Sep 9 2015

Company Mentorship Programs: What You Need To Know

Signature Consultants General

Mentors and mentees used to find each other organically—but now, it’s becoming increasingly common for organizations to offer formal mentorship programs. According to the American Society of Training and Development, more than 71% of Fortune 500 companies offer internal mentoring.

The benefits of mentoring (not just for the recipient, but for the provider) have been extensively researched. To get these benefits, should your company set up a program, or should you encourage spontaneous mentoring?

Before you decide, take a look at the pros and cons of a formal program:

Pro: You Can Attract and Keep the Top Talent

Most employees know how important having a mentor is to their career growth, skills development, and even long-term strategy. By establishing a formulized mentorship program, you’ll be able to attract and retain the most in-demand candidates.

Con: Not Every Match Is a Good One

Matching the right mentors to the right mentees is one of the main difficulties in starting a program. When a mentor gives an employee guidance of his or her own accord, it’s usually because the two have a solid personal dynamic and compatible communication styles. But if you’re the one putting the mentor and mentee together, you might end up with ill-suited pairs—making the program less effective.

Pro: You Can Have Different Types of Relationships

On the flip side, having control over the mentoring process gives you the ability to catalyze unique types of mentoring. For example, many companies are now trying “reverse mentoring,” in which a more junior person mentors an older one. This helps high-ranking employees stay current, while younger employees report higher morale, job satisfaction, and engagement.

You can also try peer mentoring (employees at similar levels counsel each other), and “life” mentoring (employees are matched with people outside of their departments.)

Con: Administrative Demands

Any time you establish a new program, you’ll need to establish written guidelines, training courses, feedback sessions, regular check-ins, and all of the other bureaucratic requirements. That means you’ll also need at least one person to run the program. If your team is already working at maximum capacity, it may not be the best time to start a time-consuming project.

Pro: You Can Encourage a Close-Knit Environment

When your employees are officially encouraged to form relationships, the entire work-place feels more like a community. In other words, being set up with one person can make the team more likely to form relationships of their own accord. If you’re looking to develop a work environment characterized by trust, helpfulness, and kindness, this is a great way to do it!

Con: Over-dependence on Mentors

Some mentees may rely too much on their advocates. If a junior employee goes to his or her mentor for advice on every career decision, he or she can become incapable of acting independently. Alternatively, young employees might mistakenly believe that being mentored means they’ll be promoted more quickly than they would have been otherwise—so they’re angry when they’re not promoted.

Has your office had a mentorship program or have you found that these relationships develop organically? Does your office encourage mentorships? Tell us what you think in the comments below or tweet us @SigConsult!

About Signature Consultants, LLC

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Signature Consultants was established in 1997 with a singular focus: to provide clients and consultants with superior staffing solutions. For the eighth consecutive year, Signature was voted as one of the “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” and is named the 15th Largest IT Staffing Firm in the United States (source: Staffing Industry Analysts). With 27 locations throughout North America, Signature annually deploys thousands of consultants to support, run, and manage their clients’ technology needs. Signature offers IT staffing, consulting, managed solutions, and direct placement services. For more information on the company, please visit www.sigconsult.com.

Signature Consultants General