Upgrade Your Employee Onboarding Experience With Mentoring

Key Learnings: 

  1. By setting up a mentoring program for employee onboarding you can: nip employee churn in the bud; reduce time to competency for new hires; and improve employee engagement.
  2. Mentoring throughout the employee onboarding process can help make your organisation more inclusive.
  3. Mentors benefit too from wider networks and perspectives, as well as the opportunity to positively impact company culture.

We know the feeling; your fantastic new employee has just signed their contract. Time to sit back and relax, right?

Well… not quite. You might think the hard part’s over but, actually, this is just the beginning. The first 6 months of any new job can determine the success of your hire in the long run. As part of your ongoing talent retention strategy, companies should be focusing not just on hiring but on employee onboarding.

Studies have shown that organisations with a formal employee onboarding program experience 50% better new hire retention than those without. On top of that, those that receive effective onboarding are 18 times more likely to feel committed to the organisation. This is for good reason, the onboarding process is a crucial step in getting your new hire up to speed and showing them what your company culture is really like.

So, how do you improve your employee onboarding? Well, that’s where mentoring can help.

Find out more about embedding mentoring in your HR initiatives with Guider.

How is mentoring used to improve onboarding?

Mentoring is used to improve employee onboarding by matching up new hires with experienced, trusted team members to act as mentors throughout the first 6 months in their new role. Onboarding mentoring schemes can last as long as your onboarding process does and feed into other existing mentoring programs.

Similar to a buddying system, the goal is to help new hires get up to speed with company culture and ways of working. Through providing mentoring for onboarding, you can accelerate the learning and growth of new hires from the start of their journey and embed continuous learning in your organisation. The mentor will also take pressure off line managers and create wider networks in the business.

There are many benefits to introducing mentoring early on in your employee journey. The best part is, mentoring can support remote onboarding too through virtual mentoring. Below we break down some of the top problems organisations face when onboarding new hires and how mentoring can help:

Nip employee churn in the bud

On average, a third of new hires leave within the first 6 months of starting a new role and the cost of re-hiring can be 1.5 or even 2 times the person’s salary. This makes employee churn a costly problem!

The good news is that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with their company for 3 years if they had a positive onboarding experience. Mentoring helps new talent to integrate faster, learn more and see that the company cares about their wellbeing and progression. This leads to better retention, money saved and fewer headaches for your HR team.

Reduce time to competency

At Google, new hires paired with a mentor became fully effective 25% faster than those without. Mentors don’t just teach you how to do your job but how to navigate the wider working culture.

Getting your people up to speed on everything from the software you use to the unspoken rules of the office, will get them to the point of full efficacy faster. Meaning that you’ll benefit from greater productivity earlier on.

Improve employee engagement

Employee engagement is a key factor in retaining talent long-term. Mentoring builds relationships and trust across teams, creating more empathetic workplace cultures and ultimately, more engaged employees.

When your people feel seen, heard and valued at work, they are more likely to stay engaged in their work and company culture. The majority of those with mentors will also go on to become mentors themselves, proving the high levels of engagement that mentoring has.

Find out more about increasing employee engagement in our guide.

How does mentoring improve onboarding?

Mentoring is all about harnessing the power of human connections for learning and development. Humans are social beings and workplace mentoring is a fantastic way to build trusting relationships that help us to feel connected to one another.

By introducing mentoring for onboarding, both mentor and mentee are given a safe space to learn and grow together. This sets up a culture of mentoring and social learning from the start of the employee experience that will last way beyond the onboarding process.

A well-structured onboarding mentoring program can…

  • Make people feel valued
  • Get them up to speed
  • Help them feel part of the team
  • Show your culture in action

Remember: Mentors benefit too!
The best part of using mentoring for onboarding is that mentors benefit too. They can impart wisdom and feel that they are actively participating in creating a positive workplace culture, as well as gaining fresh ideas from new employees and a wider perspective.

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Can mentoring make onboarding more inclusive?

