching programs. Businesses that need to do on-the-job training benefit by pairing new and experienced workers.

Generational Shift

A generational shift in the workplace is another trend fueling increased interest in mentoring, according to the TEC CEO network in “Recruiting in 2015: Top trends to look out for”:

“Baby boomers are starting to retire, while Generation Z are beginning to enter the workplace, creating a dynamic shift in businesses across the world.

As everyone moves up a step, the leadership ramifications could be significant for organizations, with Millennials taking up more senior positions and bringing a new style of management.”

The post cites Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand, who says labor demand will climb in 2015 as more companies seek full-time staff.

“While employers are ready to start hiring in 2015, they may find it difficult to secure the qualified candidates they need for high-profile positions. Each industry and sector already has a list of niche skills that are in short supply, and this will intensify over the year ahead.”

This makes it critical for companies to have mentoring programs, so workers of different generations can help each other navigate cultural changes in their workplaces.

Lawrence’s own homepage says:

“The new generation wants mentoring. They know they need to be challenged to succeed.  They understand that work is more than a job. It’s about being able to help others, and becoming the best that they can be.

The older generation needs mentoring to gain the soft skills needed to train and teach these eager young professionals on their path to becoming successful business people in their field. They want to hand the job off to someone they know can handle it and carry on their legacy.”

The Global Marketplace

Increasing globalization also spurs the need for mentoring, prompting businesses to seek out mentoring statistics.

In “New Mentoring Statistics & Info On Talent Retention,” Management Mentors’ website says:

“Many of our clients seek information and statistics on mentoring, talent retention, and managing employees in a growing global marketplace. They seek this info for a variety of reasons. To:

  • Get buy-in for their mentoring programs from management, mentors, and mentees
  • Have solid ‘evidence’ that shows the benefits of mentoring
  • Provide some context for how their particular organization is doing with its employees

Mentorship Training

Companies are increasingly integrating mentoring or coaching skills into leadership development programs, writes William Arruda in “The Hottest Personal Branding Trends That Will Impact Your Success In 2015.”

“Companies are training their talent to adopt coaching skills to use in leading their teams. The executive coaching trend dates back to the 1970s, but the true manifestation of this movement will be explosive in 2015 and beyond. Embrace coaching now—in yourself and in your team members—to advance your brand.”

Reverse Mentoring

In “Reverse Mentoring Cracks Workplace,” Wall Street Journal columnist Leslie Kwoh writes that more companies are depending on younger workers to help senior leaders stay current.

“In an effort to school senior executives in technology, social media and the latest workplace trends, many businesses are pairing upper management with younger employees in a practice known as reverse mentoring. The trend is taking off at a range of companies, from tech to advertising.

The idea is that managers can learn a thing or two about life outside the corner office. But companies say another outcome is reduced turnover among younger employees, who not only gain a sense of purpose but also a rare glimpse into the world of management and access to top-level brass.”

workplace mentoring works!

Logo care of National Mentoring Month

Workplace Lifecycle

An employee’s career stage determines the type of mentoring he or she requires, writes Anthony K. Tjan, CEO and managing partner of Cue Ball, in Harvard Business Review’sKeeping Great People with Three Kinds of Mentors.”

“Like education, mentorship requires different things at different stages, including different types of skills and advice, and different types of teachers and learning styles.”

The three types of mentoring he identifies are:

  1. Buddy/Peer Mentoring for workers new to an organization. Colleagues help new employees with specific skills and basic organizational practices of “this is how it is done here.”
  2. Career Mentoring for more seasoned employees who need someone senior to them to help reinforce how the mentee’s job contributions fit into the bigger picture and purpose of the firm.
  3. Life Mentoring for employees at mid and senior career stages. These mentors can be people inside the mentee’s company—or outside—that mentees can confide in without feeling that there is any bias.


While it’s not exactly a trend, in “10 New Year Resolutions for Your Mentoring Program,” Rayanna Lakey, customer success program manager at Chronus Corporation, suggests using National Mentoring Month as an opportunity to revitalize your mentoring program. What better month to throw a party?

“While this may not work if you have a multi-location program, a party that brings together the mentors and mentees can be a fabulous networking tool for your program. Your participants will get the chance to not only spend time with their mentor in a relaxed situation, but also talk to other mentors and mentees. As a bonus, this will give the program administrators a chance to chat face to face with participants and gather a variety of perspectives.”

Start planning your mentorship party today! It’ll give you a chance to discuss these trends.

For a comprehensive guide to building a great workplace culture, download our FREE eBook: Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude.

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