Impact of Mentoring on Employee Engagement and Retention: Lessons from CEOs

Mentorship has an outsized impact on employee engagement and retention, proven by the experience of CEOs in different industries.

Matthew Reeves

CEO of Together

Published on 

March 7, 2024

Updated on 

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Bill Stoller, CEO of Express Employment International, compared mentorship with “a shortcut to success” in a recent survey commissioned by the company.

Indeed, the benefits of mentoring in the workplace are omnipotent in driving a successful business, from sharing knowledge to engaging and retaining the staff. The same survey reveals two in five companies offer mentorship programs to reduce job quits and keep workers engaged.

In this article, we’ll answer the two main “How?” questions:

  • Question #1. How can mentorship impact employee engagement and retention?
  • Question #2. How should you engage workers and retain the top talent through mentoring?

Start with the first and read on to gain insights from business leaders and CEOs on the second.

How Mentorship Transforms the Process of Engaging and Retaining Employees

Explore the benefits of mentoring for employee engagement and loyalty.

See how exactly mentorship can assist in making employees more engaged with their work, colleagues, and company overall so that they won’t ever want to leave the employer.

Improves onboarding and keeps new hires

“If you haven’t developed a mentorship program for onboarding, you’d better do it right now to engage and retain new hires adeptly and efficiently. Through mentoring, you can create an engaging onboarding process and instantly make every new employee feel part of the team from day one,” claims Max Wesman, Founder & COO of GoodHire.

The first days at the company are critical to new hire retention, and 56% of recruits prefer to connect with mentors during their starting week.

Promotes trust and strengthens the company culture

Mentorship lets you establish a trustful relationship with your team members. Eventually, they stay longer at your organization. In fact, 82% of employees feel stronger connections and better relationships across teams and departments when engaged in mentoring programs.

Besides, such initiatives positively reshape the culture of an organization. Mentorship impacts the company culture by improving:

  • Transparency
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Management
  • Learning and development (L&D)

Opens new perspectives for development and reduces turnover

Millennials are the most loyal cohort in the workforce.

But –

As many as 67% of Millennials say they’d leave their current positions if they didn’t see any development opportunities.

You can start a mentorship program to boost retention and keep the talent on board with L&D activities. Actually, that is what Randstad did.

The outcomes?

Employees were 49% less likely to leave the company after participating in the mentoring program.

Boosts employee happiness

The value of mentorship also lies in job satisfaction, which, in turn, drives employee retention. Satisfied employees are more likely to demonstrate higher loyalty to their employers and less likely to quit.

Now, take note of this. 91% of employees with mentors are satisfied with their jobs, including 57% who are very satisfied.

Employee Engagement: A Practical Guide 

CEO Tips on Engaging Employees with Mentoring

Grab employee engagement tactics from CEOs and managers who applied them in their mentorship programs.

Plan and coordinate individual mentorship during onboarding

You have already seen the “why” behind mentoring to better onboard and engage new employees.

Now, it’s time to learn the “how-to” and build a mentorship program for new hires.

Use the following advice from Hardy Desai, Founder of Supple. He mentions, “Before the onboarding starts, you might need to assign a mentoring program leader. The mentorship manager will be responsible for setting goals, planning, navigating the mentor-mentee cooperation, offering assistance whenever necessary, collecting feedback, and evaluating the performance.”

At Supple, new lead generation specialists get mentoring support and training on targeting cold and warm leads, managing appointments, telemarketing, etc. And all that is under the guidance of Amy Colla, the People & Culture Coordinator at Supple. She works alongside every candidate to ensure their careers get off to a good start and develop gradually and persistently at a suitable pace with Supple.

Isn’t it high time to facilitate onboarding with mentorship at your company?

Create an environment where your workers can reach their best potential starting from their first day in the workplace.

Define mentor/mentee profiles for pairing

“You can’t develop a relevant and engaging mentorship program without understanding the knowledge gaps and learning needs of employees who become mentees. As for mentors, you should identify their strengths and weaknesses to make effective mentor-mentee pairs,” recommends Shawn Plummer, CEO at The Annuity Expert.

For example, depending on their expected skills, insurance agents at The Annuity Expert may get paired with mentors with extensive experience and proficiency in annuities or insurance types.

Here’s a rough sketch of mentor and mentee profiles you can take as a basis to engage employees in your mentoring program.

Mentor profile

  • Department
  • Seniority level (junior, senior, VP, CEO)
  • Goals
  • Areas of expertise
  • Mentoring style
  • Time zone

Mentee profile

  • Department
  • Seniority level
  • Goals
  • Sought skills
  • Learning style (visual, audial, textual)
  • Preferred materials (ebooks, videos, infographics, presentations)
  • Time zone

Pro tip: Put an end to manual legwork and match mentees with mentors in minutes via Together’s pairing system. Importantly, you can customize the algorithm and create profile-matching questions that fit your requirements.

Turn mentorship into play

No more doomy and gloomy training sessions!

