Job satisfaction is at an all-time low. According to MetLife’s report “The Rise of the Whole Employee: 20 Years of Change in Employer-Employee Dynamics,” younger employees are burnt out. Overall, work morale is getting worse, quiet quitting remains a problem, and employees are demanding more.
To deal with the current and upcoming challenges, companies need to react and provide adequate solutions that boost job satisfaction. Mentoring program as a career growth opportunity is one way to do it.
But why is mentorship important, and how does it help employers cope with this otherwise gloomy scenario?
Simply put, mentorship empowers, creates opportunities, and supports growth. Moving Ahead research paper “Turning The Gender Diversity Dial” reveals that 87% of mentors and mentees felt empowered and confident, and for 84%, it provided a two-way inspiration.
But these are just the obvious benefits.
Mentorship is also a great advocate for diversity in the workplace and a significant aid for companies to cope with workplace changes.
Unfortunately, right now, there’s a disconnect between the importance and the implementation of mentorship.
According to the Olivet Nazarene University report, “The Truth About Mentors,” 76% of respondents find mentors important or very important. Yet, only half, or 44%, had a professional mentor.
In the wake of National Mentoring Month, let’s reflect on what a well-executed mentoring program means for mentors and mentees. Additionally, this Shortlister article will go over why companies should create one and how they can do it.
Why is Mentorship Important?
Mentorship has an abundance of benefits. The most apparent one is the advancement of skills and competencies that support growth in all career stages. In a way, it challenges individuals to become more adaptable and resistant to change.
Given everything that’s happened these past few years, this is unquestionably a great asset in the workplace.
From an employee’s point of view, it’s also a great incentive. For instance, a CNBC and SurveyMonkey Workplace Happiness survey reveals that 91% of workers with a mentor are satisfied with their job.
At the same time, a mentoring program is of great value for companies since it creates a highly-employable workforce.
In a way, it’s mutually beneficial on different levels.
If we look at the data, we’ll also notice how some of the best and most successful corporations greatly support mentoring.
A benchmark statistic throughout the past two decades states that 71% of all Fortune 500 companies have mentorship programs. Nowadays, the numbers go even higher, according to MentorcliQ’s “U.S. Fortune 500 Mentoring Taking Off: 2022 Mentoring Impact Report.”
Namely, the numbers go as high as 84% for Fortune 500 companies or 90% for Fortune 250 companies, and 96% for the top 100. In addition, all the leading 50 corporations in the United States have mentoring programs.
The article also reveals that employers who supported mentorship had 18% better performance than the average YoY profit change. In contrast, those that didn’t support underperformed against the average by 43%.
Statistics aside, when it comes to career growth, the importance of mentorship also lies in its symbiotic properties that benefit all involved parties. In other words, it provides value to mentors and their mentees and helps them pursue their long-term professional goals.
From skill upgrades to networking, the following key advantages answer why mentorship is important.
Source of Knowledge
For the mentor:
Usually, in a mentor-mentee relationship, the latter takes on the “learner” role. However, the knowledge sharing is mutual. Just because someone is higher on the career ladder doesn’t mean they can’t learn from a beginner. People should strive to learn and upgrade for life. For mentors, especially those with younger mentees, this means keeping up with trends and technologies and improving digital skills.
For the mentee:
The source of knowledge factor is the foundation of a good mentoring program. As such, it includes anything from insights about the industry and workplace policies to job expectations and training. Through guidance and advice, mentees get valuable knowledge that positively affects their career growth in the long run.
For the mentor:
Just because someone has more experience or knowledge doesn’t mean they’re doing a good job sharing it. One of the most significant benefits of actionable feedback is that it helps a mentor increase organizational leadership skills. Ultimately, they can provide a much more efficient mentorship by receiving constructive criticism from their trainees.
For the mentee:
The same rules apply to both sides. Receiving productive feedback on their work helps mentees to achieve professional goals. Learning from their mistakes can prevent them from making them in the future. It’s also an excellent way to recognize strengths and appoint the mentee in the right career direction.
