Even if some people in your organisation have developed informal, organic mentoring relationships, it still pays to have a formal program.
While it’s great that mentoring relationships have organically blossomed in and around your organisation, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have a culture of mentoring. So while you might be thinking, ‘We don’t need to spend the time, effort, and money on a formal program,’ think again.
Here’s how you can turn those pockets of mentoring into a culture of mentoring and reap the benefits of a more formal program.
1. Optimise Existing Relationships
Making existing mentoring relationships formal can encourage mentors and mentees to devote more time to their mentoring journeys. This makes it so they both get more out of the relationship than they would if left alone.
That’s because, sometimes, organic mentoring relationships fizzle out, as was the case at EDF Energy. While there was already some mentoring going on—indicating demand—they found that it was resource-heavy to support them manually and, when left alone, these relationships had the tendency to fizzle out.
However, if these types of relationships are encouraged in the workplace, mentors and mentees are more likely to dedicate more time to mentoring, check in more regularly, and be more goal/results-oriented.
2. Measure The Impact
Organic mentoring relationships are great, but you can’t measure them. Even if you do interviews or focus group discussions, you can’t be sure you’ve accounted for everyone and don’t really have any data to measure your findings against.
A formal mentoring program, like those offered by Mentorloop, however, can help you measure mentoring success with both qualitative and quantitative data. In fact, you can use our measuring and reporting feature as mentoring happens so that you can course-correct as needed—not when a mentoring program has ended.
When EDF Energy started measuring their pilot program, they found that 98% of employees suggested EDF should continue offering the mentoring program.
3. Ensure No One Misses Out
Fortune favours the brave, sure—but sometimes that’s not fair. There can be a ton of reasons someone isn’t seeking mentorship or isn’t considered by potential mentors.
Minorities and women can get left behind—after all, 71% of mentors say that their chosen mentees are the same race and gender as they are, and one in six male managers is uncomfortable mentoring a female colleague.
Additionally, those most in need of guidance—like average performers who are more introverted or uncomfortable asking people for help in the first place—miss out when there is no formal program in place.
When EDF employees were only engaging in informal mentoring, it didn’t extend beyond a few departments and business units and there was a lack of women participating. By the end of their pilot program, however, they had representation from all business units and employee networks, including the women’s network 29%, young professionals 18%, and working parents 17%.
We all want to see more mentoring, but this simply can’t happen if we leave the program and hope it grows by itself. The only way to really build a strong culture of mentoring in your organisation is to throw support behind it, show everyone that it’s a priority, and invite people in.
EDF Energy has now expanded its mentoring program to accommodate thousands of participants across the entire organisation. The data-driven, incremental method they used to scale their mentoring program—powered by Mentorloop—ensured that quality wasn’t compromised as they offered it to more and more employees.
In fact, the overwhelming success of the pilot has encouraged the company’s Program Coordinators to explore new types of mentoring such as reverse mentoring and expand their goal to now include a more DEI focus.
Learn how to support existing mentoring relationships and ensure you can sustainably offer the opportunity to more employees with a formal mentoring program. Speak to one of our mentoring specialists today!