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Many organisations view a mentoring program as a “nice to have”, but in today’s economy the establishment of an effective mentoring program is simply good economic and business management. Here are our Top 5 Reasons:
1. Improve Retention Rates
The cost of staff turnover is estimated at anywhere from ½ to 5 times an employee’s annual wages depending on their position. And this doesn’t account for the immeasurable loss associated with losing exceptional talent.
There is strong evidence that mentoring programs help to retain staff. A well constructed mentoring program has been demonstrated to increase the chances that people will stay - by one third on average and in exceptional cases by as much as 1000%. (See Clutterbuck, D. (2004), Everyone Needs A Mentor (4th Ed), London:CIPD)
As well as making people feel valued and providing a safety valve for career frustrations, mentoring can point people toward internal rather than external job opportunities. Consider this: only 20% of employees are likely to look first at their current employer for their next job. For people in mentoring relationships this rises to almost 100%. (See Horizons Unlimited article Mentoring and Retention)
2. Break Down Communication Silos
In his book, Spanning Silos, David Aaker makes the point that communication silos cause firms to misallocate resources, send inconsistent messages to the marketplace and fail to leverage economies of scale and successes. There is a high potential cost to the internal boundaries within your organisation.
Good mentoring programs are shown to increase both the quality and quantity of communication across internal boundaries.
3. Avoid Underutilising Talented Staff
Too often organisations fail to capitalize on talented staff purely and simply because they have failed to take note of their talent. Sometimes cultural, ethnic or gender barriers lead to a sort of talent blindness on the part of management. Other times management simply overlooks parts of the organisation altogether.
How can any organisation have good succession planning and corporate growth strategies without a solid grasp of their talent pool?
Mentoring is often found to be the most effective means of breaking down gender and racial barriers. This is not simply a matter of ideology, but an opportunity to choose the best talent from a broader pool.
Mentoring also enables senior managers to gain a deep and personal understanding of their employees, equipping them to make better decisions regarding placement and development of talented people.
4. Reinforce Your Corporate Culture
Leaders work hard to establish a code of values and behaviours that the organisation is expected to live by. But the bigger an organisation becomes the harder it is to be confident that these values are seeded throughout the company and not simply words dusted off for shareholders meetings and company conventions. Once again this is not merely an ideological issue. There can be a high cost in public perception when organisations fail to live by their own code.
By selecting mentors who represent the values and behaviours the organisation wishes to promote, a mentoring program can be used to create a positive cycle of role modeling that reinforces the culture leaders are striving to achieve.
5. Foster a Coaching and Mentoring Culture
There is a growing interest in companies across the world in creating a sustainable coaching and mentoring environment. Why? Because almost every study on effective management demonstrates that the managers who get the most out of their teams, spend a high proportion of their time and energy coaching and mentoring others.
In other words, a coaching and mentoring culture leads to increased productivity.
A well-developed mentoring program can be invaluable in developing and sustain a coaching and mentoring culture. It is never enough to simply provide coaching and mentoring training, managers need to learn through practice. A formal mentoring program provides training, feedback and consistent practice. It is an ongoing commitment to good management practices.
Of course it is not enough simply to have a mentoring program, it is essential that the program be well structured. The International Standards for Mentoring Programs in Employment(ISMPE) provide a benchmark for good practice. Also refer to the following articles on our website: Mentoring and Retention, Creating a Coaching and Mentoring Culture, The Business Case for Mentoring and Mentoring for Diversity.
If you require advice on mentoring program structure or assistance in recruiting, training and matching mentors and mentees please contact us.
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