Almost every successful professional has had a trusted mentor to help them chart a new course for their career, to guide and inspire them. For individuals, studies show that good mentoring can lead to greater career success, including promotions, raises and increased opportunities.
Leading organizations also understand the myriad of benefits that mentoring programs can deliver in today’s business landscape. In fact, organizations that embrace mentoring are rewarded with higher levels of employee engagement, retention and knowledge sharing – proving so beneficial that 71% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs to their employees.
Arguably, the utilization of employee mentoring programs, including reverse mentoring, is even more critical today given the need to adapt to digital transformations and the demographic makeup of modern organizations.
Millennials now comprise the majority of the workforce and many of them are taking on management roles – with organizations tapping into their technology savvy and digital knowledge. However, while Millennials may have the IQ to succeed in their new posts, many of them haven’t had the opportunity to develop their much-needed emotional intelligence to excel at managing others.
Effective mentoring programs can help bridge the gap between older and younger generations, while increasing the performance and job satisfaction among participants. For example, pairing a Millennial manager with an older mentee can result in the sharing of digital skills and the understanding of diversity issues, including those of LGBT and ethnic minorities. Or, pairing an older executive to mentor a younger Millennial manager can help develop more effective management skills, including better communication, their ability to influence others and navigate organizational politics.
Components of Successful Mentoring Programs
As with any employee development program, mentorship initiatives must be structured and use best practices to ensure success. When done correctly, mentoring can help boost retention, engagement and drive higher performance levels.
Consider these 6 best practices when implementing mentorship programs:
- Define and set clear program goals and expectations for mentors and mentees.
- Carefully select and pair the right match between mentors and mentees, emphasizing diversity across region, department and personality.
- Hold both participants accountable for the relationship’s success.
- Provide ongoing recognition for mentors who truly make a difference.
- Set a timeline with a beginning, middle and end so participants can end the relationship gracefully if it isn’t working.
- Track and measure the program’s performance, benchmark the success of individual pairings to learn and develop best practices.
Set the Stage for Success
As you embark on employee mentoring initiatives, be sure to have early discussions with all participants to ensure strong commitment and address any fear or distrust that may exist. Many best-in-class programs begin with individual and/or team assessments to identify behavioral styles, communication preferences and decision-making approaches of every participant.
Talent assessments can serve as valuable tools in the matching process for mentors and mentees, pairing styles and personalities that tend to work well together. In addition, assessments can help individuals get to know and understand each other better and provide important information on how to adapt their approach to different situations and communicate most effectively.
XBInsight has partnered with many of today’s leading companies to help build and implement effective mentoring programs across their organization.
If you’re looking to improve coaching and mentoring programs, learn more about XBInsight’s coaching and development programs.