- Formal mentoring programs not only improve employees' professional development, but they also help achieve business goals, the Association for Talent Development (ATD) says in a new report. ATD surveyed 969 talent development professionals, 29% of whom had formal mentoring programs. Another 37% of respondents had informal programs.
- The top benefits to organizations with formal mentoring programs were higher employee engagement and retention (50%); growth support for high-potential employees (46%); and the creation of intra-organizational relationships (37%).
- Based on the study's findings, ATD recommends that employers set up a pilot program to test a formal mentoring program, pair new hires with mentors and evaluate employees' performance before and after the program to measure its effectiveness.
Mentoring programs have grown far beyond pairing an entry-level employee with a seasoned employee to help the former's career development. Mentoring has become integrated into organizations' strategic goals and measured for ROI.
Women and ethnic minorities benefit substantially from mentoring programs, according to studies. In a Heidrick & Struggles survey, 30% of women and 32% of ethnic minorities found mentoring extremely important to their careers, compared to 23% of men.
Mentoring shouldn't be confused with sponsoring, however. Mentoring is a collaborative relationship whereby the goal is to guide and advise on career strategies. Sponsoring involves providing support and endorsement.