You can reinvent your mentorship program with one simple trick – gamify mentoring experiences.

“We’re all players at heart, regardless of age or career. That is why gamification is an impressive catalyst of motivation in mentoring. It challenges employees to compete and achieve a higher level,” explains Jesse Hanson, Content Manager at Online Solitaire & World of Card Games. “And healthy competition never hurts the workplace culture. On the contrary, it encourages skill improvement and inspires people to work harder for personal or team achievements.”

For example:

Cooley turned onboarding into a fun and engaging experience with mentoring duos completing weekly challenges and gaining points to get on the leaderboard.

Jesse Hanson provides a list of resources for sipping inspiration and finding gamified activities:

  • FocusGames
  • Hubro.Education
  • The Game Agency
  • James.Games
  • TrainerBubble

It’s worth mentioning that game-based tasks boost employee engagement by 48%, and 95% of employees enjoy gamified scenarios at work. At the same time, gamified simulations contribute to strategic employee development. Many brands like Walmart, L’Oréal, Coca-Cola, and others use them successfully to mentor and educate their employees.

For instance, Coca-Cola created a playful simulation game, Revenuepoly, where employees can become Coca-Cola’s decision-makers, discuss their decisions with team members, and receive individual or group prizes.

Offer personalized rewards

Have you ever thought of recognizing and incentivizing high-performing mentees?

This way, you can promote knowledge-sharing and engage employees in mentorship more effectively. Deloitte proves that organizations with recognition and rewards see a 14% higher employee engagement rate.

Jerry Han, CMO at PrizeRebel, insists on implementing a personalized rewards system to recognize mentees. He says, “Employee reward personalization gives your employees the freedom to choose their preferred incentives. It could work like this: you offer personalized gifts or gift cards. Suppose one of your mentees is a passionate gamer, so you recognize the mentee’s achievements with a PlayStation gift card. Or let’s say your employees are avid Amazon shoppers. Then, you could offer Amazon gift cards.”

As you can see, you can easily combine recognition with mentorship and personalize rewards to drive maximum impact on employee engagement and retention.

Select proper mentoring types

Groups vs. 1-on-1s? Which should be your go-to mentorship model?

The answer is: It depends.

Actually, Brooke Webber, Head of Marketing at Ninja Patches, puts it more aptly:

“Undeniably, the best way to mentor is to mentor the way that best suits your employees (excuse my tautology). However, sometimes, it helps to merge or, other times, to substitute the mentorship types with more appropriate ones. You literally juggle with them and optimize your learning pathways according to your objectives and your team’s preferences to engage employees and improve retention with mentorship.”

Consider some of these: 

You may pick a proper method in Together’s platform.

Involve C-suite managers

Are your senior leaders too time-crunched to join the mentoring program at your company?

If you don’t get busy executives to be mentors, it’s a wasted chance to engage and retain your top-performing employees and prospective leaders.

“Senior managers can pass their knowledge to less experienced workers, engaging in executive mentorship, which benefits companies in numerous ways. Thanks to it, executives get empowered to coach and guide future leaders. What’s more, they can contextualize employees’ careers against a broader backdrop,” highlights Volodymyr Shchegel, VP of Engineering at Clario.

The co-founders of Real Estate Skills train their advisors and investors in developing interpersonal and technical competencies in real estate.

Ryan Zomorodi provides a list of things to plan and agree on beforehand for executive mentoring:

  • Frequency: once or twice a month
  • Topic: leadership skill-building, manager’s functions, corporate values, work-life balance
  • Activity: lecture, webinar, presentation, workshop
  • Type: group or one-on-one
  • Mode: in-office or virtual

Pro tip: Diminish the barriers between senior managers and lower-level workers. Explore the Colleague Connect feature at Together for mentorship without the hierarchy – no “mentors” or “mentees” labels, just colleagues.

Develop diverse and inclusive mentoring initiatives

For Robert Kaskel, Chief People Officer at Checkr, employee engagement through mentorship takes its foundation on the four pillars:

  • Diversity
  • Equity
  • Inclusion
  • Belonging

Kaskel shares his views on DEIB and its implementation when mentoring Checkr’s employees:

“When we engage employees in mentorship, our top priority is to make everyone feel heard and valued. This can be achieved with diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging practices.”

For example:

The Bounce Back Mentorship program and the Fair Chance Hiring Apprenticeship are a part of Checkr’s DEIB plan.


The company opens a fairer employment opportunity for candidates who struggle to land a job due to their previous records. The initiatives aim at the personal and professional development of employees with the help of pairing justice-impacted candidates with Checkr mentors.

With Together’s mentoring software, you can likewise build a diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone grows and thrives.

Mentor Employees and Keep Your Top Talent with Together

Your next wise move would be to skyrocket engagement and elevate your mentorship program with Together’s platform.

Setting goals, pairing mentors with mentees, creating surveys and reports, or other mentorship hustle; you name it – they are after it.

Try the platform here for free and see it yourself.

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