I’d venture to say that if you’ve landed on this article, you’re looking for some inspiration.
- You want to see examples of successful mentorship programs and the companies that launched them.
- You want tips and ideas for your own program.
- Finally, you probably want to know what kind of ROI or outcomes these programs led to.
You may even be looking for examples to pitch your leadership on the business case for mentorship.
You’ll find all that and more in this article.
Successful mentoring programs to inspire your own
At Together, we build software to help every employee find and learn from peers, mentors, or experts at their company. We’ve been doing it since 2018, and we’ve powered employee connections at companies with hundreds and thousands of employees.
They can’t manually pair employees because it would take too long. Instead, they use our pairing algorithm to pair mentors and mentees quickly, so every employee has someone to learn from. This is essential in a remote/hybrid future.
With that said, let’s look at some examples. We’ll share 7 examples of companies who have run mentoring programs using our software. We’ll also list some notable programs we’ve seen from leading companies.
If you're considering a workplace mentorship program for your workplace, here are a few successful examples from California to New York to Boston that you can use to inspire your program.
1. Randstad’s leadership development mentoring program
- Company: Randstad
- Industry: Recruitment
- Size of the program: 300+
- Type of programs: 1-on-1, Peer-to-peer, Reverse
Description of Randstad’s program
As a multinational human resource consulting firm, Randstad takes mentoring very seriously. They began their workplace mentoring program using manual methods, matching mentors and mentees and requiring HR managers to spend hours comparing employee profiles. This was unsustainable as they looked to scale their program.
They opted to work with Together’s platform to offer mentoring opportunities to more people without adding to the workload of program administrators. Throughout the partnership, we’ve seen them run several different mentoring programs in various areas of their organization with different objectives.
One of their mentoring programs in the workplace is the #ReloadYourStrengths, which aims to develop employees’ leadership skills by pairing them with more senior employees. They use the four pillars of the Randstad leadership framework;
- Delighting people by building strong relationships.
- Performing today by securing and developing our resources.
- Leading change through the ambiguity of our world.
- Securing the future by driving vision and purpose to motivate others into action
Another workplace mentoring program that Randstad has is called the Insider Program. It is similar to the #ReloadYourStreangths mentorship as it makes mentoring part of the onboarding process for new hires. The pairing is done before the new employee begins their first day. The goal is to bring new employees up to speed quickly.
How mentors and mentees feel about mentorship at Randstad
- "Feedback with [my mentee] is very positive. We've spoken about her long-term goals and how her current role at Randstad feeds into them. She's very receptive and great at being vulnerable in our sessions."
- "Another great conversation with [my mentee] today. She is reaping the rewards of some of her hard work in placements from the last 60-90 days, which I think is very encouraging to her. She is going through some personal issues but is strongly focusing on work, and I encouraged her to continue to lean into that during this time."
- "Great discussion on continuing to expand my network, internally and externally."
- " [My mentor] has truly challenged me as a professional. She has provided an in-depth analysis of my situation and offered alternative ways of thinking and approaching each one carefully. She gives of her time freely and openly, including time outside of our formal mentoring sessions. I could not have received a better mentor!"
Notable outcomes of Ranstad’s program
Randstad has discovered that to build successful mentoring programs in the workplace, it needs to be part of business processes. For example, the organization emphasized mentoring and made it integral to their onboarding and leadership development efforts. The goal was to have nearly every Randstad employee go through mentorship at some point in their career with the company.
The results of their efforts were impressive. Those who went through one of their mentoring programs were 49% less likely to leave the company. Therefore, Randstad was able to build a skilled workforce, reduce turnover, and save money.
More so, within the last two years, Randstad has continued to launch several new mentorship programs, including a veterans program, a reverse mentoring program, and a language learning program.
2. Avison Young’s mentorship program for women
- Company: Avison Young
- Industry: Commercial real estate
- Size of program: 500+
- Type of program: 1-on-1, groups
Mentoring within the real estate industry
Avison Young is a commercial real estate firm based in Canada. The focus of their workplace mentoring program was to improve diversity and inclusivity, particularly in leadership positions. Their mentoring efforts focused on bringing more women into senior roles.
