How Companies Are Using the Value of Their Own Workforce to Get Ahead
Mentorship has been around forever. In a sense, it’s the human equivalent of a mother tiger teaching her cub to hunt. But, unlike most of the animal world, human mentorship isn’t restricted to a parent teaching a child to survive.
Consider the classic pairings that modern moviegoers know and love: Obi-wan and Luke (or Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader if you favor the dark side), Gandalf and Frodo, Haymitch and Katniss. There is something very human, and very beneficial, about advising one another, and the corporate world is a great place to get started.
Immaturity is the incapacity to use one’s intelligence without the guidance of another
Benefits to Business
Successful businesses are always seeking ways to maximize profits and reduce spending. This often means adjustments such as modifying health plans, buying used equipment, or adopting energy-efficient practices. There are more creative ways to leverage your resources, however. Investing in your employees with a mentorship program can bring about substantial long-term savings to a business, and create a stronger workforce in the process.
Once again, those savvy tech folks are setting trends. A study of New York City-based tech companies conducted by Endeavor Insight found that 33% of tech startups where the founder was mentored by a top-performing entrepreneur were successful, compared to 10% of companies where the owner was on their own. Having access to experienced, professional guidance increased the likelihood of a new tech company staying afloat more than three times.
I know. These statistics are mindblowing.
That’s Lovely, But We Are Not a Tech Company
Some 71% of Fortune 500 companies also offer corporate mentorship programs to their employees. They’ve identified the value in connecting new employees to seasoned veterans.
The fiscal benefits can be substantial. Mentorship programs decrease turnover, which leads to significant savings. Employee satisfaction is also increased. Mentorship programs make employees feel valued. In turn, they feel personally more invested in the company—a top job-related priority for Millennials.
In a time when employees stay at a company an average of 4.4 years (91% of Millennials expect to stay in a job about half of that time), any increase in retention is an increase in savings. Those savings are compounded when you retain employees who, thanks to mentoring, possess a broader range of knowledge.
“More than previous generations, Gen Y workers crave the chance to contribute creatively to the company and have their ideas heard, according to survey results from Future Workplace. This helps them grow professionally in each position, which will entice them to stick around longer, since personal development is a main reason workers job hop in the first place.” – Jeanne Meister, Forbes.com
Another reason for many people spend short stints in each job is stagnation, failing to move up the corporate ladder. Mentoring brings ambitious employees together with corporate leaders who can advocate for them come promotion time. Companies save big by keep top talent in the fold, and offering a path of timely upward mobility.
It Works in Real Life
Since 2011, DHL Express has run an advanced mentoring program that allows U.S. employees to learn new skills, understand the company culture on a larger scale and develop a career path. Thanks to this program, some 60-percent of the mentees advanced their careers at the company over the course of a year.
A 2013 Vestrics study examined responses from more than 830 mentees and 670 mentors participating in Sun Microsystem’s program. Employee retention rates climbed 69% for the mentors and 72% for the mentees over the seven-year period of the study. The increased retention resulted in a savings of $6.7 billion.
It’s not just tech companies and huge corporations that benefit from mentoring. Seventy-percent of small businesses with a mentor last past the five-year mark. That is more than double the survival rate for a small business without a mentor.
Peter LaFleur could have never saved his small business, Average Joe’s, without the guidance of Patches O’Houlihan.
The value of formal mentorship does not depend on the size of the business or the industry. Mentorship has the capacity to increase success across the board.
In Part 2 of this blog, we will take a look at how to get started implementing a mentorship program.