Mentoring programs can provide a countless number of benefits for the employer, employees, and organization as a whole. While some positive aspects of mentoring may immediately come to mind, often the big picture and long-term benefits of establishing a mentoring program can be overlooked. Here are 8 reasons you can use to encourage your organization to start a mentoring program:
- Improved retention. Onboarding and orientation are a much easier transition when a mentor can help a new employee understand the intricacies of the workplace and how to navigate the organization from the start. In addition to the early stages of one’s tenure, keeping high achievers around will be a struggle without a solid mentoring program. In this study from HBR, many young professionals actively seek out opportunities for growth and development – if they don’t find opportunities, they will move on.
- Improved productivity. When pitching the idea of establishing a mentoring program to your administration, you will likely gain traction by discussing how mentoring can lead to improved productivity and organizational performance. Many management and coaching organizations have published extensively regarding the positive correlation between productivity and mentoring/coaching. Mentoring provides a win-win-win for the mentor, mentee, and the organization as a whole.
- Increased knowledge sharing. Improved communication and transparency within the team can promote collaboration and develop trust. Having diverse perspectives prevents the team from working in silos. Team members will be less likely to miss out on important pieces of information or have a lack of clarity/purpose to their work.
- Increased opportunities for professional development. Mentors can share their expertise/ideas and advise the mentee on suggestions for certification/training. This added benefit of mentoring will foster professional development within your team.
- Improved team dynamics. According to Patrick Lencioni, author of The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, teammates need to establish trust and relationships before team dynamics and productivity will improve. A lack of trust can will stifle teamwork and ultimately will undermine and short or long-term goals for that team or organization. Mentoring relationships build a solid foundation of trust.
- Strengthened organizational culture. In this article by Wilson and Elman, the authors describe how a mentoring program can enrich and sustain a strong organizational culture that has clear expectations. Mentors can provide context about the organizational culture and help mentees gain an understanding about what helps the team function effectively.
- Improved succession planning. By maintaining several mentor/mentee relationships within the organization, succession planning can be built in to the mentoring process. Mentees will benefit from sponsorship by their mentor or others in the organization as their mentor helps to identify a career path.
- Decreased burnout. By having a strong mentor-mentee relationship, the mentee may seek out advice from their mentor regarding how they can be resilient and maintain well-being while in their current role. By having strong social support from their mentor, a mentee can avoid the feelings of burnout or workplace pressures.
Of course, there is a big caveat with all of the above benefits. Who are your biggest advocates within the team? Who will help others grow and foster all of the above benefits? Careful selection of mentors is essential. While establishing a mentoring program may take time and effort to get up and running, the long-term benefits are well worth the support and work invested.
Jackie is a full-time pharmacist and career coach at TheHappyPharmD, where she helps pharmacists live life by design. She loves her family, changing the world and the profession of pharmacy.