The lifelong benefits of mentoring Developing these professional relationships can be life-changing.
A good mentor can be a bridge between individual and organizational needs, between extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. January is National Mentoring Month, initiated in 2002 by the Harvard School of Public Health as a way to encourage youth mentoring. It is also an excellent time for leaders to reflect on the value of mentoring within their organization.
What is a mentor?
By definition, a mentor is a more experienced and knowledgeable person who teaches and nurtures the development of a less experienced and knowledgeable person. In an organizational setting, a mentor influences the personal and professional growth of a mentee. Most traditional mentorships involve having senior employees mentor more junior employees, but mentors do not necessarily have to be more senior than the people they mentor. What matters is that mentors have experience that others can learn from. For example, some companies have "reverse mentoring" programs where younger employees share their experience using social technology with senior colleagues who may not have used these tools before.
The benefits of mentoring flow beyond cultivating engaged employees.
Whether it takes the form of traditional, peer, or group mentoring, mentoring builds happy, productive and inclusive workplaces.
Mentoring, by its very nature, is a reciprocal relationship in which each person has a genuine desire to see the other succeed. The opportunity to connect and learn from each other fosters collaboration and inclusion, which can bring company values to life. Mentoring is a platform with equal opportunity for every person within an organization.
And when people work on their personal and professional goals, they feel more connected to their work and a sense of achievement. The result is employees that feel more positively about the organization they work for, and their career.
Reducing Salt and increasing Sun
Less-measurable but still important is how having a reliable sounding board in the office can reduce job anxiety and stress. We all make mistakes and we don't always meet our own goals. When that happens in work, it can be extremely worrisome. After all, this job is your livelihood. But a mentor can help you see the bigger picture, can help make you understand that a single mistake isn't going to cost you your career and can help you learn and improve what you do in the workplace so those mistakes become fewer and fewer.
To engage in the most effective mentoring relationships, university leadership, department chairs, program directors, mentors, and mentees all need to take action and use the tools and resources available to them. This tool provides some guidance about how to implement effective mentorship—at the institutional level or at the relationship level.
The organizational benefits
Attract GREAT Talent
60% of university and graduate students listed mentoring as a criterion for selecting an employer.
Increase Engagement & Retention
Effective mentoring boosts retention rates 69% for mentors and 72% for mentees in a mentoring program.
Develop Your People
Employees who receive mentoring are promoted 5 times more often than those who do not.
Promote Diversity & Inclusion
Minorities who advance furthest share one characteristic: a strong network of mentors and corporate sponsors.
Develop Your Leaders
Managerial productivity increases by 88% with mentoring and training, versus 24% with training alone.
Improve Your Culture
71% of Fortune 500 companies run mentoring programs.