Personal & Professional Growth
For the mentor:
Regarding personal and professional growth, mentors develop management and communication skills for further career pursuits. Such a program is good training if they aspire to climb the corporate ladder and pursue a leadership role.
Mentorship is also important because it increases the likelihood of promotion. In fact, statistics published in a Forbes article, “How Becoming A Mentor Can Boost Your Career,” indicate that mentors are six times more likely to be promoted.
For the mentee:
Mentees have five times higher chances of getting a promotion than those who didn’t attend a mentoring program. Mentors can help their mentees develop the soft skills that are essential for success in the workplace, such as communication, leadership, and emotional intelligence.
It certainly gives them a competitive edge over their peers. After all, individuals who receive professional guidance have immediate access to resources and insights that other students or employees don’t.
Networking & Branding
For the mentor:
Although mentors are the ones that should provide networking opportunities to their mentees, they can still benefit from it. Usually, it’s by renewing their networking techniques and strategies or refreshing their network.
For the mentee:
Any new introduction and professional connection before or during the early stages of a career can be incredibly beneficial. According to a LinkedIn global survey, almost 80% of respondents found professional networking essential for career success.
That’s why seniors should introduce their protégés to co-workers and relevant people, recommend events, and provide industry insights. In time, mentees will devise a network of professionals that could help them reach their career goals.
For the mentor:
It’s more than leadership skills that mentors obtain through a mentoring program. They can also become more proficient in things like conflict management and problem-solving. Mentors also develop their communication and people skills, which helps them become better as executive leaders down the line.
For the mentee:
Usually, the level of professional growth relies on how much the individual invests in learning in the ever-changing workplace. Presumably, mentees already possess some skill level.
However, taking their understanding of the job further and learning something new is always a good idea. Overall, students or new hires can gain an advantage over their peers by taking on a mentorship.
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What Makes A Great Mentor?
The question arises: what attributes define a great mentor, and who can step into this role?
A remarkable mentor possesses several qualities that contribute to their effectiveness:
- Knowledgeable and experienced: A great mentor has a deep understanding of their field and can provide valuable insights and guidance. They can also help their mentees learn from their own experiences.
- Good listener: A great mentor creates a safe space where their mentees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.
- Patient and empathetic: A great mentor is patient and understanding, and willing to take the time to help their mentees learn and grow. They also have empathy for their mentees’ challenges and experiences.
- Effective communicator: Mentors can clearly convey their ideas and lessons. They are also able to listen to and understand their mentees’ feedback.
- Positive role model: A great mentor is a role model who inspires their mentees to achieve their goals. They show their mentees what is possible and motivate them to reach their full potential.
Not all mentors will have all of these qualities, but the more qualities they have, the more effective they will be.
When considering who can be a mentor, the answer is not confined to a specific age or position. While senior professionals often take on mentorship roles due to their wealth of experience, younger individuals can also excel as mentors, offering fresh perspectives and relevant insights.
In fact, cross-generational mentoring can be beneficial for both the mentor and the mentee.
Benefits of cross-generational mentoring for the mentor:
- Gain a new perspective on the workplace and the challenges that younger employees face.
- Learn about new technologies and trends.
- Stay up-to-date on the latest research and best practices.
- Develop their own leadership skills.
- Give back to the community and help others succeed.
Benefits of cross-generational mentoring for the mentee:
- Gain access to the mentor’s experience and knowledge.
- Learn about the company culture and politics.
- Get advice on career development and opportunities.
- Build relationships with other professionals.
- Develop their own skills and knowledge.
Types of Mentors
Mentorship programs come in many different forms, and each type of mentor has their own unique approach and mentoring methods. However, regardless of the type of mentorship that is right for you, it is important to understand why mentorship is important and how it can help you achieve your goals.
Here are some of the different types of mentoring:
- Traditional Mentor: This is the classic one-on-one mentorship where an experienced individual guides a less experienced mentee in their personal and professional development.
