Why Should I Explore a Mentoring Program?
mentoring program
July 2, 2019

With so much emphasis in today’s business environment on recruiting top talent, this “war on talent” environment has certainly created a need for companies to differentiate what they can offer this talent- a strong mentoring program can help.

We know, from having a clearer understanding of the values and motivators of our Millennials, that one of their key drivers is the opportunity for continuous development. Without this “hook”, many Millennials will begin exploring opportunities with other companies within the first few months of employment.

How will a focus on both short and long term development through mentoring benefit my company?

In a recent Association for Talent Development (ATD) study, benefits to organizations with a formal mentoring program included increased engagement and retention, support for growth of high-potentials and the creation of intra-organizational relationships, collaboration and knowledge transfer. Insert link to study.

What’s the difference between a formal and informal mentoring program?

An informal program is:

  • Organic, supported by an organizational approach that encourages employees to seek out mentors on their own and establish relationships in support of their career aspirations
  • Dependent on the mentor and mentee to establish their own goals, structure and duration of the relationship

A formal program is:

  • Often a part of a talent review or succession planning process in which specific employees are identified as those for whom a mentor would be beneficial in supporting their career goals
  • One in which leaders are solicited who are interested in serving as mentors
  • One in which targeted mentees choose a mentor from this group, based on their meeting with potential mentors to identify a “good match”
  • Typically more prescriptive and includes both the mentor and mentee signing a contract as to the expectations, goals, duration and frequency for the interactions

What are the roles of both the mentor and the mentee?

Mentors do:

  • Take a long-range view of the mentee’s growth and development
  • Help mentees see their destination but not give them the detailed map to get there
  • Offer encouragement, but not “how to” advice
  • Provide insight into corporate culture

Mentors do not:

  • Serve as a coach
  • Function as the mentee’s advocate within the organization
  • Tell the mentee how to do things
  • Support the mentee on transactional, short-term problems
  • Serve as a counselor or therapist

Mentees do:

  • Encourage and accept feedback from the mentor
  • Have clear career aspirations
  • Understand skills that they need to further develop
  • Keep their commitments to the mentor
  • Show that they value the mentor’s support

Mentees do not:

  • Abuse the relationship by expecting political support in the organization
  • Expect the mentor to fulfill the role of his/her manager

How can my organization move forward with mentoring?

For those organizations just beginning to explore the mentoring space or for those wanting to evaluate their existing mentoring program, you are encouraged to attend HRACC’s upcoming meeting on July 16 at 5:00 PM : Mentoring: 5 Steps to Launching a Program. For further information and to register, go to: HRACC’s Website.

Cheryl Chester

Cheryl Chester


With 25+ years HR experience, Cheryl's focus includes leadership development, OD, performance management, employee engagement, and succession planning.


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