How Can Mentoring Help Employee Retention?

low employee retention

The median number of years an employee stays with their company today is quickly dropping and fast approaching just 4 years, while 25% of millennials are planning to leave their job in the next year. Clearly, employee retention is on the decline.

Firing, hiring, onboarding, training and everything else involved with employee turnover costs our companies and our economies billions of dollars each year. In fact, in a study conducted by the Center for American Progress, the cost of losing an employee can cost anywhere from 16% of salary for hourly employees to 213% of the salary for a highly trained position.

So what can companies do to better retain good employees who otherwise wouldn’t have left? One proven strategy: build an effective and inclusive mentoring program.

How can mentoring help?

Mentoring mitigates a number of elements which result in low employee retention.

Management issues

According to studies, about 50% of employees leave their companies to get away from their bosses while 70% of workplace engagement is a variant of an employee’s relationship with their boss. What can mentoring do to help? It provides an employee with another boss – the mentor.

An employee mentor provides the mentee with a unique management-protege relationship which they can lean on and rely on. A mentor acts as a life-manager; supporting, encouraging and helping an employee through tough moments and experiences where a poor manager falls short – or maybe just doesn’t have the time. The more applicable support you can provide employees, the higher your employee retention will be.

Lack of learning and development

Another major reason for the dreaded low employee retention is a lack of learning and development opportunity. One of the major reasons we have such a fierce job-hopping economy is that young professionals really are trying to maximise their career learning and time spent in the workplace. They aren’t satisfied by decent pay or a stable job; they want to be challenged and constantly learning. In some professional industries, 26% of employees report leaving their companies because of lack of career development opportunities.

Mentoring is a quick fix. Mentoring can help to address specific workplace learning, but more importantly, addresses the employee’s need for personal growth and development. A good mentorship program will involve goal-setting, resource sharing, and action steps towards growth. All of these things, along with great career and personal advice, combine to satiate an employee’s need for ongoing learning and development much more than any course or temporary program. A good mentor is a lifelong learning tool for every individual.

Lack of feedback

Another source for low employee retention is a lack of workplace feedback, with 65% of all employees reporting that they would like to receive more feedback. Mentoring fills this void snuggly. An inherent part of all mentorships is ongoing communication and honest feedback. Mentor-mentee meetings occur frequently and involve a mentor sitting down and providing suggestions, feedback, and insights as to where the mentee (employee) is successful or has work-to-do. While not always job specific, mentoring supplements job performance reviews perfectly while occurring frequently enough to keep employees in the feedback loop.

Poor culture

And finally, poor culture is also damning in the plight for higher employee retention, with employees who give their work culture low marks being nearly 15% more likely to think about a new job than their counterparts. How does a mentoring program help create a better culture?

Well for one, it brings employees who haven’t found cultural fit off the sidelines and into the fore – or increases inclusion. Many employees struggle to find a connection to their employees and place of work because of a lack of outside-of-work interaction. A mentorship provides a platform for more intimate and personal relationships with fellow employees. A mentoring program also works to encourage diversity in gender, ethnicity – and ideas.

In addition, mentoring programs help to disseminate knowledge share throughout an organisation, improving cross-department and cross-disciplinary interaction and acknowledgement. The reasons mentoring programs work in improving company culture – and retention as a result – is that they foster human interaction and connection.

Where to start?

So by now, you realise how mentoring addresses many of the issues that lead to employee departures – and see clearly how an effective mentoring program can help with employee retention. So where do you start?

An easy starting place is a mentoring software solution like Mentorloop. Instead of playing around with spreadsheets, docs, and signup forms in an attempt to build a coherent program, turn to a cloud-based mentoring platform to serve as your program framework, efficient logistics tool for lowering the admin burden – and platform for a more engaging mentoring experience for your employees (see the benefits of mentoring software here).

We would also be more than happy to speak with you at any level regarding how to start or improve your current mentoring program.

Just shoot us an email:

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[…] that same support increases employee retention. In fact, in some professional industries, 26% of employees report leaving their companies due to a […]