Today, more than ever, offering opportunities for mentoring, coaching, and talent development is critical to engaging and retaining productive and high-performing employees.
As a well-known business publication put it, “Mentorship comes in many flavors … (especially) in light of a changing, more purpose-driven, more tech-enabled work environment.”
Both mentoring and coaching offer incredibly valuable developmental support. However, mentoring offers high-level guidance for long-term talent development, while coaching helps provide more immediate improvement in targeted areas.
In other words, mentoring is what will develop your people in the long term — and it will support them on their career path and with long-term goals, too.
The benefits of a workplace mentoring program
Mentoring programs are good for employees — but they are REALLY good for your larger company culture.
According to Forbes, “strong and vibrant mentoring programs do two important things — they both provide support for new hires, and also help create an open, inviting culture that drives all workers to contribute their ideas for improving the organization.”
But the benefits go well beyond that.
As the Harvard Business Review pointed out:
“Creating a mentoring culture … leads to better retention, more loyalty, and commitment among employees, stronger succession planning, more organic mentoring, and strengthening of resilient developmental networks or mentoring constellations in the workplace. Rather than a single assigned mentor, junior employees are more likely to construct a web of supportive relationships.”
The most impressive thing about an effective mentoring program is the positive and far-reaching ripple effect. Strong mentoring programs can improve job satisfaction and employee retention. They can also motivate and encourage workers to seek growth experiences to build their careers while working to drive organizational success.
Transform the people experience
Mentoring programs can help transform the talent experience within organizations.
The Harvard Business Review explained the benefits of a great mentorship program — and how it helps in transforming the people experience — like this:
“Of all the ways you can spend your time, mentoring has one of the highest returns on investment. It enables you to take everything you have learned and ‘pay it forward,’ shaping the next generation of leaders.
As Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen puts it, “The only metrics that will truly matter to my life are the individuals whom I have been able to help, one by one, to become better people.” Hall of Fame college basketball coach John Wooden once said: “Mentoring becomes your true legacy. It is the greatest inheritance you can give to others. It is why you get up every day.”
By mentoring the whole person, and not limiting your conversations to career matters, you will have an even greater impact that will be felt by your mentees — and everyone they influence — for years to come.”
Understanding and improving the people experience is critical for companies operating in a highly competitive global economy. Providing an engaging talent experience, one with a strong mentoring program, will help organizations succeed in attracting and retaining skilled employees and building better employee engagement and better company culture. Not to mention, a strong employee experience can also help to drive a strong customer experience.
Mentoring in the new world of work
Mentorship programs today involve a much larger cross-section of the workforce than ever before. Mentoring is no longer just a program for the chosen few; it is now a larger and more important management tool to promote a culture of talent development and to provide growth experiences that transform and build people throughout an organization.
Forbes recently made this very point, when they reflected on how mentoring programs have changed — and improved — in our new world of work:
“A generation ago, mentoring was often built into the employer-employee relationship. A boss could be expected to see an employee as their protégé, not only supervising them but helping to steer their career. As that relationship has changed, companies are searching for other ways to create a meaningful connection with their employees. A strong mentoring program is a smart initiative for aligning your employees’ individual purpose with that of your organization. With those two interests in sync, your workplace culture will flourish.”
Although job satisfaction and better employee retention are the most obvious benefits of a mentoring program, mentoring can support the personal and professional development of the mentees too — the very employees who are involved in it.
That’s a critical part of it, of course, but it’s that last point Forbes makes that bears repeating — “A strong mentoring program is a smart initiative for aligning your employees’ individual purpose with that of your organization.”
Building a company culture has never been more challenging than it is today. With so many employees working remotely, often without regular personal contact with their managers and peers, it can be hard to build a positive and thriving culture.
That’s why it is important now to remember the value of a strong mentorship program. Mentoring can truly help connect people with others across the organization, as well as connect the personal goals of employees with those larger, critical company goals.
“With those two interests in sync, your workplace culture will flourish,” Forbes noted, and they are totally right. In the end, THAT is what a great mentoring and talent development program is all about.
FuelX Awards: Celebrating Future Champions
Is your organization championing the future of work? Have you designed initiatives that have positively impacted talent mobility, retention, engagement, or bottom-line metrics? If this sounds like you, we encourage you to enter our free annual FuelX awards!