Avison Young started mentoring programs in their workplace to connect seasoned employees and organizational leaders with members of various employee resource groups or ERGs. Many of these ERGs were built to support women in their organizations. This mentorship aimed to offer wisdom and guidance to women in the company so they would be equipped for leadership positions.
While participation for mentees was limited to members of specific ERGs, such as the Black Professionals Resource Group and LBGTQ+, Avison Young gathered mentors from different areas. Their workplace mentoring program demonstrates that providing mentoring opportunities for members of ERGs is an excellent way to create a more equitable workplace.
Feedback from mentors and mentees
- "My mentor is awesome. She is giving me little nuggets that are priceless and relevant to my current responsibilities."
- "I am thoroughly enjoying my time with my mentee. We share similar challenges and concerns and work through our experiences and thoughts."
Plans for future mentoring programs
Avison Young has plans for more mentoring programs in the future. Currently, they’re testing out mentoring groups to increase collaboration and knowledge sharing even further than their previous mentoring program. The new program will focus on helping women in leadership positions and giving them the tools they need to succeed.
This is an exciting development for Avison Young, as they continue to be a leader in diversity and inclusion initiatives. The new mentorship program will help more women reach their potential and create a more diverse and equitable workplace for everyone.
3. New York Life’s Empower Mentorship Program
- Company: New York Life
- Industry: Insurance
- Size of program: 500+
- Type of program: 1-on-1
Description of New York Life’s program
New York Life sought to connect members of the organization’s ERGs and senior leadership.
The Empower Program was developed to accomplish this. It is a workplace mentoring program that ran for 9 months. It offered opportunities for members of specific employee resource groups to be paired and mentored by another ERG member. To date, they've run over 5 Empower Mentoring Programs.
New York Life opted to use Together’s mentoring platform and take advantage of the pairing features and the mentorship resources we offer.
The goals of the mentorships included:
- Allow mentors to apply their expertise in guiding and supporting mentees to reach their goals.
- Encourage mentors to share with mentees their professional stories, including the steps taken and progress made as they build a career.
- Cultivate a connection with employees from different parts of the organization
- Allow employees to learn from each other.
- Enable mentors to hone their coaching skills and create a meaningful learning experience for other employees.
Feedback from mentors and mentees
- "Another great touch-base with my mentor. I found our time spent informally catching up and then diving into a situational discussion on conflict resolution really helpful in better understanding how to use leadership skills to drive more effective influence. "
- "The sessions with my mentee went extremely well. She had particular work issues to deal with and through brainstorming and action planning in our sessions, she was able to work through the issues."
Outcomes of NYL’s empowerment programs
The results of their efforts demonstrate how any organization can start and succeed at building a diversity and inclusion mentorship program. Fifty-three percent of all the pairings in their workplace mentoring program included matches where both participants shared a diverse background. Doing this allowed for a stronger bond between mentors and mentees as they could share common experiences in the workplace.
The program also gave leaders a fresh perspective and ERG members opportunities as it opened up conversations with more junior employees with diverse backgrounds. NYL has also set out to experiment with creating mentoring programs for specific groups of employees like managers, connecting different managers from different offices for knowledge sharing.
4. Cooley’s mentorship program sets up new associates for success
- Company: Cooley Law
- Industry: Law
- Size of program: 500+
- Type of program: 1-on-1, groups
Description of Cooley’s onboarding program
Cooley is a global law firm with over 1,500 lawyers. The intricacies of their legal work demand that new attorneys be ready for action quickly. Their Cooley Academy Mentoring Program (CAMP) was designed to onboard new employees and quickly get them up to speed by connecting them with more experienced individuals.
This provided them with a good support system that helped them become competent in their new roles faster. As part of the experience, they started a “Cooley mentoring competition” as a fun way to strengthen existing mentoring relationships and build new connections among colleagues.
Cooley’s mentoring program in the workplace demonstrates that you can get creative with your mentoring programs. By making it fun and adding a little competition, you can increase employees’ engagement and enjoyment of their experience.
Feedback from participants
- “We are both new. It's a good fit in the sense that we are both feeling out our space within the firm although from very different perspectives!”
