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Advice for Businesses
5 Reasons to Start a Peer Mentoring Program
Put simply, peer mentoring is when individuals of a similar age or experience level mentor one another. Many people may already be benefiting from an informal version of this type of mentoring in their workplaces. Whether it’s a colleague that can troubleshoot problems or someone that can provide advice on specific topics, there is so much valuable learning to be gained from your peers.
By setting up a formal peer mentoring program in your workplace you are providing everyone with the opportunity to learn together and encouraging your people to recognise the value of their peer relationships.
Unlike traditional mentoring, where a more senior mentor sits down with a junior mentee and provides advice and guidance, peer mentoring is more fluid. Participants can take turns acting as mentor or mentee, giving them the opportunity to practice leading sessions.
Ultimately, this type of mentoring is all about creating formal support structures for peer relationships that can foster learning together and accountability.
Below we run through the top 5 reasons to start a peer mentoring program in your workplace today:
1. Widen your pool of mentors
When you think of mentoring, you likely think of more senior employees imparting wisdom to younger, more junior staff. While this is an important mentoring type it’s not the only way to utilise mentoring in your organisation.
You may find in a workplace with a young workforce or a flat management structure that it’s more difficult to identify good mentors. Or you may have senior staff but struggle to get them to sign-up for a program.
In any of these examples peer mentoring can be used. It allows people of all ages to benefit from receiving mentorship while practising acting as a mentor too. This develops their leadership and communication skills, as well as encourages skill-sharing across peer groups.
You don’t need to wait until you have a large pool of senior mentors to get started. Peer mentoring is an easy way of connecting and empowering your people. Knowing that you have something to give and someone to learn from is an amazing feeling.
Key benefit: Widen your pool of mentors and help your staff to develop their mentoring skills together.
2. Onboard with ease
Much like a ‘buddy’ system, peer mentoring can be used in employee onboarding by matching up new starters with a mentor with a similar experience level to them. It’s an excellent way for new colleagues to build relationships from the get-go and lessen the pressure on managers running inductions by sharing responsibility.
The peer mentor relationship can also help induct employees into your workplace culture, provide support learning key processes and software, and provide pastoral support. Knowing that you have the support of your peers fosters a culture of community and shared learning. It also gives mentors the opportunity to practice their leadership skills.
Onboarding is a key area to get right. The more you can ease the transition of new starters and get them up to speed with your company culture, the faster they will find their feet and start delivering results.
Key benefit: From the get-go, new employees have a support network within their organisation.
3. Create a culture of allyship
Many companies struggle to foster allyship. Whether you have departmental silos that you are trying to tackle or you want to start a programme to support a specific marginalised or under-represented group, peer mentoring can help.
By pairing up employees in a peer mentoring program, you can provide vital support to your people and foster community across your organisation. You may want to run a program that matches people from the same group to provide one another with support. Alternatively, matching people with different backgrounds can create new allies and wider support systems.
This type of mentoring works well to support people going through menopause, new parents returning to work, or can be used to support LGBTQ+ people.
By providing formal ways for peers to connect, you are facilitating the growth of important relationships. This will increase employee satisfaction and improve your company culture as people feel supported to bring their whole selves to work each day.
Key benefit: Create a positive working culture in which everyone can feel seen, heard and accepted.
4. Support employee mental health and wellbeing
Similarly, peer mentoring is a powerful way to support mental health and employee wellbeing. It can be used to provide safe spaces for people to talk about their mental health confidentially.
Participants may feel more at ease talking about their mental health with someone outside of their management structure. It’s also a great way to support remote employees as mentoring can easily be run virtually.
Knowing that you have someone in your organisation that is on your side and available to talk is an essential source of support. Particularly when that person is in a similar job role to you or can relate to your experiences on a more personal level.
We know that building positive working relationships supports mental health and wellbeing and can prevent burnout later down the line.
Key benefit: Preventing burnout and poor mental health in your organisation has lasting benefits for employee retention, productivity and happiness.
5. Develop the leaders of tomorrow
Peer mentorship is a great way to foster leadership through mentoring in your workplace. As the participants switch from mentor to mentee they will gain insight and experience in leading sessions.
As we’ve touched on above, the peer mentor relationship is more fluid than in traditional mentoring. Both participants gain confidence from the sessions and work together to transform what they discuss into positive action. Peers also hold each other accountable, supporting each other’s goals and career growth.
Mentoring is a widely-known way to improve leadership representation as well as promotion and retention rates for minorities and women. By levelling the playing field, peer mentoring is an accessible way to promote mentoring within your organisation.
Finally, fostering leadership is identified as a key benefit that workers are looking for from their employer. Of employees that leave within 2 years of joining a company, 71% report thinking that their leadership skills were not being developed. Investing in peer mentoring will save you time and money in the future by creating your future leaders today.
Key benefit: Build skills and confidence across your team so they’re ready to step up into leadership roles.
So, there we have it: 5 reasons why you should implement a peer mentoring program in your organisation today!
This type of mentoring not only facilitates building networks across your business but has lasting benefits for employee wellbeing and leadership development. Furthermore, it has a wide range of uses that can improve processes such as onboarding.
If you’re looking to find out more about peer mentoring and explore the other types of mentoring that you can utilise today, why not download our latest e-book ?
Or get in touch below and talk to us about how Guider’s mentoring software can help take the hassle out of your mentorship program