An organization that creates a structured Mentoring Program is committed to the success of its people. And when people engage in that program, they are not only reciprocating a commitment to the organization's success, they are committing to their own success.
Mentoring Impacts People's Success
Through mentoring people discover new ways to approach situations and solve problems. As a result, people are essentially learning from each other's mistakes to become more effective. Not surprisingly, statistics reveal that mentoring results in a
94% increase in personal and professional effectiveness.
In addition, because one person exhibits a commitment to another's success, mentoring has been shown to motivate 95% of people involved towards excellence.
Studies also prove that when someone is trained in a new task, their productivity increases 24%, but when that person is trained and mentored in that new task, their productivity increases 88%. Clearly we learn through education, but it's through exposure and experience that our learning increases exponentially. Mentoring offers such exposure and experience.
Finally, because mentoring offers people visibility at various levels and in different departments that they would not otherwise have under normal circumstances, mentoring is one of three most effective strategies for increasing diversity.
"Programs that assign responsibility for change and that connect promising management talent with mentors seem to hold the best hope for increasing diversity."
Frank Dobbin, Harvard University sociologist
Challenges of Mentoring
If mentoring is so essential to people's success, then why aren't more people naturally mentoring each other in everyday interactions? Because we don't know how. We were never taught how to mentor or be mentored. Being effective at mentoring is not an innate talent.
But it can be taught. And that's where company-generated, structured mentoring programs work their magic.
Importance of Structured Mentoring Programs
Mentoring programs provide people with the "how." They create the structure people crave in order to be effective while giving them the tools they need in order to be successful. Structured mentoring programs invite people to participate who might not otherwise consider it, train those people on how to engage in mentoring where they might not otherwise know how, and then give them plenty of opportunities to practice their mentoring skills when they might not otherwise prioritize it.
To be effective, it is critical that a mentoring program includes the 5 S's: Strategy, Scalability, Sustainability, Simplicity, and Significance.
Strategy: an effective program strategically drives organizational goals while contributing to people's success.
Scalability: an effective program is able to scale from a small pilot to a large pool of participants without deterioration.
Sustainability: an effective program sustains momentum in spite of daily crises and other priorities.
Simplicity: an effective program is simple to administer and simple to participate in.
Significance: an effective program is significant in its impact at an organizational level and at an individual level.
To ensure the 5 S's, successful mentoring programs start small and launch with a pilot. This allows for feedback, adjustments, and fine-tuning before inviting more participants to engage.
And the most successful mentoring programs start at the top of the organization. Leaders commit to mentoring by engaging in it themselves. In so doing, they learn about mentoring while contributing to the success of their own program.
From there, the mentoring program is strategically rolled out to different levels and departments to ensure sustainability and effectiveness. Eventually, the program is scaled to include all employees in an organization.
Essentially companies create structured mentoring programs because they aspire to have a knowledge-exchanging, mentoring culture. A culture in which people are inclined to contribute to the growth and development of their peers. A culture in which people crave to share their knowledge to benefit others. A culture in which people are hungry to learn from others to improve themselves and the organization. In a mentoring culture, everyone wins.