Absolutely! A key factor in any successful employee onboarding program is making sure you’re creating an inclusive environment for new hires. By setting every employee up for success regardless of their background, they are more likely to feel connected to your organisation because they have a sense of belonging there.

There are many ways that incorporating onboarding mentoring into your process can lead to greater inclusivity. Below we highlight 3 of the top ways that mentoring makes onboarding more inclusive:

Widening networks

Onboarding mentoring helps new hires widen their networks in the business from the start. An important factor in inclusion is seeing role models around you and finding allies within the business. Through mentoring, you can connect new hires with a community from the get-go.

You can also run events as part of your mentoring program and create a cohort of new hires and mentors to maximise the opportunity for networking within the business and to build a community that your employees will want to be a part of.

Improving cultural competency

Through mentoring, both mentors and mentees can improve cultural competency. This is the ability to understand, appreciate and interact with people from cultures different to your own.

Through exposure to new perspectives, we can gain insight into how others think and what their values are. This helps foster an understanding and inclusive environment. Introducing mentoring in onboarding means that new hires will be ingratiated into a more inclusive company culture. It will also mean your culture grows with every new hire.

Building equality

Through incorporating a structured system for mentoring in your employee onboarding process, you can give all new hires the same opportunity to connect with and learn from their peers. Mentors will often become champions of their mentees later on.

You’ll boost the chances of your new hire integrating and thriving by matching them up with the right mentors from the get-go. And as mentoring can happen virtually, you can connect and support your people from wherever they’re based through remote onboarding.

Two people shaking hands in equality

How do I set up employee mentoring for onboarding?

There are several factors to consider in planning a successful mentoring program to improve employee onboarding. With some careful planning, you can ensure that your mentoring program works hard to support your onboarding efforts.

1. Remember pre-boarding

Pre-boarding is the word for that in-between stage when your new hire has signed their contract but hasn’t yet started. This is the time to focus on building excitement and showing your new hire what your company culture is all about.

Now’s the time to introduce your onboarding mentoring program. Whether you put mentors and mentees in touch in this phase or simply let them know that this support will be provided, you can build excitement for your mentoring program and their new role.

2. Start matching mentors and mentees

The matching phase is important in mentoring for onboarding. It’s a good idea to build a pool of trusted mentors to draw from so that you know new hires are being connected with the right people.

The goal of the mentor is to provide additional support outside of line management, so make sure that mentors have enough time and experience to be able to support with a range of topics and skill development. With a lot of information to retain; a mentor that’s been through the process can keep new hires engaged, show that they are valued and help them to feel included. 

3. Create a cohort 

Bringing together your new hires and mentors in a cohort is a great way to not only maximise the networking opportunity of mentoring but to help people share stories and advice. Bring your cohort together for events and encourage them to share experiences.

When people feel a part of a community, they are more likely to feel supported, know where to go for help and integrate more quickly into their new organisation. 

4. Check-in regularly

Employee onboarding is not an overnight process, in fact, we often forget how long it can take to fully learn a new role. Factoring strategic check-in points with your mentors and mentees will help you to gauge how well your program is working and identify any areas of improvement.

Planning surveys at the 1, 3 and 6-month mark will help you to keep your program on track and ensure that new hires are engaging in their new role.

5. Sign-post onwards

Mentoring has benefits way beyond employee onboarding. Make sure you sign-post your cohort to your wider company mentoring programs so that they can keep benefiting from mentoring throughout their time at the company.

All mentoring programs will help improve employee engagement, retention and inclusion. So, don’t forget to plan ahead and keep your new hires engaged in mentoring – you’ll thank yourself in the long run!

Using these steps, you can leverage the expertise of your existing employees and improve the experience of new hires through mentoring. On top of this, mentoring supports an inclusive culture, so why not set new hires up right?

Find out more about starting a mentoring program for employee onboarding by talking to our team today! 

Read more of our expert guides here:

How to start a buddying system


Developing Young Leaders, Supporting Your Gen-Z Workforce and Finding Role Models with Andra Enache

Our latest episode of Guided is now live! 

