A company’s success depends on its people. For an organization to prosper in the long term, they need a workforce that’s engaged, agile and equipped with the right skills.
To get to that state, companies need to hire the right people and ensure that those people are in a position to do (and want to do) their best work. That requires building a supportive culture that encourages continuous learning and development.
Enterprise mentoring is a tool that can help a company get there.
What is Enterprise Mentoring?
Enterprise mentoring refers to a mentoring program that occurs internally and across a company. That is, the mentors and the mentees work for the same organization.
Enterprise mentoring can be especially useful in industries facing a skills gap or experiencing high turnover—such as software, information technology, healthcare, manufacturing and energy/utility. Provided companies are intentional about designing and implementing an initiative tailored to their goals, it can go a long way in alleviating the issues above.
Benefits of Enterprise Mentoring
There are many benefits enterprise mentoring brings to an organization, some of which are as follows:
- Improved employee retention and engagement
According to a 2022 Gallup Center For Black Voices survey, employees with mentors and sponsors are twice as likely to be engaged at work. According to another Gallup survey, teams and organizations with low engagement levels had an 18 to 43 percent higher turnover rate than those with high levels of engagement.
- Increased productivity and performance
An enterprise mentoring program allows employees to be exposed to different viewpoints and methods of working. Mentees can then take those learnings in their day-to-day roles to improve their competency and performance.
- Enhanced leadership skills and career development
Enterprise mentoring also provides employees the opportunity to develop leadership skills before becoming leaders. It can also act as a tool to encourage employees to grow in their careers and in turn, the organization.
- Enhanced knowledge transfer and skills development
Companies that face the issues of skills shortage can use enterprise mentoring as a way to facilitate knowledge transfer and upskilling employees. Pairing an experienced employee with a newer employee as mentor and mentees, for example, provides a framework for passing institutional knowledge, while mentoring circles provide employees the opportunity to learn a specific skill.
The Role of Mentors and Mentees in Enterprise Mentoring
A successful enterprise mentoring program can only be as successful as its mentors and mentees. To get the most out of the relationship, mentors and mentees need to be aligned in their expectations and objectives, but also willing to adapt to changing circumstances.
A successful mentoring relationship also has the following elements:
- Mutual respect
Every professional relationship, no wonder what format, needs to be grounded in mutual respect. This is the foundation that allows the two parties to learn from each other
- Trust and honesty
A mentoring relationship is ultimately about support, which sometimes requires holding spaces for vulnerability. That requires a sense of trust and honesty between both parties.
- Active line of communication
In any relationship, conflict and misunderstandings are inevitable. Keeping an active line of communication gives the party a chance to get back to a mutual state of understanding if conflicts and misunderstandings arise.
- Structure and consistency
Every mentor/mentee relationship will look different, but structure and consistency are important. Without it, it’s too easy for the relationship to fizzle out and not serve any purpose.
- Commitment to do the work
Lastly, both mentors and mentees are responsible for acting in line with the expectations they set at the beginning of their relationship. That requires both parties to be committed to their roles, whether that’s listening or doing the necessary preparation before their meetings.
Implementing an Effective Enterprise Mentoring Program
There are also many things that organizations can do to maximize the success of an enterprise mentoring program before, during, and after the launch of the initiative.
Establishing Program Goals and Objectives
Firstly, it’s crucial to define what the organization hopes to get out of the mentorship program. Is it to fill skills shortages they’re starting to see? Do they want to bolster leadership representation among underrepresented groups? Whatever the goals or objectives may be, it should shape how they ultimately want their enterprise mentoring initiative to look like.
Creating a Program Structure and Guidelines
The next step is to create a structure, guideline, or framework that aligns with those goals. No mentor/mentee relationship will, or should, look the same, so it’s crucial that within these structures, there is room for the participants to modify according to their needs and preferences.
Selecting and Matching Mentors and Mentees
Once a framework is in place that mentors and mentees can refer to, the next step is to match mentors and mentees according to their goals, skills, and expectations. When both parties are equally invested in the relationship, they’re more likely to put in the work as mentors and mentees, and those benefits can translate to their day-to-day roles.
Providing Training and Support for Mentors and Mentees
Mentors and mentees will run into challenges. It’s not a question of if, but when. Companies must provide training and support systems so that participants feel supported and empowered to address issues as they arise.
Challenges in Enterprise Mentoring
Introducing any new initiative always comes with potential challenges and barriers, but that doesn’t mean the company can’t prepare for it. Here are a few steps that organizations should take before introducing an enterprise mentoring program:
- Addressing diversity and inclusion
Enterprise mentoring can be an effective tool to improve diversity and inclusion in a company if a company takes the effort to embed from the beginning. That means ensuring that the opportunity is accessible to employees of all levels and backgrounds and changing practices that (intentionally or unintentionally) exclude employees from a certain group.
- Ensuring program sustainability
When a company starts an enterprise mentoring program, there’s someone likely spearheading the process. There must be a system or procedure in place if the person in charge leaves the company so that the program can continue beyond their tenure.
- Gaining leadership/stakeholder buy-in
In order to launch a successful enterprise mentoring program, you must get leadership buy-in. This means showcasing the benefits of mentoring as it applies to the organization’s goals and employee development. Follow this pitching format to set yourself up for success.
- Promoting the program, ensuring participation
Once companies get the green light from leadership to launch their enterprise programs, they promote the program to a targeted group of employees, showcasing benefits, providing incentives and sharing success stories to encourage participation.
Measuring the Success of Enterprise Mentoring Programs
Even with the best planning and intention, it will take some trial and error before landing on a program that works for the company.
Organizations can accelerate this process by having a system to evaluate an enterprise mentoring program’s impact on the company across multiple facets. Doing this requires the company to collect data and use that to make any necessary improvements to the program.
They can do this by engaging the enterprise mentoring participants in regular feedback and surveys and tools like mentoring software to measure specific ROI metrics.
Jumpstart Your Enterprise Mentoring Program with Chronus
In a labor market of high turnovers and skill shortages, implementing an enterprise mentoring program in your workplace can go a long way in alleviating the negative impact that this can have on organizations. A successful enterprise mentoring program can improve employee engagement, reduce turnover, upskill employees, improve productivity and ultimately the company’s bottom line.
To maximize the success of the program (as well as the individual mentoring relationships), organizations need to track what’s working and what doesn’t and adjust as they see fit. Chronus mentoring software can help companies do just that. The software is equipped with AI-matching technology and can pair the right mentors with the right mentee. In addition, it also provides impact reports that track tangible returns a company mentoring program brings.
Chronus can also help the company with the administrative and logistical aspects of enterprise mentoring, freeing up time for the company to focus on what’s most important to them.
Be sure to invest in your people and your organization. Start today!