Mentoring Culture Retains Top Talent


“When you stop growing, you start dying,” says author William S. Burroughs.

It’s true for life, and true for a career.  Ask any recruiter: job seekers want high salaries, benefits, and good locations.  But they ALSO want interesting jobs where they can grow and advance.

To attract top talent, employers need to lay out a clear path for growth.  One way is through mentorship.

How does mentoring work for both mentors and mentees?  Does mentoring increase employee retention?

Why Mentoring Works

A good mentor can bridge an individual and an organization.  “Employees reach their full potential when their job also brings intrinsic rewards—the feeling of doing meaningful work that is connected to their own personal and professional development, says Naz Behesti of Forbes.  Mentors bring the human element to the work.  The relationship that forms between mentor and mentee also makes employees feel socially connected to a business.

Mentoring has a big impact on acclimation and retention.  A report from PeopleFluent shows that 78 percent of millennials said that being a part of a mentorship program made them feel more engaged with their organization (Chronus). Onboarding with mentors helps ensure a successful transition into a new role: “Many companies leave executive on-boarding to chance, and as a result experience failure rates in excess of 50% when it comes to retaining new executive talent,” says Egon Zehnder International.

Mentoring offers targeted, personalized training.  Mentors can shorten a learning curve by determining what a new employee already knows and where to focus training and support.  Mentors can also share their own networks (this could be a huge benefit in a field such as sales).

How to Build a Mentorship Program

Step 1: Set Program Goals:  The best way to begin any program is to ask two important questions: What are the goals of your mentoring program? How will success be measured?  The more specific your answers are to these questions, the better.   Consider setting developmental goals and measuring success through surveys from both mentors and mentees.

Step 2: Choose Mentors:  Employers should carefully consider who they ask to mentor less experienced staff.  “Just because someone has been with your company for a long time doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be a good mentor,” says the Spark Team.  Choose mentors who are lifelong learners themselves.  The personality and communication skills of a potential mentor is also crucial.  Mentors should be good listeners, patient, and willing to teach.  Another important trait that is often overlooked is to choose a mentor with a positive attitude towards his or her own job and the company.  This will set the tone for a newer employee.

Step 3: Offer Mentor Incentives/ Training: Set mentors up for success by taking something off their current workload so they are more available to a mentee.  Companies might also consider offering a financial incentive.  Communicate what is expected of a mentor ahead of time down to the specifics (how often to meet and how to measure progress/ success).  Some mentors may also need reassurance to know that their own jobs are secure, so they do not hesitate to teach a skill in which they are expert.

 Step 4: Match to the Right Mentor: A good personal relationship matters.  “The most effective mentoring programs give participants some input or choice—for example, suggesting three possible mentors and then letting the employee choose,” says Tammy Allen, author of Designing Workplace Mentor Programs.  Some businesses are implementing the concept of mentoring teams.  Here, there is a primary mentor, but other people support with their own subject-matter expertise.

A mentee should not be a “lackey” to a mentor.  Mentees should also always be given credit for their own work.

It is good for companies to be mindful and acknowledge the many issues that polarize team members.  Leaders should think beyond physical diversity and consider how diversity of thought/ political opinion factors into the workplace.  Create a culture of respectful communication.

Artemis Consultants recruits highly sought-after talent to work for employers across the country.  We know that a successful hire does not end with a signed contract.  Retention is a huge part of the match.  Mentoring can be a huge benefit in both attracting and retaining talent.

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