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 How Mentoring Helps to Attract, Develop, and Retain Your Talent

Change is in the air!  New generations of employees are in the workforce.  Technology continues to morph into many new forms with more data available than we know what to do with.  Companies are competing on a global front.  The pressures to produce, be innovative, and control costs and margins have grown exponentially.

A key issue that underlies all these challenges is the need to attract, develop, and retain our talent.  Employees need more and are demanding more support from their leaders than ever before.  One powerful tool that we have, which will enable us to remain competitive and effectively manage our talent, is mentoring.

Studies have proven that companies who have mentoring programs in place, reported:  1) increased retention of employees; 2) improved leadership and managerial skills; 3) augmented technical knowledge; and 4) enhanced career development.

Mentoring is a strategic approach used to develop employees.  It pairs a mentee with a more experienced person who will teach, coach, counsel, encourage, share expertise, and share resources.  In order for mentoring to be successful, the unique culture and objectives of the organization must be embedded into the program.

Mentoring is not meant to be used to correct performance, guarantee advancement in pay or position, or train on basic skills.  Mentoring programs must be tied to strategic business initiatives, promote employee development, and support leadership, professional, and technical talent pipelines.  Mentoring programs are taking the front row in organizations today and are being used to meet the changing demands of the workforce for growth and development. The positive implications are numerous.

Companies with Mentor Programs attract key talent who have critical skills that will help the organization meet their key business objectives.  Millennials, who crave continuous feedback, personal and professional development, and future opportunities are attracted to organizations that have mentoring programs.  Such programs cause employees to come to the organization, develop themselves, take advantage of growth opportunities and stay for a longer period of time.

Mentoring can take on a formal or informal approach.  It is best when the mentor is not the employee’s direct manager.  It is about relationships and is focused on professional development.  To ensure success, goals should be identified, outcomes measured, mentors/mentees carefully matched and feedback given regularly.  The interest of the mentor is focused on providing professional and personal support to the mentee.  Confidentiality is a must!  The mentee must show the desire, commitment and initiative to expand and develop his/her career goals by listening and learning to his/her trusted mentor.

Traditional mentoring, peer to peer mentoring, and reverse mentoring are all great options for mentoring programs.  The final consideration is to decide on a roll out strategy that fits your culture.

Mentoring is good for the employee, the mentor, and the organization.  As a result of your efforts, you will see increased employee engagement and retention of your workforce.  You will also build bench strength and the organization’s talent pipeline. Why not start now?

Author

Susan Gervasi, Senior OD Consultant, HR Talent Pro and Lead Facilitator, Institute of Organization Development. She can be reached at susan_gervasi@yahoo.com.

Additional Information

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