- It was great to meet my mentee and be her mentor for the summer program. She is eager to learn to try new things. She is passionate about connecting with new people and trying out different assignments.
Future of mentorship at Cooley
Cooley is launching a number of programs for interns and new hires, as well as experimenting with group programs. Mentoring is becoming a core part of their training, with a program for each office. This is part of their larger effort to build a mentoring culture within the company.
5. King Games supports diversity in the workplace
- Company: King Games (a division of Activision)
- Industry: Video games
- Size of program: 200+
- Type of program: 1-on-1, groups
Description of King’s program
King Games is a well-known name in the mobile video game industry, with one of their biggest games, Candy Crush being the sixth highest-grossing mobile game of all time. But staying competitive in the mobile gaming world can be challenging.
To build a team that allows for robust creativity and is reflective of their mobile video game audience, King decided to boost their internal inclusivity.
After members of their employee resource group, Women@King shared that they felt a lack of confidence and access to opportunity at King, they created a mentoring program for female and non-binary employees. The program was dubbed Kicking Glass.
With the help of Together’s mentoring software, King was able to match over 250 employees with a mentor to help bring down the walls. The mentoring program was a success with participants, most of whom rated it a 3.9 out of 4.
The reality is that minorities in the workplace can face more challenges than others. It requires effort on behalf of an employer to overcome these obstacles. And mentorship is a meaningful way to cultivate belonging among employees.
Mentorship can help promote diversity in the workplace. Mentoring programs in the workplace give employees meaningful face-to-face time with leaders who can help them advance their careers.
Feedback from participants
- My mentor taught me a lot about confidence, how to plan for the future and organize my thoughts. Very happy to have been paired with her!
- I really enjoy mentoring my mentee. She is a very smart and eloquent person who has fantastic skills and is a real asset to King.
Future of mentorship at King
The Kicking Glass program at King is continuing to grow and expand to include new employees. In addition, high-potential leadership programs are also being developed to help employees further their careers.
It shows that the company is committed to supporting its employees and helping them reach their full potential. These initiatives will help ensure that King remains a top employer for years to come.
6. Cruise quickly training their engineers to build the future of transportation
- Company: Cruise Automation
- Industry: Self-driving cars
- Size of program: 300+
- Type of program: 1-on-1
Description of Cruise’s mentoring program
Cruise Automation is developing self-driving vehicles and has a team of engineers that need to stay on the cutting edge of technology.
A key part of making this work in their organization is mentorship. Using Together, Cruise Automation is scaling its workplace mentoring program to include over 1,000 engineers. They first ran a pilot mentoring program and aimed to work with 200 engineers but exceeded expectations and recruited nearly 300 for the workplace mentoring program.
Managing hundreds of mentoring pairs is a challenge in and of itself. However, determining the matches' quality is another reason Cruise Automation relies on Together’s mentoring software.
Mentoring programs in the workplace are essential for the team at Cruise to stay up-to-date on automated driving technology. It is also key to helping new hires understand the intricacies involved in the creation process. In many workplaces, starting a mentorship program to support upskilling among employees is critical for success.
Feedback from participants
- It was fun to learn how my mentor got to where he is. I am particularly interested in "career switching," so anyone with this experience would have been a better fit, but I am still enjoying getting to know Joseph and see where this could go.
- My mentor is a very experienced senior manager who understands the pain point of an IC and gives really constructive advice.
- I'm letting my mentee drive the topics with what is top of mind for him. He is engaged and taking action based on what we discussed, so I think our mentoring relationship is working well.
Future of mentorship at Cruise
As Cruise continues to grow, they are committed to expanding and improving their engineering mentorship program. This program is designed to help engineers grow their skills and knowledge so that they can be better prepared for the future.
7. Building a supportive community of female entrepreneurs through mentorship
- Company: The Forum
- Industry: Entrepreneurship incubator
- Size of program: 900+
- Type of program: 1-on-1
Description of the Forum’s community mentorship program
It’s not just employers who can help professionals grow. The Forum is a Canadian-based non-profit group that aims to help female entrepreneurs connect with resources and the community to thrive in business. One of the ways they do this is by connecting members with mentorship opportunities.
