Group Mentorship

Why Group Mentoring is key to building future leaders

When deciding between looking internally or externally to fill leadership positions People Leaders should be aware of hidden talent already on the payroll. Identifying high-potential employees isn't the challenge so much as preparing them to take on leadership roles. Group Mentorship programs are an effective way to pave a career path for them to become future leaders. This article argues why Group Mentoring is key to developing future leaders.

Ryan Carruthers

October 20, 2021

Research has found that companies who hire externally end up further behind than those who look to internal candidates for leadership positions. However, organizations still treat external candidates as more valuable. 

A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that external hires are paid 18 to 20 percent more than internal hires. Yet, the same study found these external hires performed worse than internal ones. Moreover, they are more likely to leave within the first two years


The importance of looking for leaders internally rather than externally

Finding the right person for the job can be a challenge. But there are several advantages for organizations that look for leaders internally rather than externally, such as:

Loyalty - employees will be more motivated to do well in their roles if they are aware of internal advancement opportunities. They will be more likely to stay with the company, offer their best performance, and push themselves harder towards advancement. A central part of this is employee branding. If you aren't listening to your teams you can't inspire loyalty.

Less expensive - hiring external candidates can be costly. From advertising to training, preparing an external candidate to do the job could take thousands of dollars. Hiring internally slashes those costs, particularly for the onboarding process. Current employees should not need as much training to take on a new role. 

Increased retention - people like to feel valued. Employees who know their work matters and can earn rewards and recognition are more likely to stay at the company longer. One study found that companies who hire externally for management positions see double the turnover rate of companies that promote internally. 

Improve engagement - companies that offer opportunities for career training and advancement can cultivate more engagement from employees. These internal leaders will be more motivated to seek rewards and take on bigger challenges to prove themselves. 

Attracts talent that wants to move up - McKinsey calls it fishing for internal talent, but it involves offering rewards and acknowledgement for the unsung heroes at your organization. By offering chances for employees to be rewarded and praised for their efforts and hard work, you’ll be able to uncover hidden leaders in your own ranks.

It’s clear that looking for talent internally is an underrated but valuable succession planning strategy. But how do we prepare our future internal leaders for these roles? One of the most effective ways to develop leaders in your organization is to get them in groups. By creating groups for your high potential (HiPo) employees you can organize Group Mentoring programs.


What is group mentorship?

Group mentoring differs from traditional one-on-one mentorships in significant ways. Depending on the needs of your mentoring program, you can create mentoring groups with different structures. For instance, there can be more than one mentor in the group. And there will be several mentees. 

The three common Group Mentoring types are:

  • One mentor with multiple mentees
  • Multiple mentors and mentees
  • Peer mentoring

Whatever the design of your group structure, the purpose of Group Mentoring is to connect employees in similar career stages with senior leaders to be their mentors. In this case–high potential employees who are being prepared for leadership roles–it’s incredibly worthwhile to introduce them all and give them valuable face-to-face time with senior leaders. 

Why not 1-on-1 mentorship?

Traditional, one-on-one mentorship does work, and we don’t want to imply that you shouldn’t pair up high-potential employees with skilled mentors. What we are saying, however, is that Group Mentoring holds unique opportunities to develop your high potential employees. Let’s look at some of the unique benefits Group Mentoring offers:

Why Group Mentoring is key to developing future leaders

Mentorship can be a life-changing experience. When successful, mentors can help your employees learn, grow, and unlock their potential. Consequently, Group Mentoring offers an experience for HiPo employees that can enhance their leadership skills and make them ready to take on the next challenge in your organization. Some of the advantages that Group Mentoring holds for your HiPo leaders include:

HiPo employees motivate one another

A group atmosphere can be great for HiPo skill development. These employees can inspire one another, spurring each on to higher levels of achievement. This Group Mentoring experience can result in a culture of high performance and growth among participants. They will see the group mentoring as a program designed to grow their skills and advance their careers. 

HiPo employees share similar goals

An essential part of the mentoring experience is goal setting and working out plans to achieve them. In a Group Mentoring setting, HiPo employees can share with other leaders what they want to achieve. They’ll also hear the goals of their peers. This creates an atmosphere of accountability and commitment. They’ve said what they want, now they need to follow through. This motivates them in a way that 1-on-1 mentorship might not.  

Encourages knowledge sharing

In a Group Mentoring experience, it is not just the mentor who can help HiPo employees develop new skills and capabilities. Peers are also a crucial part of the learning process. HiPo leaders should be encouraged to share their expertise with others in the group through knowledge-sharing activities. Group mentors can also invite mentees to offer advice and feedback to each other–what is called peer mentoring

Expand high potential employees’ networks

Group mentoring fosters connection among participants. As mentees share their goals and engage in knowledge-sharing activities, they’ll cultivate links with one another. These professional connections can expand their networks and further motivate them to reach their full potential. 

Groups fast track leadership skill development

Employees need to develop soft skills to be good leaders. A Group Mentoring setting is a low-risk environment that allows HiPo employees to practice their leadership skills, such as effective communication and active listening.

Mentoring groups hold employees accountable to a higher standard

In a mentoring group, HiPo employees are accountable not only to their mentor but to the entire group. This can serve as a strong motivator for HiPo leaders. Knowing they will need to report their success to the whole group can inspire them to do their best. 

Starting a Group Mentoring program

Developing your internal leaders holds many advantages for organizations. Most significantly, it can save time and money during the hiring process while helping you make the most of the talent within your company. 

Group mentoring programs for your high potential employees are one of the most effective ways to fast track their development. The experience will prepare them to take on leadership roles in the organization successfully. 

At Together, we’ve created an easy and straightforward way to start and manage your Group Mentoring program. Our mentoring software lets you build a mentoring program that runs itself. We help leading companies run high potential mentoring programs by providing them with:

  • An easy-to-use platform that doesn’t require employees to adopt any apps or tools. It seamlessly integrates with existing calendar and email platforms.
  • Comprehensive meeting agendas to encourage knowledge transfer.
  • A fully customizable program that adjusts to your company’s unique needs.
  • Robust reporting dashboards that collects feedback on sessions. 

When it comes to working with larger numbers of participants, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of mentoring software–forget using spreadsheets to run your program. From streamlining your registration process to enhanced reporting features, book a demo to see how Together’s mentoring software will help you build leaders out of your HiPo employees.

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Want incredible results from your mentorship program? Then download our comprehensive list of best practices.

We draw these best practices from the first-hand experience of program managers like you and our own expertise. This white paper is a comprehensive guide that will be your roadmap to building a world-class mentoring program.