I'd argue that that any good company has some form of mentorship. Whether it be formal or informal, employees are looking for leaders and role models to lean on for advice and guidance.
How do I know this?
Consider the CNBC/SurveyMonkey Workplace Happiness Survey from 2019. They found that:
- Workers with a mentor are more likely than those without to say they’re well paid and to believe that their contributions are valued by their colleagues.
- More than 4 in 10 workers who don’t have a mentor say they’ve considered quitting their job in the past three months.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that mentorship makes such a difference for employees and their long term success. Ask any leader what kind of employees they want building their companies and they'll list off 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 and expand their networks and open up new doors for their career. Essentially, they mentors on their journey towards a fulfilling and successful career.
If you're considering a 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.
Examples of mentoring programs
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to workplace mentoring programs. Rather, mentoring needs to have a purpose. There needs to be a plan and strategy to guide the program and participants to success. Here are just some of the best corporate mentoring programs:
Randstad’s mentorship program
Randstad takes mentorship extremely seriously and even has Randstad certified mentors that must go through training to participate in the global mentoring program. However, Randstad ran their program manually for many years and it became an administrative burden when they began expanding the program. They wanted to include more employees in various mentoring programs while also keeping the burden light for the managers running the program.
To do this, Randstad adopted Together’s mentoring platform to provide a frictionless user experience to their busy professionals. Our platform made it easy for Randstad’s program administrators to monitor the pairings of mentors and mentees while they could easily connect with one another through our calendar and email integrations.
We worked with Randstad to monitor the employee turnover rate of employees who participated in the program versus those who did not. What we found was that employees participating in the mentoring program were 49% less likely to leave Randstad during the period that studied.
Avision Young’s Women In Leadership mentoring program
Avison Young is a multinational commercial real estate firm based out of Canada. Their CEO, Mark Rose put diversity, equity and inclusion at the forefront of their business goals when he took over the position in 2008. That being said, he admits that their board of directors gets a “whopping F” because it’s predominately white men. But they’re making strides toward a more gender-diverse leadership with their mentoring program.
Avison Young’s Mentoring Program is available to all members of their Women’s Network and aims at connecting these future leaders with executives and senior leaders across North America.
When we surveyed participants of their program 96% of mentees felt that the mentorship fit was a great pairing and 98% were paired with a mentor part of one of the participating networks.
New York Life’s ERG to prime diverse talent for succession
Members of New York Life’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are connected with leaders across North America, with the goal of bringing more opportunity to those affiliated ERG groups in the company.
We analyzed the results of the program and found that 53% of all pairings were matched with someone with the diversity background of their choosing.
This helped strengthen the ties between employees with the same background and open up conversations relevant to their employee experience. More junior employees were able to connect and receive guidance from leaders who looked like them. The motivation and encouragement that can come from that experience are hard to measure but incredibly impactful.
When speaking with one mentor in their program they shared:
“Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this program. This was a rewarding experience and I was happy to hear that my mentee found several ways to apply ‘takeaways’ in her day-to-day. I enjoyed learning about the progress she was making session-by-session, but even more rewarding was seeing her mindset shift from session 1 to session 6.”
New York Life’s ERG mentoring program also opened up lines of communication between junior employees from diverse backgrounds and leadership. For leaders from predominantly white and male backgrounds, this was a great opportunity to gain fresh perspectives.
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Boeing's corporate mentorship program
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 so they can develop the skills they will need to take on the challenges of leadership. 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's workplace development program and ERG's
Also based in Illinois, Caterpillar was recently named one of America’s Best Employers by Forbes. 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.
McGraw-Hill mentorship program
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 mentorship program
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 benefits of a workplace mentoring program
We know that employers will need workplace mentoring to attract top talent, but what other reasons would they want to introduce mentoring into their organization? Wouldn't it just be easier to let it happen naturally?
At Together, we work with dozens of large companies looking to introduce mentoring into their cultures. They want to actively support mentoring in their teams to make sure everyone has access to its benefits.
Here are several key reasons we see organizations coming to us to formalize their mentoring programs:
- Reduce high turnover rates
- Support diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives
- Improve employee engagement
- Uncover future leaders and make succession planning easier
- Build a positive workplace atmosphere and team culture
- Train their employees and onboard them more effectively.
There are many other goals that organizations have for formalizing mentoring into their organizations. If you want to learn more about why organizations start corporate mentorship initiatives check out this article on different goals and objectives companies have when they start a mentorship program.
Tips on creating a successful mentoring program
If you want to know how to start a mentorship program, there are some steps that organizers can take to ensure its success. These include:
- Be clear with expectations
- The mentee goals should be concrete
- Develop a regular meeting schedule
- Respect each others’ time
- Set a timeline for length of mentorship
- Have policies in place for behavior or conduct of participants
- Initiate participants with some basic training
- Solicit feedback
- Create and review regular program reports
There is no guarantee that your workplace mentoring program will be successful right out of the gate. If you're running a remote mentoring program it can be even more challenging. However, with the right structure and tools, mentorships can make a big difference in any organization. Mentoring software is one of the best tools to simplify and streamline creating and managing a workplace mentoring program.
Many top US companies have successful workplace mentorships that help employees reach their professional goals. These mentoring programs can inspire other corporations who are considering starting a mentorship program.
If you are looking at developing a mentoring program at your organization, contact us for a free demo of Together mentoring software.