Organizational Wellness

Why We All Need Mentorship Programs

Feb 7, 2023
Last Updated Sep 19, 2023

Some of the most underutilized resources in your company are right under your nose — your tenured employees. They have valuable skills and experience that would benefit your other employees, so why not let them share their knowledge?

That’s where mentorship programs come in handy! Get this — every single Fortune 50 company has mentorship programs, which says a lot about the impact mentorship programs can have on your business. If you want to learn about how mentorship programs can transform your talent management and make your workforce more confident than ever, read on!

What’s the Purpose of Mentorship Programs?

Mentorship programs are meant to pass knowledge between employees. They are an opportunity for experienced team members to transfer skills and provide guidance to a newer hire. At the same time, your tenured employee can gain leadership experience, or learn from their partner’s own unique background. This is what’s at the heart of mentorship programs: growth for all parties involved.

Mentorship programs are especially beneficial for new employees that don’t know your company and need extra training or support. A great mentor can make a big difference when it comes to the onboarding process, establishing trust and ensuring that those new employees have someone to rely on. Nine out of 10 of employees say formal workplace training positively impacts their job engagement, so providing that kind care from the beginning can develop into long-lasting engagement for those involved, which is amazing for business.

On a related note, mentorship programs can also help attract top talent while retaining high performers. Helping teams develop meaningful social links and growing professionally — all while making people feel like they belong at work — is a great way to prevent turnover.

What is a Mentor?

A mentor is typically someone who has been at your company for a lengthy period, understands the ins and outs of their position, and is both able and willing to guide other employees. The main qualifier? A mentor is someone who has more experience and knowledge than the mentee so they can help them learn and grow.

A mentor should also be someone who is excited to pass on what they have learned, who can devote the extra effort and time to helping others. So, beyond their experience, it’s ideal for them to be good with people and enthusiastic about participating.

Why Are Mentors Important?

So, what does a mentor do, and why are they so important to your company? It’s extremely valuable to have someone in your organization who others can look up to, particularly leaders who represent the values, mission, and desired culture of your organization. Beyond that feel-good support, though, there’s also a lot of data that shows mentorships are good business.

First off, mentors guiding mentees help your company maintain its competitive edge. Mentorships are a way for high performers to help their colleagues achieve top-talent status. They promote a culture of learning, one where employees are more driven, invested in their jobs, and continually growing. 

Second, mentors often solidify a meaningful relationship with mentees, developing a trust that can foster loyalty towards the company.

Finally, mentorship programs have also been shown to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Tending DEI is important for your workforce for so many reasons, and diverse management can boost your revenue by 19% in comparison to less-diverse companies.

So, let’s review: Mentorship programs foster better leadership, increase the number of valuable perspectives at your company, round out your organizational culture, and build community. Taken together, it’s a pretty compelling picture!

Benefits to the Mentor

Mentoring programs aren’t just good for the company. Those who may qualify and show interest in being a mentor can benefit as well. Here are some of the payoffs that entice employees to become mentors.

  • Learn leadership skills. For those that want to advance in their career, it’s always wise to have leadership experience under their belt. Taking initiative and responsibility can demand skill and guts, but that’s how people develop into leaders.
  • Become recognized as an advisor and leader. Mentorship looks great on a resume. It can really help someone market themselves as a competent and valuable asset to a company.
  • Grow communication skills. Communication is one of the most useful skills when it comes to working in a group and developing high-functioning teams. Mentorships support strong communication development by giving people the opportunity to practice teaching and inspiring others.
  • Gain new insights and perspectives. Even the most experienced employees at your company can learn from others — any teacher or advisor can tell you they learn so much from that position of leadership. There’s always new insights to gain, especially when recalling what it’s like to be less experienced. It can cause people to think of their job in a fresh light.
  • Giving back to the company. Employees who love your company are going to want to positively contribute. Mentorship programs let them be a part of something bigger than themselves and pass along what they’ve learned to serve the mission and people they’ve worked with for so long.
  • Growing network. Networking is a powerful tool for everyone in the workforce, and creating meaningful connections that last beyond a single position is great for someone’s career long-term.

Benefits to the Mentee

We can’t forget about those mentees, of course, the main benefactors of a successful mentorship program!

  • Learn the company culture. Mentees are immersed in the authentic company culture when they work closely with a mentor. While great HR representatives set the bar for company culture, working with a peer or more experienced staffer can be a more organic experience when it comes to absorbing company culture.
  • Networking. Just like mentors, mentees who network have a deeper well of resources available to them as they progress in the corporate world.
  • Potential promotion possibilities. For ambitious employees who want to take advantage of career growth opportunities, it’s important to stand out within your company. This often starts with becoming especially competent in one’s current role, then participating in company-based development programs that foster expanded skill sets.
  • Gain knowledge faster. Training and development one-on-one is among the best ways to troubleshoot and control a personalized learning curve when gaining experience and education. 

How to Build a Mentorship Program

A mentorship program may take some time to formally get off the ground, but there are some basic steps you can take to get going in the right direction. Here’s are four steps to consider.

  1. Determine goals

What do the people at your company need or want when it comes to their development? Where are people struggling in their job? What will success look like if your mentorship program works properly?

The goals of your mentorship program should also reflect your business goals. How is the mentorship program tied back to employee engagement, development, and satisfaction? In turn, how is this helping strengthen your culture and get better performance results? These are the questions you should be asking yourself as you establish mentorship program objectives. 

  1. Promote the program

Build interest in the program to attract the best employees for mentor or mentee roles. There may be some initial enthusiasm that doesn’t quite translate to active volunteers, so be ready to nurture promising candidates by following up.

For mentors especially, make sure to build up their confidence. You can consider offering mentoring training that communicates the benefits they’ll receive by participating; some companies even use monetary benefits to encourage participation. You’ll also want to make sure you have support for the program within company leadership and recommend top performers for participation.

  1. Pair mentors and mentees (with intention)

The success of this program is going to largely depend on how you pair mentors and mentees together. This can also be one of the most challenging steps, but don’t get discouraged. Consider whether you’ll use self-matching or admin-matching. Some companies allow their mentees to submit their three top picks and try to align their preferences with the availability of mentors.

Also consider the experience that the mentor can offer and the experience the mentee needs. Who is most qualified to fill those roles? From there, you can consider personalities by making user profiles and determine what kind of guidance mentees really need.

  1. Gain feedback on the program to improve

Of course, the final step is analyzing your program to see what’s great about it, what didn’t work out, and how you can improve in the future. Use surveys and seek feedback from both mentors and mentees to get the full picture and adjust from there.

Protect the Health of All Employees with the Best Resources

Employees, whether they’re brand new or have been around for a couple of decades, deserve competitive benefits that support their health. A mentorship program is a great way to bring people together, offer better support, relieve stress, help everyone grow, and positively contribute to the health of your employees. Another benefit that helps in these areas is a wellness program!

Wellness programs are designed to prioritize the health and wellbeing of employees, including physical, mental, and emotional health. A mentorship program can be one form of mental and emotional support at work that helps reduce stress. You can also sign up with Wellhub to get access to amazing wellness apps. Talk to a wellbeing specialist to see what your company could use to create an amazing wellness strategy in the workplace!

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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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