This week, we’re joined by Andra Enache, a Culture, Employee Experience and D&I expert at NTT Data, aspiring to make the world a better place by empowering people to be more confident and achieve their goals.

She is passionate about leadership, psychology, sustainable development and mental health – which is why we invited her on to talk about developing young leaders.

Learn more by tuning in below

Advice for Businesses

How to Establish Trust Through Workplace Mentoring

So, you want to build a successful and productive workplace? Great – of course, you’re not alone in this goal. But what separates good workplaces from the bad? Some will say having the right resources is the best way forward. Others will prioritise time tracking, focusing on improving work efficiency.

While these both help, there is an even more important factor in fostering a successful workplace: trust. There’s no point in having the best resources if your employees don’t trust each other, or your organisation. Without trust, group projects won’t run smoothly, and your workplace will lack the space needed for effective dialogue.

In a nutshell, a lack of trust can completely derail an organisation. But what can you do to make sure that this doesn’t happen? Well, implementing a workplace mentoring program is a really good place to start. But first, let’s look at the different types of trust.

Trust spelt in scrabble tiles
How do you build trust in the workplace?

What are the different types of trust?

You might be wondering, how do you categorise trust? Believe it or not, there are actually two forms of trust: practical and emotional. Let’s take a closer look…

Practical  trust

This form of trust requires hard work. If an employee regularly arrives at work on time and puts in a full day’s worth of effort, you’re more likely to trust them. Similarly, if a team leader provides effective and dedicated leadership, their team is more likely to put their faith in them.

Practical trust is essential if you want people to believe that you’ll put actions to your words. 

Emotional  trust

It’s fair to say that practical trust is a little colder and more pragmatic than emotional trust – put simply, practical trust is built from commitment and effort. Emotional trust is slightly different in that it’s developed as employees bond with one another. When emotional trust is strong, they feel more confident about expressing their thoughts and feelings.

Emotional trust is essential if you want people to believe they can be themselves at work and trust you with their thoughts and feelings.

Which do you need?

You might have figured it out already, but the answer is that you absolutely need both. Without practical trust, people won’t make the effort to grow your organisation. Without emotional trust, workers won’t have strong enough ties to work together effectively.

But how do you build both practical and emotional trust? Let’s find out!

A pile of question marks on a blue background
How do you build a culture of trust through mentoring?

How to build a culture of trust with mentoring

Trust won’t come overnight; you’ll need to work towards it. To build a positive working environment, the overall culture of your workplace will need to change.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a workplace culture should embody your organisation. A culture of trust is one of openness and transparency, seen in all employees across the entire organisation.

One great way to do this is to implement a workplace mentoring scheme. This will build both types of trust as employees learn they can rely on one another and have a safe place to discuss their challenges and goals.

Building trust through mentoring

Mentoring is when an experienced worker shares their experience with a newcomer or ‘mentee’. Mentoring is a practice that is becoming more and more popular in the workplace. This for good reason – it can help employees develop new and valuable skills.

There are lots of proven benefits to this, including accelerated career growth and boosted levels of engagement.

But despite this, many organisations still don’t have their own mentoring programs. In fact, a recent study found that only 37% of employees have mentors. This is a shame, as mentoring is a great way of building trust between workers.

But what can you do to ensure that your mentoring program boosts trust?

Focus on providing strong leadership

You won’t build much trust without strong leadership. Leadership should be central to every mentoring program, as team members need a role model that they can look up to. When selecting mentors, you need to look for the right qualities. The following factors are essential:

A willingness to listen

Mentoring is about sharing knowledge, but it’s also about listening. Too many mentors forget this and spend too long talking about themselves as a result. If you want mentoring to be the foundation of strong trust, a mentor needs to ensure that the mentee feels heard and is allowed the space to ask questions.

Be ready to admit mistakes

It can take a lot of guts to admit that you’re wrong about something, especially from a position of leadership. But by doing so, a mentor is teaching mentees the important lesson of learning from one’s mistakes, which in turn builds trust. A mentor will appear both relatable and approachable as a result.

