Mentoring in the Workplace: Why It Matters
Nicola Cronin
Writer
5 minutes
Duration
April 22, 2023
Date

Organisations are always looking for ways to nurture and retain their best people. Fortunately for them, most employees are similarly looking for ways to get fulfilment and satisfaction out of their work, making this a key area for businesses to cultivate.

Enter workplace mentoring. In this article, we run through how mentoring can help you to close skills gaps, develop your team, and improve engagement and retention by facilitating a working culture in which employees can learn and grow.

What is mentoring in the workplace?

Mentoring in the workplace is an established partnership between colleagues for the purposes of learning and growth. There are several different types of mentoring: the most common is 1:1 or traditional mentorship.

Mentoring at work can traditionally be seen as senior and more experienced employees giving advice and support to younger employees earlier on in their careers.

This dynamic is known as ‘informal mentoring’, as it often comes about from the mentor taking a liking to the mentee and taking them ‘under their wing’, rather than a formalised mentorship.

There is a lot to be said for informal mentoring, and many successful people refer to these kinds of relationships as helping them get to where they are today, such as Yves Saint Laurent and his formative mentoring from Christian Dior.

However, the issue with informal mentoring is that it’s often exclusive and elitist, with people choosing to mentor individuals they see themselves in (not doing anything for diversity in the process). Additionally, informal mentoring can be hard to access in larger organisations, with a lack of process around getting started and structuring a relationship.

These kinds of relationships also rely on sheer luck a lot of the time. How many successful entrepreneurs have you heard say they were “in the right place at the right time” when they met a crucial person that took a chance on them?

As a result of these biases, mentoring in the workplace needs to be established as a formal mentoring programme in order to give employees equal opportunities to develop.

When should I establish a formal workplace mentoring programme?

There will likely be informal mentoring happening in your organisation already. The key question is, when do you formalise your programme?

A formal programme is when an organisation intentionally sets up a mentoring programme in which they actively match mentors and mentees and support the relationships to develop long-term.

Mentoring programmes can be run using spreadsheets and manual matching or through mentoring software, such as Guider. Mentoring software removes the headache, using AI to make mentor matches and providing integrated tools to manage the relationship effectively.

Regardless of how it’s facilitated, it’s helpful to consider the following questions when deciding when to set up a formal mentoring programme:

  • How many people are currently accessing some type of mentoring in your organisation?
  • What is the potential reach of a formal mentoring programme?
  • How does mentoring align with your learning and development goals?

By establishing a formal mentoring programme you are opening up mentoring across your organisation and removing bias from the process. You are also actively encouraging the growth and development of all of your employees.

Benefits of mentoring in the workplace

The benefits of mentoring in your business are wide-ranging. From leadership mentoring to supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives, there are many ways that mentoring can support your business.

Not only will mentoring in the workplace will also impact your people’s personal development, can positively support mental health and improve employee retention. We’ve outlined benefits to mentees, mentors and your whole organisation below.

Benefits to the mentee

Finding a mentor at work can help you build a host of essential skills. Those with mentors at work will benefit from an increase in:

  • Self-confidence
  • Self-awareness
  • Job satisfaction
  • Aspiration
  • Likelihood of promotion
  • Loyalty to their company
  • Fulfilment at work

89% of those who have been mentored will also go on to mentor others, and so contribute to this cycle of learning and development within an organisation.

Benefits to the mentor

There are also many positive benefits for those doing the mentoring. Studies have shown an increase in:

  • Self-confidence
  • Communication skills
  • Job satisfaction
  • Loyalty to their company
  • Fulfilment at work

Harvard Business Review conducted a study researching the positive effects mentoring can have on the mentors themselves and found that people who served as mentors experienced lower levels of anxiety and described their job as more meaningful than those who did not mentor. Leadership mentoring is also a key way to develop your leadership skills.

Benefits to your organisation

The positive outcomes of mentoring stretch far beyond personal development for the people involved in the mentorships. Mentoring in the workplace has huge benefits for the organisations themselves, increasing:

  • Employee engagement
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Employee loyalty

All of these contribute to employee retention!

It can also improve:

  • Diversity in leadership
  • Knowledge sharing
  • On-boarding ease
  • Strong company culture

Not to mention reducing learning costs as you are sourcing experts from within your organisation to foster the development of others.

Another benefit for organisations offering mentoring in the workplace is recruitment opportunities. Studies have shown that 79% of millennials see mentoring as crucial to their career success. Given that by 2025, this demographic will comprise more than 75% of the workforce, it ought to be a top priority for businesses of all sizes.

Mentoring in the workplace: key statistics

Above we mention some key statistics for implementing a mentoring programme in your business. Yet this is only a fraction of the data out there that shows the success of mentoring in the workplace.

Tell me more…

  • 84% of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programmes.
  • 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if they were offered opportunities to learn and grow.
  • 67% of businesses reported an increase in productivity due to mentoring.
  • 55% of businesses felt that mentoring had a positive impact on their profits.
  • Mentoring programmes boosted minority representation at the management level from 9% to 24%.
  • Top reasons for millennials wanting to quit their jobs are ‘Not enough opportunities to advance’ at 35% and ‘Lack of learning and development opportunities’ at 28%.
  • 71% of people with a mentor say their company provides them with good opportunities to advance in their career, compared with 47% of those without a mentor.
  • More than 4 in 10 workers who don’t have a mentor say they’ve considered quitting their job in the past three months.
  • 87% of mentors and mentees feel empowered by their mentoring relationships and have developed greater confidence.

As shown in the numerous studies on the positive effects of mentoring in the workplace, it’s one of the simplest things organisations can do to keep their employees engaged, productive and motivated. This is true across the different types of mentoring too.

How to start mentoring in the workplace

Implementing mentoring in the workplace is not only about what your business can gain, but, as we’ve shown, the opportunity cost of not investing in mentoring can be huge.

Now we’ve established how important mentoring in the workplace is, you’re probably itching to find out how you can implement an effective mentoring programme within your organisation.

Luckily we’ve put a full step-by-step toolkit together!

Download for free: The Complete Mentoring Toolkit 🛠️

So, there we have it—everything you need to know about mentoring at work. As you can see, mentoring is not just a nice to have but an essential part of your learning and development toolkit.

By implementing a formal workplace mentoring programme you can benefit from a whole host of lasting changes. The question isn’t “why is mentoring important”, but rather “why don’t we already do it!”

Want to learn more about how our mentoring platform can help your business thrive? Book a personalised demo with our team today.

What's next?

Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways Guider can help you supercharge your L&D with mentoring:

See how much mentoring can save your business with our ROI calculator

We've crunched the numbers from all of our customers to work out the financial value of mentorship to businesses. It might be just what you need to get executive buy-in

Guide to different types of workplace mentoring

Discover the different ways mentoring can be used in the workplace and the different types of mentoring. Find out how to plan specific mentoring programmes and see how companies are seeing real success in our complete guide. Get it here.

Get a no-obligation quote for Guider's mentoring software

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The Complete Mentoring Toolkit
Our complete mentoring toolkit gives you everything you need to create a workplace mentoring programme that’ll close skill gaps, boost employee engagement, and help your team hit new heights.

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