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The Power of Mentoring Programs for Individuals and Organisations

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Mentoring has long been acknowledged and accepted as a great way to develop employees, but in the past six years we’ve seen a huge rise in the number of mentoring programs being set up by organisations. In this article, I explore some of the key reasons why PushFar’s clients are setting up mentoring programs now, what the benefits are and why your organisation should be running them too.

Before we dive into the powerful benefits of mentoring, it’s important to acknowledge that even within the learning and development space, there is still a misconception of mentoring. In fact, we often hear the terms ‘mentoring’ and ‘coaching’ used interchangeably. This is fundamentally wrong.
Mentoring doesn’t require qualifications, anybody with knowledge, skills, and experience that someone else can benefit from can call themselves a mentor. Coaching, on the other hand, often costs a lot of money, requires external coaches or coaching qualifications and as a result is a lot less accessible for lots of businesses and organisations. Simply put, mentoring is about leveraging the power of your existing talent, your employees, and helping them to share that with fellow employees, to build and boost talent, learning and development. It’s very cost effective and not only does it benefit people who are being mentored but it has just as many benefits for mentors too – empowerment, re-enforced best practice, improved interpersonal and leadership skills, to name but a few.

So, why are organisations now implementing mentoring programs?

The first reason why more and more organisations are launching and offering mentoring to their employees is that employees are asking for it. In fact, studies and research are increasingly showing Gen Z viewing mentoring as critical to their success. We ran a survey with 1,000 professionals in 2022 and found that 86% of employees actually considered mentoring access a factor to staying with an organisation. So, not only do younger generations expect it, but they will also actually consider leaving an organisation if they don’t have access to it.

Employee retention rates rise when organisations offer mentoring programs, and not just because employees consider leaving if they don’t have access to mentoring but also because we know that a huge number of employees will cite managerial conflict as a reason for leaving an organisation.
So, if you put a mentor in place as a support for your employees, they will have a second channel and outlet in a support individual who they can talk to about challenges, goals and career objectives.

Alongside employee retention rates, employee engagement is also seen to be boosted by mentoring. For mentees, it ensures they feel a sense of learning, support and through that engagement to succeed and achieve in their work. But guess what? Mentors also feel the benefits and impact of engagement rates being boosted.

Offering people the opportunity to share their knowledge, their skills and their experience with others can be extremely empowering. Simply put, mentoring provides mentors and mentees alike with a sense of belonging, of support and of empowerment.

Another reason why we’re, increasingly, seeing organisations turning to mentoring is that when offered it can have a positive impact on diversity and inclusion. One of the biggest reasons why inclusive challenges occur is through lack of understanding and education around the challenges certain individuals and groups are facing.
When organisations implement supportive traditional mentoring programmes for employee resource groups, such as womens’ networks, ethnicity networks and LGBTQ+ networks, it gives them support, role models and a voice. Reverse mentoring can be really powerful too. Encouraging senior leaders to be mentored by those in minority networks and groups, to share their experiences and educate senior leaders on challenges.

How can organisations leverage technology for mentoring?

Mentoring programs were, traditionally, extremely resource-heavy, involved a lot of manual processes and were time consuming for program managers in HR and learning roles. As a result of that, organisations, whilst seeing the obvious benefits, didn’t have the resources, times, or support to be able to offer mentoring programs more widely. Mentoring used to therefore be limited to “top talent” or those needing more support.
Fortunately, nowadays, with the advent of technology and, more specifically, mentoring software like PushFar, organisations can easily and quickly setup, launch and scale mentoring programs in hours, rather than weeks.

Mentoring software does everything from capturing application forms of prospective mentors and mentees, to then enabling self-selected and admin-led matching, with customisable algorithms and criteria, and then, once participants are matched, they can set their goals, schedule their meetings and record their notes through the platform. This, in turn, suddenly gives HR and learning teams a far wider visibility of activity, engagement and feedback from mentoring.

So, if you’re not running mentoring programs, why not?

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