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Deel Team

If you look back at your student days, you’ll likely remember that one person who you looked up to. Someone who was a role model for you and influenced your mindset or decisions: you might have considered them your mentor.

Similarly, many workers have mentors to guide them, but only some organizations fully understand the importance of encouraging mentoring relationships in their teams.

So, let’s take a quick quiz illustrating the value of having an effective mentor. Which of the following statements best exemplifies the importance of mentoring?

  • Mentoring helps mentees adopt new skills and knowledge outside their usual work scope
  • Mentors encourage and motivate mentees on their professional development path
  • Mentors can help mentees choose the most suitable career path
  • Mentors can help mentees prepare better for a future job search
  • Mentors can transfer work-related ethical principles and standards of professional conduct to their mentees
  • Mentors can teach mentees soft skills necessary for career success, like decision-making or problem-solving
  • Mentors help mentees build a network and make meaningful connections
  • Mentoring helps mentees learn how to accept feedback and act on it
  • Mentoring can help minorities gain more confidence in their skills and knowledge
  • Mentoring programs help both mentors and mentees improve their communication skills
  • Mentoring programs enhance employee engagement and productivity within an organization
  • Mentoring builds a sense of loyalty and healthy company culture
  • The availability of mentoring programs helps companies decrease their employee turnover

If you’re having a hard time choosing just one of the examples, congratulations! All of these statements exemplify the importance of mentoring, especially in the workplace.

Mentoring at the workplace in numbers

Some of the most successful companies in the world might owe a part of their success to good mentoring programs.

Recent studies have shown that around 84% of Fortune 500 companies and 100% of Fortune 50 companies offer such programs to their employees. Among these companies are Apple, FedEx, Amazon, Costco, Home Depot, Verizon, Microsoft, and Target. They also rank higher compared to companies without mentoring programs.

Implementing mentorship programs as part of employee retention and well-being strategies also helped many companies push through the challenges brought by the pandemic. Businesses that provided mentoring opportunities to their workforce have seen greater profitability (18% more than the average YoY growth) and performance (53% better than average).

Employees working with a mentor also claim to be happy at work (90%) and are more likely to stay longer in a company that invests in their skills and development, encouraging responsible conduct at all levels.

Through successful mentoring programs, employees who chose to be mentors or sponsors also experience several benefits:

  • Expanded skillset (57%)
  • Better understanding of the customers (43%)
  • Overcoming the aversion toward specific tasks (41%)
  • Better understanding of potential clients and market (30%)
  • Greater chance of receiving a raise or promotion (20%)

5 tips for implementing an effective mentorship program in your company

A well-structured mentorship program can bring your organization the benefits mentioned above. Here are five tips to help you successfully implement mentoring into your company culture.

1. Provide a structured program and clear goals and guidelines

The best way to encourage mentoring in your organization is to provide a structured program with clear guidelines to help mentors and mentees organize their time and take full advantage of the program.

The program's primary purpose is to nurture interpersonal relationships at work and help employees learn new skills. You’ll also want to see how mentoring programs improve the overall performance of your business. This is why you should start by setting a few vital goals:

  • What specific skills do I want to develop in my employees?
  • What areas of improvement currently exist in my company?
  • How can I incentivize my employees to sign up for the program?
  • What’s the best way to structure the program to fit into my employees’ daily workflow easily?
  • Is everyone eligible for the program, or is there a conflict of interest that may prevent someone from participating?

These are just some of the things you should ask yourself when outlining the program, though as you move forward, more related questions are likely to arise.

2. Choose the proper methodology, training, and tools

There are several types of mentorship programs to choose from: group mentoring, one-on-one mentoring, reverse mentoring, and peer mentoring.

You can combine several of these based on the size of your team, employee seniority, and your business needs. Whatever you opt for should be aligned with the goals you’ve defined as the first step.

For example, group mentoring can work well if you have many people interested in becoming mentees but need more mentors.

You can always seek external support if you need more mentors within your organization. The right tools can bring you excellent results. Software like Together Mentorship, GrowthSpace, MentorcliQ, or BetterUp offers valuable features like calculating the right match, surveys, reporting, and more.

3. Encourage peer mentoring

Employees don’t only learn from their managers: workers at a similar level can coach each other on skills they lack. However, it’s not easy for everyone to ask for a peer review for a task or officially form a mentoring relationship.

That’s why your program should involve recommendations and processes regarding peer mentoring: think about how employees of similar seniority can grow by supporting and coaching each other.

Your whole team will benefit from a broader and more complex skillset, and you’ll help your employees grow stronger bonds.

4. Connect people across different teams

Workplace collaboration can reduce employee turnover and increase employee satisfaction by 17%. In virtual teams, this task is more challenging than in companies where face-to-face collaboration is possible, and teams often feel they need to be more connected.

If you provide opportunities for cross-team mentoring, you will improve interpersonal relationships in your organization and allow teams to achieve better results.

For example, an experienced sales representative can help a copywriter from your marketing team write more compelling ads because sales reps work with prospects and clients more closely.

5. Measure results

When setting your goals, you should also determine a few KPIs to measure and evaluate your program's performance.

Say your goal is to reduce the response rate of your customer support team. You introduce a mentoring program with one of your senior staff members and can measure how much the response time has decreased over the first month of mentoring.

Suppose one of your goals is to increase the sense of belonging by helping teams bond. In that case, you can run a survey and have employees rate their feeling of belonging to the organization or share if their overall happiness has increased—not all measures need to be quantitative metrics.