Why a mentorship program is key to the new workplace

Woman and man speaking

As business owners search for new ways to attract and retain talent, many are finding that wage increases and bonuses are not enough. Today’s job market increasingly favors workers over employers, so companies need to take a more multifaceted approach.1

Mentoring is a proven way to increase employee satisfaction and quality of life. This article will look at why a mentorship program offers even greater potential for the workplace of the future.

Increase employee happiness and alignment.

The pandemic has made our personal and professional lives more intertwined, and loneliness is on the rise. For individuals and companies to thrive, business leaders can take an active role in building bridges among team members. By increasing connectivity, a mentoring program offers the potential to improve company culture and unlock better quality of life for everyone.

Mentorships with effective information sharing help early career employees know what to expect. The advice they receive from veteran team members can prove the key to developing the skills to advance and stay with the company long term. For example, people might feel uncomfortable discussing an issue with their direct supervisor. But having a sounding board in another part of the company can help mentees navigate tricky situations and build resiliency.

To retain talent, it’s also important for employees to feel like their work has meaning. Mentorships offer a tool to help sync employee and organizational needs and increase intrinsic rewards.2

It’s not just mentees who benefit; mentors gain valuable insights, too. The experience can help senior-level team members sharpen their management and relationship-building skills, which are especially critical given the growing influence of individual employees’ needs and preferences.

Improve diversity and inclusion.

A mentorship program can help diversify and make more inclusive businesses that have their expertise and knowledge concentrated among top leaders. Fostering quality relationships will help spread knowledge throughout the organization, increasing stability, growth, and the development of new leaders.3 Mentorship can be especially impactful for early-career employees, women, and people of color.

With the dramatic rise in remote work, early-career employees often miss out on the “water cooler conversations” that help them build relationships and professional networks. An established framework for creating and nurturing supportive relationships will help them feel more like part of the team.4 5

A mentorship program can establish and improve vital connections among employees — putting your company on a solid foundation for growth as you head into the new future of work.

7 tips for effective mentoring.

  1. Create a detailed framework and timeline, and clearly define purpose and expectations for all participants.
  2. Consider starting with a small pilot group of enthusiastic employees.
  3. Get input on logistics by surveying participants on communication preferences and interest areas, and create matches accordingly.
  4. Make sure participants have all the tools they need to make personal connections and build rapport with one-on-one human connection.
  5. Provide training on culturally sensitive communication.
  6. Encourage everyone to celebrate wins and benchmarks.
  7. Expand the mentorship program gradually, implementing the best practices you identify along the way.

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Related Content

1Neil Irwin, “Workers are Gaining Leverage Over Employers Right Before Our Eyes,” The New York Times, July 20, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/05/upshot/jobs-rising-wages.html

2Naz Beheshti, “Improve Workplace Culture With A Strong Mentoring Program,” Forbes.com, January 23, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nazbeheshti/2019/01/23/improveworkplace-culture-with-a-strongmentoring-program/?sh=3a07cd3c76b5

3Robert Sher, “How Midsized Companies Can Launch Powerful Mentoring Programs,” Forbes.com, April 21, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertsher/2021/04/21/how-midsizedcompanies-can-launch-powerfulmentoring-programs/?sh=61f88868fb9c

4Marianna Tu and Michael Li, “What Great Mentorship Looks Like in a Hybrid Workplace,” Harvard Business Review, May 12, 2021. https://hbr.org/2021/05/what-great-mentorship-looks-like-in-a-hybrid-workplace

5Kevin Davis, “Mentorship Is Critical to the Post-Pandemic Workplace,” CEOWORLD Magazine, July 9, 2021. https://ceoworld.biz/2021/07/09/mentorship-is-critical-to-the-postpandemic-workplace/