Mentoring programmes are set to ramp up professional development in organisations

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, join New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) on a visit to Pillars, a charity operating across New Zealand that supports children who have a parent in prison by providing special mentoring schemes in Auckland in 2018.

By U2B Staff 

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The benefits of mentoring programmes for professional development have long been documented. Reports note that mentors can help mentees develop in various areas, be it in helping them carve long-term career goals, grow their network and/or overcome challenges with their role, to name a few.  

Research has shown that 70% of Fortune 500 companies have some form of mentoring programme. They have numerous objectives, such as promoting and improving diversity, helping new hires adjust to new roles or developing high potential employees.

Studies have found that mentorship programmes can boost the representation of black, Hispanic, and Asian American women, and Hispanic and Asian-American men at manager levels by 9 to 24%.


Companies tap into the benefits of mentoring

Companies like PayPal have formal mentoring programmes. One of them, called the Mosaic programme, organises networking events and group mentoring sessions. Here, employees can pick their mentor and build a relationship with that person.

A TechRepublic report said Mosaic rolled out a new group mentoring track last month designed specifically for people at the director level and above. This programme gives an opportunity for women at the vice president level and above to mentor PayPal’s employees in mid level roles.

Participants have reported to benefit from professional growth and development by learning from other women at PayPal. 

Not all mentoring programmes are conducted formally in the workplace. 

Rebecca Teeters, director of strategy and execution for the enterprise operation for 3M, said mentoring at 3M is informal and an important part of the company’s values, reported TechRepublic.

“We encourage everyone at the company to reach out and make connections with people that resonate with them and we give our direct reports guidance about who to connect with,” she was quoted saying. 

“We are a science company and we are naturally attuned to knowledge sharing, it’s part of our culture.”

One of her experiences included working with the vice president of marketing for the company’s consumer marketing group and learning how marketing concepts are developed, while she has also led people to mentors. 

“I try to connect them with people who have had that experience so that person can share their wisdom with people who are hoping to go through the same process,” she said.

3M also does “reverse mentoring” where they pair a senior leader with a new hire.  

It’s unsurprising why many organisations around the world use or encourage mentoring programmes – whether formally or informally – to foster staff’s professional development.


Mentorships for professional development 

For those who want to implement a mentoring programme in the workplace, there are many things to think about, including its objectives, whether to have a formal or informal programme to finding mentors who are willing to commit their time and share their expertise with mentees. 

Many potential mentors may include mid-level to senior management staff. However, senior staff who may be experts in their field aren’t necessarily born to be great mentors, and as such, will benefit from training, especially in soft skills.

There are various training programmes available, including certificate, diploma and online courses. 

For instance, Reed.co.uk offers an online Mentoring for Mentors course to help people to clarify their own thoughts on the process and develop a model of mentoring that suits their specific context. The course also provides opportunities to tune up the necessary interpersonal skills that are essential for successful mentoring. 

For something more in-depth, professionals might want to consider a Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring course, which provides in-depth skills, knowledge and understanding of coaching and mentoring tools, theory and methodologies that helps learners build all the skills required for professional practical in any sector.

Without a doubt, when done right, mentorship programmes can be great for employees’ professional development.