15 critical roles mentors play in the workplace [2022 report on mentorship]

Every employee should have a mentor at work. Why? Here are 15 critical roles mentors play in an employee's development and the company's success.

Ryan Carruthers

Published on 

May 16, 2022

Updated on 

Time to Read

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In our recent report on mentorship, 37 percent of HR professionals said employees are not being supported to reach their full potential. 

That leaves a lot of employees who are not performing as well as they could. Did you know that a workplace mentoring program could turn that all around?

Are mentors all that important in the workplace today?

It’s easy to think that your employees should take the initiative for their growth and development. After all, being a self-learner allows them to be in control. It also demonstrates initiative, which is an excellent skill to have. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking can lead to high turnover rates.

Suppose you’re thinking that providing employees with training programs, online courses, and opportunities to attend conferences and summits is enough for their development. In that case, you could be setting yourself up for a morale disaster. 

According to our State of Coaching and Mentoring report, 60 percent of HR professionals say that mentoring in the workplace is essential. Moreover, 62 percent expect to see more of it in the future. 

Mentoring in the workplace has proven beneficial in a number of ways, including:

  • Improve employee skills
  • Increase engagement rates
  • Reduce turnover
  • Create positive atmosphere

In our survey, 72 percent of HR representatives said that mentoring positively impacts the organization and individual development. 

15 critical roles that mentors play in the workplace today (and in the future)

Mentorships have been around for thousands of years. Over time, the way we mentor has adapted to the changes in the workplace, for example, remote workplace mentoring. In other words, mentors play a number of crucial roles in an organization. Let’s unpack a few.

1. Building the next generation of leaders at the company

Mentors are vital for preparing high-potential employees for leadership positions. They can do this in several ways. Some mentoring is needed to help employees cultivate skills to be successful leaders, such as communication capabilities. In addition, mentors pass along vital information and wisdom they’ve gained through their experiences. This knowledge-sharing role of mentors is essential for succession planning. 

2.  Improving performance 

From improving employee performance to increasing the production and revenue of your organization, mentoring plays a significant role in how well your company does now and in the future. As mentioned, 72 percent of HR professionals agreed that mentoring positively impacts an organization’s performance.

3. Bridging the gap between generations

Cultivating connections in the workplace can be a challenge, but mentoring can help bridge the gap, particularly between generations of workers. Senior employees have a lot to offer the next generation.  Mentorships can create a safe space for mentees to take risks and learn from their mistakes. The relationship between a senior employee and their mentee can also break down barriers and stereotypes between different generations of workers. In the end, it will lead to a more positive workplace atmosphere and a collaborative team.

4. Setting up new hires for success

Using mentorship as part of your onboarding process has benefits across the board. You’ll ensure that your new employees are well-trained in workplace culture and policies. Mentors can also help new hires develop good habits and practices. Additionally, it helps new faces on the team build connections in your company. And these connections create a sense of belonging for your employees. 

5. Creating more inclusive company cultures

Inclusive company culture is a must-have in today’s workplace. There is no room for division if you’re aiming for success. Mentorship programs at work can be designed to break down barriers and build collaborative cultures. There are many ways you can approach this challenge, including pairing mentors who come from different backgrounds. In this setting, the mentor and mentee will develop an understanding and respect for each other. 

6. Highlighting diverse talent

Mentoring can be used to develop diverse talent among your ranks. Employees from minority backgrounds face unique challenges. Providing them with a mentor to encourage and support them goes a long way in helping them succeed. Investing in your diverse talent through mentorship will benefit your employees and your organization. 

7. Accelerating employee development

With worker shortages impacting various industries, focusing on employee development helps organizations overcome this challenge. Through mentorships, you can enable your staff to develop the skills needed for the future. It can strengthen your organization’s ability to succeed in the long run.

8. Making remote work, work

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen an increase in remote work and its challenges. Employees have reported suffering from feelings of isolation, burnout, and other mental health issues. The key ingredient is connection. 

According to one HR professional in a report by HR Exchange, employees look forward to social interactions at work:

“It’s hard to duplicate that over a screen,” Todd Reeves, SVP, People Operations & Technology at Expedia Group, said. “But we also recognize our employees really appreciate having the flexibility to manage work and life responsibilities. A hybrid approach means they have the best of both worlds – connection and flexibility.”

Remote mentoring programs help employees overcome these challenges and be successful and productive no matter where they do their jobs.

9. Retaining top talent

Many industries are facing a talent shortage. Spending time, money, and effort to attract and hire top talent is just one of the keys to gaining quality employees. You need to offer them something more than a paycheck. While incentives can include benefits and rewards, they should also include learning and development opportunities, such as mentorships.  Investing in your employees through a mentorship program demonstrates that you’re an employer who cares about their employees. And that is worth sticking around for. 

10. Encouraging more collaboration

It takes a team effort to get the job done. Cultivating a culture of collaboration is another hurdle that your organization faces. Our State of Coaching and Mentoring report found that companies with a higher percentage of mentors were over two times more likely to say that coaching leads to improved organizational performance. In other words, mentorship encourages collaboration.

11. Giving every employee a voice

Today’s employees are not just looking for a job. They want a career. And they want to feel like they matter to your company. Mentorships allow your employees to feel like they have a voice and are valued. 

12. Encouraging meaningful growth-focused relationships

Mentorships revolve around the connection between a mentor and mentee. At its best, it is a meaningful relationship that can change an individual’s life. Through the experience, your employees will practice their connection-growing skills. A mentee and mentor will get to know each other and build respect and accountability while doing so. Mentoring also requires participants to work on their practical communication abilities. 

13. Transferring knowledge about company failures (so history doesn’t repeat itself)

It’s vital that your employees share information and ideas with each other. It can help teach employees what to do and what not to do. Senior employees can pass along knowledge about past company failures as lessons to younger employees in a mentoring capacity. This information will help your organization prevent history from repeating itself. 

14. Maintaining the well-being of the company

Your employees' health directly impacts the productivity of your organization. When your staff have low levels of well-being, they’re more likely to be absent. From stress to burnout, mentoring can help your employees handle the demands of their job so that you can maintain the well-being of your company

15. Increasing employee engagement

Employee engagement is a serious issue in many workforces. Even if your employees show up to work each day, are they giving you their best? Or are they looking for a way out? Mentorships build connections and feelings of belonging. These, in turn, can increase employee engagement. When your employees are engaged in their work, they are less likely to underperform or leave. 

Every employee should have a mentor; here’s how to do it

Starting a workplace mentoring program doesn’t have to take extra time and effort. Technology can help build a successful and engaging mentoring program with mentoring software. 

With Together, you can invite employees to register for your mentoring program via email. Participants can quickly build a profile on our platform, and our algorithm takes all the work out of the pairing process. 

Find out how easy it is with a free trial of Together’s mentoring software.

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