The business benefits of mentoring: A Win-Win for individuals and businesses
Mentoring programs are increasingly being adopted by businesses looking to boost employee performance and engagement and for good reason. When approached and delivered correctly, mentoring can produce wide and long-lasting benefits to an organisation.
The main rationale for undertaking a mentoring program is to see tangible business benefits and a return on investment. However, quantifying these benefits can be challenging. In this article, we explore the primary benefits of mentoring for businesses and how it can be a win-win for both individuals and organisations.
One of the primary benefits of mentoring is that it creates deeper bonds within the organisation. Mentoring provides mentees with the support and guidance they need to succeed in developing their roles and careers. When mentees succeed within the organisational structure, they are less likely to leave to develop their careers elsewhere. This, in turn, reduces staff turnover, and the businesses can focus on developing from within rather than bringing in new faces that can have a destabilising effect at senior levels.
According to a 2006 study by Garner, retention rates were higher for both mentees (22% more) and mentors (20% more) than for employees who did not participate in a mentoring program (McCarthy Mentoring 2017).
Mentoring provides recipients with a unique opportunity to develop new skills, knowledge, and ways of being, as well as receive benevolent guidance and support in their career development. Those that engage with mentoring report better job satisfaction, and businesses with a successful program report improved performance. In fact, they also progress faster, “25% of employees who enrolled in a mentoring program had a salary-grade change, compared to only 5% of workers who did not participate” (McCarthy Mentoring 2017 “Why mentoring: what the stats say“).
The benefits of mentoring to business productivity are well-documented, and many Fortune 500 companies have already implemented successful mentoring programs. According to the Centre for Workplace Leadership, in 2016, “71% of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs” (McCarthy Mentoring 2017). This number has only increased in recent years, with 84% of Fortune 500 companies having a mentoring program last year, and 100% of Fortune 50 companies having one (Cantalupo, Forbes 2022).
Mentoring empowers employees with opportunities to connect, learn, and receive guidance from more experienced colleagues. This creates a more positive and supportive work environment as a whole, which benefits organisational morale. Both mentees and mentors report having a greater sense of engagement and job satisfaction.
A study by Moving Ahead and Deloitte of 6,000 people across 40 organisations found that “87% of mentors and mentees feel empowered by their mentoring relationships and have developed greater confidence” (Dimmock 2017).
Improved Diversity in Leadership
Diversity, especially in leadership, is still an issue for many businesses. However, mentoring has been shown to be one of the most effective methods of improving diversity in companies. In fact, a recent study showed that it “boosted minority representation at the management level by 9% to 24%” and “also dramatically improved promotion and retention rates for minorities and women—15% to 38%” compared to non-mentored employees (Beheshti, Forbes 2019).
In conclusion, mentoring provides numerous benefits to both individuals and organisations, however, the organisational context has a massive bearing on the degree of success. The benefits include talent retention, professional development, improved productivity, improved morale, and improved diversity in leadership. By investing in a successful mentoring program, businesses can reap the rewards of a more engaged, productive, and diverse workforce.