Want to reduce turnover in your organization? Meet your DEIB goals? Create a better employee experience? Support talent from underrepresented communities? Have an easier time recruiting Gen Z talent? Your organization can accomplish all of this and more through one strategy: mentorship.
Providing mentorship to early career talent not only creates a supportive work culture where these employees can learn and grow, but it can also go a long way toward fostering an employer brand that values diversity and inclusion, as well as overall employee satisfaction.
Mentorship is also a tool for boosting retention. According to Gallup, organizations around the country lose $1 trillion annually because of turnover.
No, you didn’t misread that—$1 trillion.
More astonishing is the fact that these workers could have been retained if only companies had taken action. Gallup’s survey found that 52 percent of workers who quit their jobs said their former employers could have prevented them from leaving if they had intervened. For example, 51 percent revealed their manager showed no interest in employee satisfaction and had not discussed their experience or future at the organization at all in the three months prior to them quitting.
Your organization doesn’t have to make these mistakes. By creating a work culture that values mentorship, you can make your employees happy while saving the money you would have spent on replacing them.
Benefits of Mentorship in Employee Attraction and Retention
When companies adopt a mentorship practice, they reap many benefits that aid in the attraction and retention of talent. The following are some reasons why.
1. Promoting Career Development
During the mentoring process, mentees learn about their position, company, and industry while hearing their mentor’s own experiences in obtaining career success. This learning not only benefits the mentee, it also benefits the organization because mentoring makes it easier to retain employees: Gartner reports that when an organization has a mentorship program, there is a 72 percent retention rate for mentees compared to the 49 percent for those who don’t participate in mentoring.
And mentoring is not a one-way relationship: Mentors also reap benefits from lending their knowledge to younger workers. In fact, Gartner also found that people who mentor others actually earn more money than those who don't, with 28 percent of mentors increasing their salary grade, while only 5 percent of non-mentors accomplish this. Mentors are also significantly more likely to be promoted than non-mentors.
Also, mentors can learn from their mentees, since young professionals come into the workplace with fresh perspectives and technological expertise that can benefit their older counterparts. As a result, mentorship becomes a cyclical professional development strategy that your whole organization can benefit from.
2. Promoting DEI
If you have a diversity recruitment plan in place, or you're thinking about establishing one, a mentorship program can help you reach your goals. Talent from underserved communities and their allies alike want to work for companies that value diversity, equity, and inclusion—and having a mentorship program helps to increase the representation in a company, which means mentorship actually facilitates hiring of workers from all demographics.
Although having a formal mentoring program can be beneficial for workers, keep in mind that mentoring can take place at any time. Companies can foster a culture of mentorship where seasoned professionals regularly share their experience and knowledge with younger colleagues, so there’s a steady accumulation of information circulating that can help early in career talent grow. Also, by establishing employee resource groups, workers from underrepresented backgrounds can get together with like-minded peers who share their lived experiences. This helps employees bond with those who understand them most, and early career professionals can learn how experienced employees have overcome obstacles to succeed.
3. Prioritizing Good Mental Health
Mental health in the workplace has been on everyone’s mind in recent years, but it seems that Gen Z workers bear the brunt of the issues that lead to poor mental health. A survey by the American Psychological Association found 27 percent of Gen Zers report that their mental health is fair or poor—a much higher percentage than Millennials (15 percent) and Gen Xers (13 percent). There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is Gen Z’s concerns about their careers.
Deloitte reports that some of the biggest stressors Gen Z talent have are related to the future of their careers and their ability to earn a good living in the long term. Mentorship can help alleviate this worry because it positions workers to increase their career advancement and salary potential, as well as give them a clear path they can travel to get where they want to go professionally.
Although early career talent comes to the workplace with valuable knowledge and skills that organizations need, they also have a strong desire to learn and grow—and offering mentorship is a great way to help them do that while demonstrating you actually care about their future. This coupled with the benefits to mentors, as well as organizations as a whole, makes a good business case for starting a mentorship program and encouraging employees to mentor each other on a more informal basis.