5 Good Reasons to Start a Mentorship Program

Post contributed by Heather Keefer Saulsbury. Vice President of Sales and Marketing for StaffLink Outsourcing, Inc.

Mentorships support new employees so they feel a sense of community and support. They also improve worker satisfaction across the board.

Key takeaways:

  • Workplace mentoring offers guidance. It involves a senior colleague working with someone new in their career to offer guidance and opportunities to grow, or teaching another worker new skills
  • Five advantages of workplace mentorship programs:
    • Networking opportunities
    • Employee satisfaction
    • Problem-solving
    • Job confidence
    • Industry insight

Many of today’s workers are starting new jobs remotely, and that makes it easy for them to become siloed. Even if workers aren’t remote, they still run the risk of fumbling and not performing satisfactorily if company culture is poor and senior employees aren’t helpful. These situations can quickly turn into job dissatisfaction and low staff morale.

Some companies are turning to mentorship programs to give remote and in-person workers a much-needed boost. When employees feel more supported and get the guidance they need as new hires and established workers, they’re more likely to be engaged. In fact, 91% of employees with a mentor are more satisfied at work.

This is why 70% of Fortune 500 companies have mentorship programs. These initiatives help new people get acclimated to the job and even their chosen industry. Mentors help newer and lower-level employees succeed by offering advice and knowledge to support them. Because mentorships have so much potential, they benefit the workers involved, the company and the industry at large.

So, what is workplace mentoring, and what are the advantages it can bring to your organization? Here is your guide to the benefits of having a workplace mentorship program.

How does a workplace mentorship program work?

Mentors are employees who work with another employee, a mentee, to help them learn something new, grow in their position or company and provide consistent guidance and feedback. The mentor is usually someone with a higher-level position in an organization or an expert in the industry. They might invite their mentees to events and meetings, meet to discuss goals and targets or provide advice when the mentee is facing a challenging situation.

An important aspect of mentorship is ongoing support. Employees succeed when they feel like they have someone on their side from the beginning. Mentorships create better networking opportunities and help people get ahead in the company. These benefits are leading more and more companies to start mentorship programs.

Age isn’t always a big factor in mentorships these days, either, as it’s more about industry experience and knowledge. However, it’s not unheard of for a lower-level employee to mentor a higher-up in a business if they need to learn a new skill. It’s also not always about years working for a company, either, and often centers around what people can teach one another, regardless of status or age.

Five advantages of mentorship programs

Support and guidance touch the surface of what mentorship programs can bring to your workplace. Here are five key benefits of starting one:

1. Networking opportunities

For employees to truly succeed in the workplace, they need to feel a sense of community. This is accomplished by fostering strong relationships and networking with people they may not normally interact with. Mentors can help their mentees meet more people while creating a strong bond. Mentorship programs thus help people grow their networks and strengthen the workplace community as a whole.

2. Employee satisfaction

Mentorship programs increase job satisfaction and make it much more enjoyable for people to come to work. Nine out of ten employees with a mentor say they’re happy with their jobs. This is because they offer career support and workers feel like there’s always someone rooting for them at work. Their purpose and goals will be clearer in their career trajectory.

3. Problem-solving

Everyone faces challenges at work now and then. It would be a lot easier to deal with issues if there’s someone around who’s been there before. Mentors can guide their mentees through anything, helping them problem solve with expert advice. Mentees often have a big advantage over their coworkers when they have that kind of support.

4. Job confidence

A greater sense of satisfaction and purpose at work leads employees to feel more confident and self-assured. They know that they’re doing things right. They receive encouragement to take on new projects and recognition when they hit a target or do something great. Their expanded network helps them to have more confident social interactions, too.

5. Industry insight

Both mentors and mentees can learn a lot from each other. For instance, someone from a younger generation just entering the workforce may have a firmer grasp of the latest trends and technologies. More tenured workers bring years of industry knowledge to the table. These dynamics create enriching relationships that benefit both parties and lead to well-rounded employees that will succeed in their industry.

Why you need a mentorship program

The benefits of mentorships are clear. Companies can gain a lot by starting a program, including better workplace culture, fewer silos and greater job satisfaction that leads to increased productivity and efficiency. When an organization benefits, it impacts the industry as a whole. Networks are more easily expanded and great employees will have access to opportunities they wouldn’t normally have.

Mentorships have been proven to work well in Professional Employer Organization (PEO) businesses. They’re excellent tools for clients looking to give their company culture a boost without having to expend a lot of extra money and resources. They are cost-effective and promote a positive work environment.

Get started by creating a set of goals for your program, figuring out how mentors and mentees will be onboarded, determining the expectations of each party and setting up a system to measure success. Identify how someone will qualify to be a mentor and what population you want to serve with the program. Your employees’ productivity and satisfaction will improve as the program gets underway.