- Reverse Mentor: In this scenario, a younger or less experienced individual mentors someone more senior, often about emerging technologies, trends, or new perspectives.
- Group Mentor: Instead of a one-on-one setup, a group mentorship involves a mentor guiding a small group of mentees collectively, fostering a collaborative learning environment.
- Peer Mentor: Peers mentor each other, sharing similar experiences and challenges, and providing support, advice, and growth opportunities within their peer group.
- Career Mentor: Focused on professional growth, a career mentor can help their mentee understand the different career paths available within their organization.
- Life Coach: While not always formal mentors, life coaches offer guidance on personal development, helping individuals achieve life goals and work-life balance.
The best type of mentoring for each person will depend on their individual needs and preferences. If you are not sure what type of mentorship is right for you, talk to a trusted advisor or search for mentorship programs that offer different types of mentoring.
Why is Mentorship Important for Students?
By now, we’ve deduced that mentorship enables mentees with skills and sets them up for professional success. However, the main focus throughout the data was how it affects employees. Yet, the advantages of a mentoring program go beyond the workplace. For one, students can also greatly benefit from it.
So, how and why is mentorship important for students?
A poll from Gradient Learning explores this for younger students, grades 4-12. The results exhibit that up to 95% of teachers believe their students can benefit from a mentor, and 82% agree that mentoring improves their academic performance.
At the same time, statistics published by the nonprofit organization Mentor show that young adults who enroll in mentorships are:
- 55% less likely to skip school.
- 78% more likely to volunteer regularly.
- Interested in taking a mentorship role (90%).
- 130% more likely to hold a leadership position.
The last number alone is evidence enough that mentoring affects career development, even at such an early academic stage.
Transitioning from school to work can be a delicate process for young adults, riddled with uncertainty and anxiety. So, it’s helpful for them to have at least some prior knowledge or experience.
In that sense, a mentorship before their first work experience can help students become more confident and establish a network. As a result, they could get more job opportunities and navigate new job responsibilities more efficiently.
Now, let’s see how mentorship usefulness expands once a student becomes a part of the job market.
Why is Mentorship Important in the Workplace?
Female mentorship provides a safe and supportive space for women to share experiences, insights, and challenges unique to their gender. It not only helps mentees navigate the complexities of their careers but also empowers them to envision and strive for leadership roles that might have seemed out of reach.
Through female mentorship, women gain access to relatable role models who have successfully navigated male-dominated fields, offering guidance on overcoming stereotypes and unconscious biases in the workplace.
Moreover, it contributes to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace by amplifying women’s voices, perspectives, and contributions. Ultimately, female mentorship strengthens solidarity among women, fostering a culture of support, collaboration, and the collective advancement of women in all aspects of life.
Why is Mentorship Important in the Workplace?
For students, a mentoring program eases the otherwise stressful transition to the workforce. As for employees, it’s a great partnership instigator.
But why is mentorship important in the workplace?
Reducing The Skill Gap
The most apparent benefit of the mentor-mentee relationship is the skill and knowledge transfer it provides. For the employees, it’s an opportunity to become more competent in their roles and progress in their careers.
But a mentoring program can be even more influential for businesses. Reskilling and upskilling are essential nowadays, considering how 87% of employers are or expect to experience a skills gap.
Thus, mentoring programs for continuous learning opportunities can supply the demand for a more qualified workforce and tighten the skill gap.
Employee Loyalty, Acquisition & Retention
Companies that want to attract or retain talent and increase loyalty should consider implementing a mentoring program. Because, beyond skills and career growth, when employees feel valued by their employer, they stay loyal. That means companies get to keep their high performers.
Findings from the Willis Towers Watson 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey confirm this. Namely, only 51% of employees would remain at the same job for the next two years if they felt the employer failed to meet their benefit requirements.
For mentorship, in particular, one case study reveals that such a program increased retention by 49%. Also, the results showed that they could save up to $3,000 per employee per year on recruiting and training costs.
