All employees need help from time to time, especially in the beginning of their careers. Unfortunately, mentoring tends to get pushed to the side when work pressures mount. Overlooking this tried and true corporate strategy can be a mistake though, especially for organizations wanting to streamline operations and boost growth. That might explain why over 71 percent of Fortune 500 companies currently offer mentoring programs — the benefits are too big to ignore.
Employers are having a difficult time finding employees ready and able to move up to executive leadership positions. Every company requires a unique set of skills from their executives, and mentoring provides an opportunity to nurture talent from within and shape potential leaders to meet your company’s specific needs. It’s the easiest and most cost-effective way to fill managerial holes that inevitably arise over time.
When employees feel lost, they require more attention from middle management and get less done. Sometimes they don’t even want to approach their supervisors out of fear of seeming incompetent, which results in even more wasted time. That puts a noticeable strain on a critical layer of a company. Mentoring gives employees the opportunity to actively learn on the job and better contextualize company expectations through the guidance of someone who’s been in their shoes yet isn’t their direct supervisor. Mentoring gives employees more room to grow while freeing up their managers’ time for higher-level responsibilities. It’s a win-win for both.
There’s no doubt that retaining talent is crucial to your organization’s success, and mentoring is hugely helpful when it comes to boosting employee engagement and retention. Over 79 percent of millennials see mentoring as pivotal to their career success, and when they find it lacking, they’ll move on to another company that makes it a priority. Studies have also found that a high percentage of turnover is directly caused by employees not knowing how to do their job. By providing personal, one-on-one advice to employees, companies can avoid the burden of constantly hiring and training new employees.
While mentoring is hugely beneficial for employers and employees alike, it’s just one part of the equation. Sponsorship is equally important to translating the knowledge employees gain through mentoring into measurable and actionable results. Sponsors are powerful figures in a company. They advocate for employees to move higher up the corporate ladder, fight for them to earn that promotion, and actively assign them to projects that will get them noticed. As you move forward in creating or further developing your own company’s mentoring programs, keep in mind that it’s imperative to provide a clear pathway for employees to utilize that gained knowledge.