How Mentorship Can Propel Careers Forward


If you’ve ever watched the Oscars or sat at any reward ceremony, you witnessed the recipient thanking everyone who helped them along their journey. There’s a good reason for that. Excellence of any kind is not achieved in a bubble. When people have an effective mentor at their side, the potential of success is greatly increased.

Why companies should consider mentorship programs to help their employees

Mentorship and Coaching programs have a lot to offer. It is not just connecting a new hire with their supervisor and asking that person to show them the ropes. With mentorship programs, companies can begin the process of fostering a positive company culture that drives everything from productivity to excellent customer service.

With career development being one of the top reasons why people leave one employer for another (41% as reported by McKinsey), building employees up is a wise move for encouraging employee retention and lowering turnover rates. By initiating a mentorship program, the business can show that they care about their employees on a deeper level. From their investment, the company has the potential of attracting high performers due to the opportunities available with the organization to enhance their careers.

For many, it can be difficult to find mentors.  Some lack the confidence to seek one out, and because of this, 63% go without having a formal mentor throughout their career. Mentorship programs make it easier for people to find the support they need.

As companies work to achieve more diversity, mentorship programs have proven to boost minority representation. Forbes reported that for management levels, mentorship improves promotion and retention rates for minorities and women by 15% to 38% as compared to non-mentored employees.

An added benefit when companies develop careers through the support of mentors is that they tap into the talent they already have, empowering their current employees. This eliminates a large percentage of the costs associated with leadership sourcing and recruitment.

Why employees would participate in a mentor program

Mentorship programs give employees a sounding board for ideas and help to establish pathways for growth or identify blind spots that might be hindering development without repercussions of mistakes. 

Mentorship programs situate a person to meet their goals. Whether those goals are to advance in the company or become more specialized in their role, through the support of mentorship the individual feels less isolated and hesitant to pursue aspirations. Mentees learn how to maintain professional relationships and network with people they may normally not have had the opportunity to get to know.

But the greatest value of mentorship is how it sets up the person for success. People who have access to a mentor are more successful within their role, with 84% of women in leadership saying mentors played a vital role in developing their resilience. In a case study at Sun Microsystems, they found that employees that participated in the program were promoted five times more than those that did not and were five times more likely to advance in pay grade.

This is due to the fact that with time, the person can see improvement in their skill set from the feedback they receive. From every success they achieve with the assistance of a mentor, their confidence grows, and they are more willing to take on more difficult tasks. Overall, mentees become more satisfied with their job, more hopeful of the future, and more engaged with company goals.

It is also important to mention that those who act as mentors also  benefit from growth in their skill sets and confidence. They are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment when they see the person they took under their wing and guided become successful.

What a successful mentorship program looks like

Successful mentorship programs are first built into the company culture. Employees are made aware of the value mentorship provides and the program is promoted throughout the company. Employees are made aware that it is not just an onboarding assignment to provide them training for the job, but it is a program available to anyone throughout the employee lifecycle. 

For mentorship programs to truly help individuals, the company must set the goals they wish to achieve from the program such as promoting more from within the organization or supporting and building employees up for the next challenge. They understand that one size does not fit everyone, especially in leadership development and they define what success looks like. They also develop guidelines including how often they should meet, where they should meet, and what should be accomplished so all participants know what is expected of them.

Once goals are set, someone is assigned the responsibility to oversee the program and monitor if participants are actively engaging. Plus, they regulate the program and determine if the mentorship is delivering on the goals first set.

The final step is the matching of mentor and mentee. Not every person needs the same thing from a mentor. Some may want more peer-to-peer relationships while others desire a more seasoned executive acting as a career mentor to guide them along, while others want that lifelong connection with a mentor.

Plus, not every person will connect with each other on a personal level. Effective mentors, as described by Harvard Business Review, foster important skills and offer stronger networks that prove useful to mentees in the long run. Successful mentorship programs use data to match people up by looking at a person’s skills, communication style, and career goals. For some businesses, they provide the mentee with a choice of who they engage with and where and how they meet, allowing for flexibility.

Why mentorship is beneficial 

At first it may appear that only the company and the mentee benefit from the interaction, with the company seeing higher profits and the mentee advancing in their career.

Mentors can also learn while they are mentoring others since most effective relationships are two-way. During sessions, mentors can discover new trends and challenges and innovative ways of doing old tasks. But mentors can also continue to master their own skills from the interaction such as active listening and leadership.

Yet, the greatest reward for mentoring is the growing sense of self-worth. By enhancing someone else’s career, mentors can gain more fulfillment in their job and further their purpose, gaining pride as they see their students strive and reach their aspirations. 

How to get started with developing a mentorship program in the workplace 

The benefits of a mentor program are immense, but getting started can be overwhelming. With 76% of people considering mentors important, but with only 37% having one, it is best not to wait too long to get started. Since each industry and each individual is different, it makes sense to draft a unique program that’s right for your business. Contact us today to learn more about how Aurora can help you launch a program that can make all the difference with your employee when building successful careers.