Another survey by The Harris Poll for the American Staffing Association reveals that up to 80% of job seekers would choose an employer that invests in its employees. That indicates that the chance to develop beyond everyday chores in the workplace can also be a remarkable driver for attracting top talent.
Increasing Employee Engagement
According to Gallup’s 2022 Guide to Employee Engagement, after a positive trend trajectory in the past decade, engagement dropped by 2% in 2021. Now it stands at 34%.
But even without this decline, the percentage of engaged employees in the workplace is relatively low.
So, how can mentorship help?
The answer is pretty simple. A mentoring program is an employee incentive. As such, this one-on-one relationship with a mentor keeps employees committed and paves the way for future promotions.
Overall, it provides growth opportunities as a workplace benefit that could re-engage employees.
Workplace Inclusion & Diversity
Finally, to answer why mentorship is important in the workplace, we must consider its effect on inclusion and diversity.
Of Fortune 500 companies with female CEO, 90% had mentoring programs. Interestingly, the organizations with mentorships and women in charge also showed better growth during 2020 COVID-19 economic downturn.
The “Turning the Gender Diversity Dial” research paper reveals how a gender-based mentoring program promotes diversity.
In recap, according to the article, mentorship encourages
- Confidence in female workers
- Inclusive company culture
- Empathetic and accessible leaders
- Positive change beyond the program
Supporting a diverse organization, aiding minority groups, or encouraging women to take on leadership roles is essential. For employers, it also means a 35% higher chance of increased revenue, according to a McKinsey study.
The connection and the benefits are conclusive. Diversity and inclusion boost organizational growth, and mentorships are one way of achieving this.
How to Develop a Mentorship Program for Employees
According to the research paper “Turning the Gender Diversity Dial,” 61% of mentor-mentee relationships often happen naturally. However, it’s always a good idea for companies to encourage this practice further.
To develop a mentorship program, employers should start by evaluating the workers’ needs. Usually, the process goes through five stages:
- Determining Goals
The first step is to decide on the purpose of the mentoring program and what its goal should be. For example, it can be one to drive employee retention or a program that improves diversity in managerial roles.
- Choosing a Mentorship Model
There are a few different types of mentorship programs, including traditional one-on-one or group mentoring, reverse mentoring, employee resource groups, etc.
- Inviting Program Participants
Once the first two steps are complete, the next would be to inform employees of the mentor program. The organization can generate interest by building excitement, hosting events, and following up with potential participants.
- Matching Participants
Creating the mentor-mentee relationship is one of the most critical stages. Once paired, companies can use mentorship software to facilitate the program efficiently.
- Evaluating Results
Finally, once the program is complete, it’s vital to measure its success. Usually, such evaluations track metrics like signup and participation data, the number of mentoring hours and sessions, the number of actions, etc.
There are many reasons why mentorship is important. Ultimately, it comes down to its potential to support change.
In times of increased globalization and rapid technological advancement, mentoring tightens the gap caused by skill shifts and empowers employees, making it an irreplaceable asset in career growth.
- Does Mentoring Still Matter For Fortune 500 Companies?
- U.S. Fortune 500 Mentoring Taking Off: 2022 Mentoring Impact Report
- The Rise of the Whole Employee: 20 Years of Change in Employer-Employee Dynamics
- Turning The Gender Diversity Dial
- The Truth About Mentors
- A Third of Us Workers Seriously Considered Quitting Their Job in the Last 3 Months. Here’s Why
- How Becoming A Mentor Can Boost Your Career
- Eighty-Percent of Professionals Consider Networking Important to Career Success
- The Power of Mentoring
- Mentoring Impact
- Infographic: More Than Half of Employees Open to Leaving Employer
- Skyrocketing Retention Rates by Connecting Employees With Mentors
- Gallup’s 2022 Guide to Employee Engagement
- Why Diversity Matters
- How To Start A Mentoring Program