Does your mentorship program need a reboot? Three strategies to consider.
A strong mentoring program can lead to better employee engagement and retention. And it’s not just a pie-in-the-sky perk: 71 percent of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs to their employees.
“Especially if you’re located in a major tech hub, mentorship as a perk is the new La Croix—except that it’s a lot more meaningful and effective in breaking silos and building a productive workforce,” said Charu Sharma, the founder and CEO of the artificial intelligence-based mentoring app NextPlay.ai, in a column for Inc.
Mentoring may matter even more for young women. A recent study by the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business found that women gained more social capital from affiliation with a high-status mentor than their male counterparts did. Nevertheless, a 2016 survey by the staffing firm Accountemps found that while 33 percent of men had mentors, only 18 percent of women did.
To make the most of your company’s program, consider the following three strategies.
Invest the time. Experts say it’s vital that a mentor commits to a mentee’s success. “When you give advice and mentorship, the key is to follow up and see if your mentee completed the tasks and assignments and to hold them accountable to the goals that they are setting to achieve their own growth,” Juli Smith, president of The Smith Consulting Group LLC, said in an article for ZipRecuiter.
Evolve. Michigan Medicine doctors Vineet Chopra, Justin B. Dimick, and Sanjay Saint, writing in the Harvard Business Review, say mentees need three types of mentoring teams over time: the launch team at the beginning of a mentee’s career, a cruise team to ensure progress continues, and a boost team to help prevent the mentee’s career from plateauing.
Be real. The last thing anyone wants is to waste time. Focus on authenticity and connection. “Sadly, many team-building exercises don’t work that well because the teams feel as though they’re just going through the paces,” according to the Forbes Coaches Council. “There’s not enough engagement to actually create a connection.”