Stick to promises

One sure-fire way of losing trust is by breaking promises. If a mentor makes a commitment, they should stick to it. This means, for instance, that any discussions held under confidentiality should remain between the mentor and mentee.

A woman in a yellow top on her laptop
Mentoring is a great way to build trust

Trust is essential

Put simply, trust is essential for every workplace. Without it, you won’t get anything done. But as we’ve explored here, you’ll need both practical and emotional trust if you’re to succeed. Establishing these won’t always be easy. Just remember, trust begins with simple steps.

If you haven’t already, start planning a mentoring program, this is a great first step in creating a culture of trust; allowing workers to gain both emotional and practical trust. They’ll create stronger bonds by working closely with their mentors. They’ll also learn from high-ranking workers firsthand, inspiring them to work towards progression.

So, what are you waiting for? Book a chat with our team of mentoring experts today and start building trust through mentoring today!

About the author:

Jessica Day, Senior Director, Marketing Strategy, at Dialpad

Jessica Day is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad, a modern business communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimise marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns. Jessica has also written for other domains such as Recruitee and Bizmanualz. Find her on LinkedIn.

Diversity and Inclusion

How to Expand Your Diversity and Inclusion Mentoring Program

This July, we ran a special Guider People Network (GPN) session, with a group of our clients from Deloitte, Clyde & Co, and more.

The session brought together program leads to discuss the successes and challenges of their programs, specifically in the area of diversity and inclusion. This was a chance for people to connect with each other, discuss how things are going, problem solve and share advice.

If you missed our GPN session, or are interested in finding out more about how to expand your D&I mentoring program, we’ve put together the key learnings below.

A big thank you to all who attended; Naomi Boachie-Ansah at Clyde & Co, Hannah Rubin and Marne Braddock at PVH, Helen Giblin at Deloitte, and Laura Kernaghan at The Talent Tap. As well as our Community Manager, Danika Patel for hosting another fantastic session and our Customer Success Manager, Holly Bradfield!

What is the GPN?

The Guider People Network is a fast-growing community of engaged professionals working across Learning, HR, L&D, People and Talent. Led by its members, for its members, the GPN focuses on running sessions that build community and allow us to crowd-source learning together.

To find out more about the GPN and how to join head to our community page.


How to expand your workplace diversity & inclusion mentoring programs

To introduce the session, Danika talked about the key ways that mentoring programs can support both diversity and inclusion:

How mentoring supports workplace diversity

  • Promotion & retention rates: Mentoring can make people feel valued, seen and that they belong at work, which leads to better retention rates as people want to stay and advance in companies where they thrive.
  • Advocates & sponsors: Mentoring is an excellent gateway to sponsorship and advocacy, where leaders use their influence to advocate for positions, responsibilities and networks.
  • Increasing visibility: A huge challenge for minority employees is that you don’t see people that look like you in roles you aspire to be in. So mentoring can help you to find those people, and guide you to reach those top positions.
  • Personal network: Similarly, mentoring can expand your network and connect you to people in your organisation or industry that you wouldn’t normally have the chance to speak to.

‍How mentoring fosters inclusivity

  • Broadening perspectives: Through connecting people that are different from you regularly, perspectives can be broadened leading to more inclusive mindsets.
  • Cultural competence: For cultural competence to improve in an organisation, people need to talk to one another and learn. Mentoring is a great way to do this.
  • Human-to-human connection: Change comes from human-to-human connection. This is what mentoring is all about and is an area that some inclusion programmes lack.
  • Creating safe spaces: Mentoring is a confidential, safe space for people to build trust and be honest. Safe spaces are important in inclusivity, as it means people can bring their whole selves to work and feel safe and supported doing that.
Banner for the Guider People Network: Join the community

Key learnings on expanding your mentoring programs

To kick off the group discussion, Danika asked Naomi at Clyde & Co to discuss how they’re creating better D&I mentoring programs from the start.

