3 companies showcasing successful mentorship programs

Take a page from these winning playbooks by launching a mentoring initiative of your own

Nicole Schreiber Shearer 1

By Nicole Schreiber-Shearer, Future of Work Specialist at Gloat

April 11, 2022

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When it comes to employee development, mentoring has been a mainstay for decades. Many organizations recognize that mentorship programs are a powerful way to drive skill-building and collaboration simultaneously.

Yet, too many businesses rely on obsolete mentoring tactics. Oftentimes, mentoring programs are only available to a small subsection of employees, and workers are exclusively paired with colleagues in the same business function.

While any mentorship program is a step in the right direction, there are a few approaches that are guaranteed to maximize your initiative’s impact. Rather than going through the trial and error process yourself, why not learn from the pioneering organizations that are reaping superior results from their mentorship programs?

What are mentorship programs?

Most people know that traditional mentoring programs match a more junior employee with a colleague who is further along in their career, so they can build skills and expand their network. But there are actually a few different types of mentoring that leaders should get familiar with:

  • One-on-one mentoring programs: Employees who will be sharing their skills and expertise (mentors) are matched with colleagues looking to gain experience (mentees), either through a program or on their own. Mentee-mentor pairs participate in a co-learning relationship that follows a structure and timeframe outlined by their organization.
  • Group mentoring programs: A single mentor is matched with a cohort of mentees as part of a program that is structured to provide each mentee with individualized guidance from the same mentor.
  • Reverse mentoring programs: In reverse mentoring, a junior team member exchanges skills, knowledge, and understanding with a colleague who is more senior but is looking to build capabilities in fields that the junior peer has more experience with.

The top mentoring program benefits

With the right approach, mentoring can unlock a host of benefits that will impact everything from employee engagement to revenue growth. Here are some of the most important advantages:

Boost employee retention
At this point, most leaders know that holding on to top talent is becoming increasingly challenging. Mentoring has the potential to move the needle on turnover rates, with Harvard Business Review reporting that young managers recognize the importance of co-learning programs. These employees rate mentoring as more than a 4 out of 5 when ranking the importance of career development opportunities. Unfortunately, the majority of these workers think their employers are currently falling short, given that they ranked accessibility to mentorship at just 2.5 out of 5.

Strengthen corporate culture
Launching a mentoring program can also be a game-changer when it comes to workplace culture. Mentoring empowers employees to build relationships with peers they may not normally have a chance to work with, cultivating a sense of connectivity that can span your entire organization.

Promote diversity and inclusion
Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion now sits at the top of the C-suite’s priority list, with 43% of CEOs noting that it’s high on their list of challenges. Yet, there’s still a lot of uncertainty about what it takes to level the playing field. Mentoring can be a powerful tool since programs increase the representation of typically underrepresented groups and ensure opportunities are visible to all employees so that no one gets overlooked.

Break down silos
Whether you experiment with reverse mentoring or stick with a traditional approach, every type of co-learning will promote knowledge sharing within your organization. Rather than relying on a small group of employees for critical expertise, why not encourage these highly skilled workers to share their competencies so that everyone can take advantage of them?

3 customers with top-notch mentorship programs

If you’re looking to upgrade your mentorship programs in the workplace, take a look at these engaging co-learning schemes for some inspiration:

Mastercard

Mastercard looked to mentoring as a means to break down silos and help employees connect with co-workers across the business who have similar ambitions and interests. The leading global payments technology company leveraged its talent marketplace to generate mentor pairings based on capabilities and ambitions, instead of making matches based solely on seniority.

As their Chief Talent and Organizational Effectiveness Officer, Lucrecria Borgonovo, notes, “We’ve had a number of really interesting mentoring experiences. We have been trying to demystify mentoring through our opportunity marketplace. We’re telling people that mentoring isn’t just about career advancement, we’re trying to position mentoring as more skill-based and domain knowledge-based.”

Mastercard’s mentoring program has proven to be particularly beneficial for welcoming newly acquired talent into their organization. Heather Yurko, their Vice President of Digital Talent, explains, “It was a key question for our mergers and acquisitions coming in: how can we bring new employees into Mastercard’s culture and introduce them to buddies in a meaningful way, one that’s going to match what they’re looking for?”.

 

Schneider Electric

When surveys revealed that nearly 50% of exiting employees cited subpar growth opportunities as their primary reason for leaving the business, Schneider Electric decided to take action. The leading energy enterprise launched a talent marketplace to transform internal mobility and empower its employees to take charge of their professional development.

Mentoring is a core component of internal mobility at Schneider Electric. To date, more than 7,500 workers have found mentors within the business through their talent marketplace, in turn enabling employees to build stronger connections with colleagues across the globe.

As their VP of Digital Talent Transformation, Jean Pelletier, explains, “When we saw the three action items, which were around positions, projects, and mentorships, that was the standout. I’m not sure there was anyone in the market that was leading as well as Gloat was.”

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Novartis

With a headcount that surpasses 100,000, breaking down silos is a priority for Novartis. In the past, associates struggled to gain visibility into opportunities outside of their region and function, so leaders decided to launch a mentoring program with an emphasis on cross-functional and cross-country pairings. 

The company turned to its talent marketplace to generate mentee-mentor pairs based on relevant expertise. The initiative gives associates the opportunity to build new connections and work closely with team members they may not have had a chance to meet otherwise. 

So far, more than 460 associates have been paired with a mentor within Novartis. Most of these matches connect colleagues who have never met face-to-face. In fact, 75% of all mentoring assignments are cross-functional.

 

As the race to build skills continues and the hiring landscape gets ever-more competitive, every business is vying to launch impactful initiatives that will enhance engagement and skill-building. With the right approach, mentoring can check off both of these priorities simultaneously. To learn more about one enterprise’s game-changing mentorship strategy, check out Schneider Electric’s customer story.

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