Over the past 20 years, the Forum has connected over 2,000 women with career-changing mentoring experiences. The organization wanted to scale to offer a tailored mentorship for even more female entrepreneurs. However, it was too difficult to create meaningful mentor matches without automating it.
When they discovered Together’s mentoring platform, they were able to grow their mentoring program to four times its original size. Our software sped up their matching process and offered them a simple way to monitor the pairings. They were now able to provide meaningful mentorships to more entrepreneurs.
The Forum is a prime example of how to scale a mentoring program by using technology to do the heavy lifting.
The Forum plans to continue to expand its mentoring programs for women through Together’s mentoring platform. The organization’s efforts demonstrate how building a community that provides professional growth and development opportunities is possible if you have the right tools.
Feedback from entrepreneurs
- I really enjoyed getting to know my mentor. She has a ton of great experience and skills to offer. We plan to meet again.
- My mentor is amazing and actively invested in my journey. She gives insightful feedback, encouragement and insights and is my best mentor to date. I feel more confident in achieving my milestones ahead with her in my corner, and I am grateful to have been paired with her.
- Great session. We discussed how to implement a social media strategy and the mental blocks behind sharing more with the world.
Future of mentorship at The Forum
The Forum has partnered with Scotiabank to deliver a series of mentorship events aimed at helping early-stage and women entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level.
With the help of Scotiabank, The Forum will help more women entrepreneurs access mentorship, resources, and community needs and gain first-hand insight into the experiences of experienced business owners.
Other examples of corporate mentoring programs
We've looked at 10 examples of successful mentoring programs that are powered by Together. But there are other notable companies with internal employee programs worth noting.
This Chicago-based organization-wide mentoring program offers employees the chance to improve their leadership skills and further build their careers in the industry. Boeing has clearly defined practices for participants in its mentoring program. They offer orientation sessions to get started, which helps those involved know the skills they need to succeed.
Within Boeing, there are different types of mentorships available. Their Rotational Program helps new employees define a plan for their career in business, engineering, HR or IT sections. They also have a 1-to-1 Learning Program that is focused on peer mentoring opportunities. Boeing offers special mentorship training for potential leaders.
In the Boeing Leadership Center, these budding employees are partnered with senior leaders in the company to develop the skills they will need to take on the leadership challenges. In addition to these programs, Boeing also offers interns and co-op students the opportunity to learn by being part of operations at the company.
Caterpillar workplace development program and ERG's
Also based in Illinois, Forbes recently named Caterpillar one of America's Best Employers. Unlike other companies, Caterpillar's mentoring program is one of the more in-depth. The mentorship program at Caterpillar is a longer one than at many other companies.
Younger employees are paired up with more senior members of the company for two or three years. During this time the focus in on specific skills the mentees need to succeed in their field. However, because of the length of the mentorship, most mentees also develop leadership skills.
The company also has Employee Resource Groups, which provide peer support and mentorship opportunities. The groups were developed to help promote diversity and inclusivity in the organization. For engineers who are not currently working in the industry, Caterpillar gives them a foot in the door through their Returning Professional Developments Program. This is a four-month mentorship that guides the employee back into the workforce.
The education publication giant, based in New York City, has offices in 38 countries, which provides interesting opportunities for mentorships. The company undertook a comprehensive planning and strategy approach to its mentoring program development.
A case study on the process shows that most employees are well-served by the program. Ninety-seven percent of participants said they would recommend the program. A further 73 percent noted they had gained more confidence as a result of the mentorship. Moreover, 80 percent had achieved their mentoring objectives defined at the beginning of the program.
Bain and Company
The Boston-based management consultant company ensures that each of its consultants has a mentor. In their workplace mentoring program, the focus is on professional development. However, they also try and ensure a diverse workforce. According to one article, the company has been able to double the number of women on their leadership team.
Also based in Boston, GE has been promoting reverse mentoring for about 20 years. This type of mentoring program has the younger employees guiding the more senior employees in skill development. One of the main benefits of this style of mentorship is that senior workers with the company can keep their technology skills sharp. It also helps attract and keep younger employees. However, the company also engages in more traditional forms of mentoring through its GE global leadership institute. At this location, senior members of the company spend time coaching and mentoring participants from around the world.
