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Real-World Mentoring Programs 

November 29, 2019

Workplace mentoring programs are on the rise and the results are the reason why. 

Studies have found that younger employees are looking for companies that offer them opportunities for growth. In fact,  79 percent of millennials believe mentorship is key to their happiness at work. Nearly half indicated they would leave their job to find an organization with a better culture, which includes mentorships. 

A Gallup poll found that nearly half of the workforce in North America may be looking for a new job while continuing to show up for work with their current employer. This can hurt organizations on two fronts. The first is that unengaged employees are not as productive as those who care about their jobs. The second cost is that turnover costs companies hundreds of thousands a year. There are many expenses that come with replacing a worker after they go including advertising and onboarding. Both unengaged employees and turnover can cut into the company’s bottom line. 

The good news is that researchers have found a correlation between mentoring programs and lower employee turnover rates. For mentees who participate the rate was 72 percent while for mentors who are involved it is 69 percent. Organizations that cultivate successful workplace mentoring programs are able to improve productivity, reduce turnover rates and help develop a talented workforce. 

Consider that over 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs in their workplaces. Many organizations have been realizing that workplace mentorships produce results.

Real-world mentoring programs

To see how some of the top US companies are using workplace mentoring programs to their advantage, here are just a few of the more well-known mentorship programs.

1 GE: Designed to help onboard new, younger employees, the General Electric Experienced Commercial Leadership Program immerses new hires in their specific business unit. These mentorships last up to eight months and focus on developing marketing, sales and leadership abilities in participants. 

2 Intel: This tech company has a unique twist on their workplace mentoring program. Rather than matching senior employees with younger ones, they assess the most valuable skills in the industry and let that be the deciding factor into mentorships. This company-growth focused approach means the company creates long-distance mentor-mentee matches for skill development. 

3 Google: The biggest tech company in the country has its own approach to workplace mentorship. Each year the company hosts a summer coding event where student coders are able to help out with developing open-source software projects. Youth from 109 different countries participate. Part of the event allows for students to be matched with different mentors to help develop their skills. 

4 Time Warner Cable: Mentorships at Time Warner have a variety of goals including to develop the skills of employees, improve workers’ knowledge of the industry and help mentees reach goals. The company’s main goal has been to improve the retention rates among employees. 

5 3M: The company has a more informal approach to mentorship, according to The Globe and Mail. In the piece, the head of marketing and sales states that too much structure can hinder the benefits of workplace mentoring. Rather, the company prefers a group mentoring approach to encourage employee development and confidence. 

Types of workplace mentorships

When it comes to successful workplace mentoring programs, there are many different styles of mentorships. These can include the tradition mentor-mentee match, peer mentoring or even reverse mentoring. 

Traditional mentorships: Many workplace mentoring programs follow the traditional route, which involves matching a new or younger employee with a more senior member of the company. These mentorships are the most common arrangement and allow for the mentee to develop professional goals. In this scenario, the mentor acts like an advisor and guide. They will direct the mentee on reaching their goals and can put the mentee in touch with a wider network of contacts. Mentors in these types of mentorships are also key sources of information for the younger employee. They can often help the mentee find training opportunities such as workshops or courses to enhance their skills. 

Peer mentoring: Mentorships that develop among peer groups can be just as valuable as more traditional mentorships. This style of mentoring can be done either one-on-one or in a group setting. Peers are able to learn from each other in a more informal setting, which can be an advantage for some individuals. One of the benefits of peer mentoring is that it creates a connection and camaraderie among employees of the same rank. This can lead to stronger teamwork on company projects. 

Reverse mentoring: While less common, reverse mentoring is the opposite of traditional mentoring. In these situations, it is the younger employee who is guiding the skill development of the senior employee. These mentorships are best suited for companies that have a large technology skill deficit. By hiring a few talented employees, more senior members of the organization can get up-to-speed on new tools and developments that can enhance their work. 

Distance mentorship: Many large organizations have the advantage of matching mentors and mentees from various parts of the globe. These mentorships are often dependent upon technology like email and video conferencing. With distance mentorships, matches can be made in a variety of ways including the traditional senior-junior employee relationship or peer matching. 

Group mentoring:  This style of mentorship is particularly useful if you don’t have a large number of mentors to share their expertise. With group mentoring, one mentor can help guide several mentees with skill development and professional goals. 


Research shows that employees who are involved in mentoring are more engaged, productive and less likely to leave their jobs. The growing number of organizations that offer workplace mentoring programs has been growing. Many real-world mentoring programs demonstrate how companies from different industries are able to harness the positive potential of mentoring. 

If you need help starting or managing your workplace mentoring program, mentoring software like Together can help. Call us today for a free demo. 

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We interviewed and surveyed employees from 50+ leading North American Companies including McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, IBM, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Capital One, Norton Rose Fulbright, Mackenzie Investments. Get the results below.

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