Updated: Oct 19
We have all had a teacher that made a difference. Whether they believed in us when we did not believe in ourselves, push us to be better, listen to us when we felt voiceless, or were an example of success in representation of elements of our own identity that we felt were obstacles, that teacher sticks with us. They became more than the person teaching us fractions or comma-use; they became mentors. Mentorship is more than a meeting, more than a class. Mentorship creates safe spaces in which we can grow and develop our strengths. Applying mentorship programs to a company provides so many benefits.
Helps Recognize and Find Talent Within the Company
In our fast-paced world, finding, and keeping, talent is a constant struggle. Adding mentorship programs into your work structure can be a crucial way to stop fighting the system, and develop and recognize the talent that exists in your organization. In a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, it was found that young quality managers, those with elite degrees, and international intern experience, on average stay at a company for twenty-eight months. In addition, 77% of senior managers believe that frontline managers are vital to business development, with an additional 33% of them believing that these managers are capable and competent in making business decisions. Mentorship programs show employees that they believe in their employees by investing in them. Developing internal talent is a more efficient and cost effective way to grow your business!
Makes Diversity Programming and ERGs more powerful
The traditional approach to increasing diversity, and decreasing microaggressions and other harmful practices, is diversity training. However, studies have shown that these mandatory training programs have led to a decrease in representation for Black women, and for Asian men and women. The study also shows that there is zero improvement in Hispanic men or women, or for Black men. The old-school approach of diversity training is out-dated and not effective; it satisfies the need for a company to check the box, but makes no authentic lasting change. Mentorship programs, however, increase representation for Black women by 18%; 9.1% and 21.7% for Hispanic men and women, respectively; and 18% and 24% for Asian men and women, respectively. Mentorship programs can be built to aid and support ERGs by allowing mentor and mentee relationships to be within a community that already exists in the organization. Mentees get the chance to learn the ins and outs of the company, especially in respects to navigating the organization through the lens of their identity, and grow in a positive and lasting way.
Creates More Representation for Minority Populations
Mentorship programs promote authentic methods of increasing representation in an organization’s higher roles. It is no secret that most board members across companies are male and White: around 85% of board members fit this description. People tend to find comfort and give good performance reviews to people that are similar to them. This means that the more representation in higher levels of the organization, the less skewed performance reviews towards minority populations. Navigating a company with less diversity in representation can be an additional obstacle for communities of color and women. Mentorship programs not only increase the representation in leadership, and, therefore decrease the gap in success between men and women and Whites and BIPOC, but also aid in the emotional and professional development of employees. Mentorship programs, particularly those built with ERGs, support, develop, and train employees in an empathetic and empowering manner.