Naomi spoke about how they updated their list of skills and experience areas on the platform for users to enter. Previously, diversity and inclusion had been listed as an option that someone might want mentoring on. Now, Clyde & Co have gone deeper and provided more specific D&I topics such as neurodiversity, gender identity, and parental leave. After all, D&I encompasses a huge range of areas. This gives people more context so they can pick what they’re really looking for.

“For those people that have had harder barriers to overcome, it can be really good to have a mentor who’s had a similar lived experience that can encourage and motivate them, and to see somebody that’s like them in a context higher up.” Naomi Boachie-Anash, Clyde & Co

The Clyde & Co program, is giving people space to bring their whole selves to work so that as they go through the journey of mentorship or sponsorship, diversity and inclusion topics will stay part of the journey. If you only focus on reverse mentorship for diversity and inclusion, the onus is on the person in the underrepresented group to educate others, when actually, by matching with someone with a similar background they can find support themselves too.

An interesting point she made is that in matching mentors and mentees, you can focus more on topics of discussion over skills. This helps pitch mentoring to people as a tool for diversity and inclusion.

Danika asked the group to share further advice on how to promote your D&I mentoring programmes within the company.

Naomi talked about how they tie in their mentoring program with other D&I communications, to promote the program in different ways and contexts. So this means when there are events happening, such as webinars, they can tie messaging around mentoring and cross-promote. It’s important to ask the question across your groups “can mentoring help with that?” This way it’s not two separate initiatives but they are seen as one.

Helen from Deloitte then spoke about her experience with sponsorship in particular. She said that D&I is interwoven into the fabric of the sponsorship programs they run, and that seems to be working well. Separate programs can really put people off.

They’ve been using sponsorship to tackle racial and gender diversity in senior leadership in particular, with ambitious goals to promote females and ethnic minorities into leadership positions in a two-year period. The program has been successful so far, with 85% matching in just three months.

“The absolute underpinning principle of sponsorship is having a senior advocate in your organisation. It will provide you with visibility, give you the right networking opportunities, and put you on the line to get you the right stretch assignments. We’re investing a lot of focus to achieve something that has never been achieved.” Helen Giblin, Deloitte  

In terms of promotion, they’ve been making sure to sell the benefits on both sides. Sponsorship and mentoring can benefit both sides of the relationship – this is important to ensure a good cohort of senior mentors or sponsors sign up.

At PVH, Hannah told us that they had expected to struggle to get mentors signed up, but found that, because they had an engaged board, it was actually harder to get mentees on the program. While this is unusual, it’s an important point: senior-level buy-in for your programs can really make a difference. If you have key top-level staff on board, this can set a precedent and attract mentors to your program.

The flip side of this is they then had to do more promotion to attract mentees. This was through employee resource group newsletters, events, and cross-company internal communications.

At The Talent Tap, a social mobility charity for young people, Laura said that what they struggled with when launching a program was getting people to see the value of mentoring. They’d assumed it was obvious that it was beneficial. However, the students actually didn’t see the value in the program. Mentors too struggled to know how to support students that don’t know what they need yet. This is a big blocker in their program; helping students to understand mentoring and what they can gain from the experience.

Hannah agreed that people often see mentoring as a good experience in general, but don’t necessarily know what they can get out of it. She advised that they sent triple the emails they had planned to get sign-ups and that pre-communication is incredibly important to build knowledge and awareness. Identify key mentoring champions in your business and ask them to share their personal experience over video or written interviews. People are more likely to resonate with human stories from colleagues than reminders from their HR team.

At the end of the discussion, Hannah spoke about how, even if numbers in your programs are initially small, you’ve still positively impacted those people. Naomi further reassured us that building these programs takes patience and that with every iteration people will become advocates of what you’re doing and get the word out.

While the initial launch can be difficult, it’s worth the effort to see the impact you can have on your diversity and inclusion programs with mentoring.

Thank you everyone for sharing their thoughts, it was another incredibly interesting and thought-provoking session. To join the GPN head to our website or get in touch with Danika directly

We look forward to seeing you soon!