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The Return on Investment of Workplace Mentoring Initiatives

Twomentor recently released insights that point to the true impact the formal mentorship programs can have on an organization in Understanding the Return on Investment of Workplace Mentoring Initiatives.

“Across the board, companies that invest in formal workplace mentoring programs experience substantial returns on their investment,” explains Julie Silard Kantor, founder and CEO of Twomentor.

A few examples:

  • Companies such as Sodexo realized a $19 return on every dollar invested in mentoring and promoting diversity and inclusion.
  • Sun Microsystems (now Oracle) realized savings of more than $500,000 annually as a result of their mentoring program.
  • Both companies also experienced better retention rates, increased engagement and higher promotion rates among underrepresented groups.”
  • DDI World disclosed in its Mentoring Global Leadership Forecast (2018) that 54% of organizations in the top third of financial performance have formal mentoring programs, as opposed to 33% of organizations in the bottom third.

Benefits, success and diversity

MacKenzie Moore, Director of Twomentor, emphasizes “the most successful mentoring programs all have one trait in common: they are developed and managed intentionally. Studies show the kind of mentoring that builds happier, more engaged and productive workforces usually does not occur spontaneously.”

Top cited benefits of these programs include:

  1. Having a more skilled and prepared workforce.
  2. Development of a diverse leadership pipeline.
  3. Enhanced manager success and improved succession planning.
  4. Significantly higher retention rates, especially for millennials.
  5. Increased employee engagement and commitment.
  6. Happier and more inclusive workplace culture.

“If we want more diversity, we need to mentor and sponsor more diversely,” continues Kantor. “Our research supports that too often informal mentorship is not diverse mentorship. Lean In found that one in six men feel uncomfortable mentoring women. Other leaders in human capital initiatives have drawn the same conclusion. These studies showed that women and
minorities usually connect better with their mentors through formal programs that offer an established, credible and supportive way for men to mentor women and minorities. Furthermore, researchers discovered that mentoring had the largest impact of all strategies, resulting in an increase of representation of minorities at the manager level by 9% to 24%.”

Lessons learned

Eight key lessons shared in the whitepaper are:

  1. Managers that have been mentored find executive leaders are more accessible and authentic.
  2. Mentoring helps decrease corporate burn-out (classified as a disease in July 2019 by the World Health Organization).
  3. Companies need to engineer their mentoring programs for success [given that under 30% of executives have mentors and under 12% mentor others from Twomentor’s field research].
  4. Formal mentoring programs produce better results than informal mentoring.
  5. Mentoring helps recruit high-performing interns to be employees.
  6. Senior managers benefit from Mentor 2.0 training on the difference between a mentor and a sponsor.
  7. Mentees want to give back to their mentors (reverse mentoring).
  8. Flash (speed) mentoring works to launch mentoring programs and boost engagement.

“The people who mentor at your company are the people who drive retention at your company,” explains Kantor.

Deloitte found that companies experience a 25% higher retention rate when employees participate in a mentoring program at their organization. Another study by Bellevue University found that mentorship increased millennial retention by 23%.

“This is important,” claims Kantor. “Deloitte uncovered in its 2018 Millennial Survey that 43% of millennials expect to leave their job within two years. Companies with formal mentoring programs are more attractive to this generation. Millennials want 50% more time dedicated to mentorship and coaching, and twice as much time focused on developing leadership skills.”

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