Recommended Read: Starting a Diversity Mentoring Program


Update: For more information on diversity mentoring, please read our in-depth article, “Mentoring Works: Diversity in Organizations.”

Diversity mentoring participants showing thumbs up

Today large corporations such as PwC, Sodexo, AT&T, Procter and Gamble and Ernst & Young, realize that a diverse set of experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds lead to new ideas, innovation and ultimately success on a global scale.

However it is not easy to attract and retain a diverse workforce. So how does a company go about encouraging diversity? Cultural awareness training and cross-cultural mentoring can help you create a diverse and inclusive corporate culture. Cultural awareness training helps employees analyze diverse cultural values and offers practical tips to work effectively in a diverse environment.

Cross-cultural mentoring or diversity mentoring goes a step further by facilitating relationships that give employees an opportunity to personally experience the strength in differences. These mentoring relationships also give employees the space to find similarities, that they never knew existed.

If you’d like to start a diversity mentoring program from scratch or introduce cross-cultural elements into your existing mentoring program, we’d recommend an article by DiversityInc on starting a diversity mentoring program.

Here is a quick gist of DiversityInc’s tips:

  1. Start with a pilot program. Once the pilot program is successful, you can expand it.
  2. Avoid voluntary pairing. Use a web-based tool to create pairings that are as cross-functional and as cross-cultural as possible. But assess personalities to avoid “toxic pairs.”
  3. Train the mentors and mentees in aspects of cultural competence and micro-inequities, before the mentoring program begins.
  4. Set measurable goals and finite time spans.
  5. Track success.

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