The California-based tech company has a variety of mentoring programs to help employees. These include formal programs related to specializations, group opportunities and other more informal mentorships that develop within the organization. Most of these mentorships focus on professional development. Mentees are given some guidance on developing their skills, goals and career path.
The Two-Way Mentorship
After the first mentoring program flopped, Test Prep stumbled on: 2-way mentorship in which a more senior and experienced employee mentors a junior employee.
However, the mentoring framework worked more like a buddy system—where the two parties benefit from the relationship. The senior employee mentors the junior on professional development and goal setting and offers career-related advice and guidance—the junior, in return, mentors the senior on the latest tech trends, etc.
Fragrance uses its high-potential mentoring program to build employees with some potential for leadership positions in advance. A mentee is paired with a senior leader with a project-based task to accomplish.
The program was so effective that one mentee garnered so much that she got promoted to the company's new social media manager—and she's also the brain behind the company's marketing strategy.
They designed a mentoring program to help new hires connect with workplace veterans. Mentees are paired with mentors outside their department but with the same job classification. The mentors share their knowledge, experiences, and resources with their mentees, which helps them grow in their field. The program provides mentors with a checklist that helps them facilitate the mentorship.
Mentees claimed the program has helped build solid relationships with employees in other departments.
A local Premier League football club ran the program Building confidence in the Youth in partnership with the local government to help young people who had been unemployed for over 18 months.
They learned how to write CVs and how to prepare for job interviews. Those without skills were also taught how to start their own digital business.
Over 35% of all candidates found jobs within the next six months. One candidate even started a digital agency.
How will you build your mentorship program?
We've listed several examples of successful mentorship programs to inspire your own. What will you keep note of when you build your own program? There are many different ways to design your mentoring programs in the workplace, including:
- Traditional 1-on-1: A more experienced mentor is paired with a junior employee in this mentorship. The focus is often on helping the mentee set and reach professional goals.
- Remote mentorship: Ideal to keep employees who work from home connected. Remote mentorship can effectively design a workplace mentoring program to connect mentors and mentees from a distance.
- Group mentoring: Sometimes, initiating a mentoring group session is the most effective way to help employees learn a new skill or create connections. It can also be used in the onboarding process.
- Peer learning: Your employees have a lot to learn from each other and teach their peers. Staff working in the same department or at the same level will better understand their challenges. This mentorship style can build bonds among your employees and be used as a skill learning or onboarding experience.
- Reverse mentoring: There are times when new and younger employees have something they could teach senior leaders or executives. That is where reverse mentoring comes into play. Using the remote mentoring style, most workplace mentorships focus on skill development, particularly technology. Your younger employees are usually more knowledgeable about new technologies, so they can help more senior employees understand them. Reverse mentorship is also used as a toolkit for diversity. It gives underrepresented employees face time with leaders to give them a new perspective.
- Employee resource groups: Creating an inclusive and diverse workplace requires some effort from employers. Encouraging employees from diverse backgrounds to create ERGs can lead to informal or even formal mentoring opportunities.
- Flash mentoring: Not all mentees need months of mentorship to gain the knowledge they want. Flash mentoring is a good way to pass along information or wisdom fast. It's best used with participants who don't have a lot of time to commit or mentees who have very specific questions that can be answered quickly.
It shouldn't be surprising that mentorship makes such a difference for employees and their long-term success. Ask any leader what kind of employees they want to build their companies, and they'll list qualities like ambition, creativity, collaboration, empathy, and the capacity to innovate.
But high potential employees that possess these qualities also want things from their positions. They want opportunities to grow and develop; they want people to invest in them, expand their networks and open new doors for their careers. Essentially, they want mentors for each stage of their employee life cycle and journey toward a fulfilling and successful career.
As you build your mentoring program, keep our best practices in mind. We've seen many companies build and scale successful mentoring initiatives. You can click any of the links here to keep learning. But if you want to take some materials with you, we've packaged up tons of key insights and tips in our best practices white paper.