mentorship programs

A Recipe for Employee Retention: Building the Business Case for Workplace Mentorship Programs

A recent Deloitte report finds that 58% of HR executives believe their current performance process does not drive employee engagement. Today, successful organizations are using workplace mentorship programs to tackle complex human resource challenges, such as increasing employee retention and improving workforce productivity, as well as for new purposes, like diversity training or high potential development.

80% of learning takes place informally, interactions between mentors and mentees are crucial times for employees to absorb knowledge.
Employees face barriers at work daily, and they often lack the necessary skills and resources when challenged. An employee in this scenario has two options. He could resign himself to a fate of inaction, resulting in disengagement because he feels he cannot seek advice from his superiors. Or, he could meet with his mentor, who could equip him will the necessary tools and guidance to flourish and further his career.

Workplace mentorship programs build company culture

Mentorship builds manager-to-employee relationships. These relationships are performance drivers that help workers overcome challenges in the office, returning higher levels of engagement and satisfaction.

A nationwide survey of 1500 employees reported that the relationship between an employee and his direct supervisor is one of the top three drivers of employee engagement.

A formalized mentorship program creates an environment where mentoring is the norm, enabling employees to feel comfortable reaching out for help and asking advice when they need it; and more importantly, preparing and empowering young employees to face workplace challenges head on. As a company, this creates a culture of communication that transcends cultural barriers and aids employees at all levels of their careers.

The mentor-mentee relationship is symbiotic

But how does it aid the mentors specifically? A 2013 study found that people who have the opportunity to act as a mentor have greater job satisfaction and commitment to their employer. The benefit extends beyond the manager to the company level, as well: advertising the benefits of company mentorship programs provides an effective way to connect with and retain Millennials- which is becoming ever more important, as they currently make up 50% of today’s workforce and will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025. In a recent PWC Millennials at work survey, many young professionals say they prefer to learn from coaches and mentoring, and rank it as the most valuable training/development opportunity.

Mentoring Millennials retains talent

These intelligent young employees look to creative problem-solving and collaboration in order to support the common good, and they aren’t afraid to abandon the metaphorical company ship early: 47% of actively disengaged Millennials reported that they would switch jobs in order to find one with a more suitable cultural fit. Therefore, it is essential for managers to put in the effort to nurture talent.

77% of companies that have a mentoring program indicate that it improved both employee retention and job performance.

Taking the time to support your younger employees will make them feel valued and render them more likely to stay at your organization.

The payback: boosting employee engagement

A workplace mentoring program can serve the entire employee lifecycle, including improving new hire retention rates and enabling company succession planning. As an added bonus, reverse mentoring can ensure senior executives stay current with company culture, new business practices, and emerging technology.

The fact that active mentorship boosts engagement, employee performance, and Millennial retention is not new news; yet, managers are surprisingly not taking advantage of it. So why does the gap between knowing and doing exist? It’s simple: organizations must create an effective workplace culture around an effective mentorship program. By providing the resources for managers to be great mentors, and by building a culture where it is the norm for employees to be mentored, HR professionals can implement successful office-wide mentorship programs.