We are mentoring advocates first – and a mentoring software company second. We would love to live in a world where every company does mentoring right. But we don’t.
In fact, mentoring is often one of those invaluable people programs that often ends up in the check-box category; implemented to fill a void or gap in an organisations people and culture quota – but never really invested in, measured, or emphasised as a tool for creating real change for employees or company.
This is a real shame. Because companies and individuals who are involved in good mentoring programs see very real and tangible results; results like increased engagement, increased satisfaction, and increased diversity.
So to give you a bit of inspiration on your way to building a better mentorship program, here are a few of the best examples of company’s doing mentoring right today.
Deloitte, the giant accounting firm, has institutionalised mentoring in a way that ensures their leadership pipeline is bursting at the seams. The name of the program, the Emerging Leaders Development Program, does exactly what it is intended to do: develop future Deloitte leaders.
Much of the strength of their program lies in its focus and commitment. According to the Deloitte website, each program participant is assigned a partner, principal, or director sponsor who commits to at least two years to help their protégées drive their own careers by helping them understand how to navigate their organisation.
Deloitte increases retention and company commitment by keeping the mentoring focused on how to further their careers, specifically at Deloitte, whilst also committing two whole years to the endeavour, fostering strong and reliable mentorships.
The programs participants are typically high-performing minority managers, which also improves the inclusivity of the program, and in-turn – inclusivity and diversity at Deloitte.
Another of the big 4 accounting firms is doing a lot right when it comes to mentoring. At least one of the channels for mentoring at KPMG revolves around the all-important CPA (Certified public accountant) exam. As an integral part of accounting – and a major part of their employees career progress and success – KPMG leverages a lot of their resources on supporting their employees before, during, and after their CPA exam. This not only helps to ensure that they are developing their employees (which results in great returns for them), but also really helps their employees, as one KPMG employee reports:
“KPMG has an exceptional pay it forward culture. At every step of the CPA process I was surrounded by colleagues and mentors who had successfully navigated the program. Their willingness to mark cases and support me along the way was phenomenal.”
The strength of this arm of KPMG’s mentoring repertoire lies in its applicability to the job, and the relevance of mentoring. KPMG mentors can speak to the CPA exam as well as anyone else, which makes their support and advice relevant and trusted.
Intel takes a slightly different approach to many other Fortune 500 companies. Rather than focus on hierarchy (connecting junior employees with senior employees), Intel focuses on specific knowledge transfer and domain skills that are in demand right now.
This philosophy is grounded by the fact that everyone has something to learn – and everyone has something to teach. Intel’s mentoring program is less formal and more embedded in the culture, resulting in more organic connections.
The strength of Intel’s mentoring program lies in its impetus; rather than a coordinator managing and overseeing the program like a hawk, employees take much of the process into their hands and take charge of their own learning. This results in more engagement with the program, as well as a deeper sense of autonomy and mastery for the employees, which serve an innovative company like Intel very well.
Zynga, a leading developer of the world’s most popular social games, has made mentoring an integral part of their onboarding and development process.
Zynga wants their new grads to be challenged and integrated into the culture – but also wants their mentors to be challenged too through reverse mentoring, with fresh new employees bringing new ideas and an outside perspective. According to their website, “Both parties work together to innovate, learn from, and challenge one another in a dynamic and stimulating environment.” The framework of Zynga’s mentoring program starts at day one – and continues to grow, “As part of our new grad program we jump start you with an intensive, weeklong boot camp that brings you up to Zynga speed. After six months, you can apply for other positions within Zynga and try a new team or even a new location.”
Their mentoring program serves as a core part of an employees entire tenure. Hires start with onboarding mentoring; transition into mentoring promoting workplace flexibility and progress; before the mentees become mentors and the whole process repeats itself in a perpetual cycle of knowledge transfer. This results in great outcomes for the company.
The secret sauce: there isn’t one
Each of these company’s mentoring programs are great examples of the type of mentoring program your company should endeavour to build. They also illustrate that each mentoring program should and will be different. Because each will align with the overall goals and culture of the company – as well as the specific goal of your people programs (succession planning, diversity and inclusion, learning and development etc.).
While there is no perfect formula for your mentoring program, these examples prove that the key to creating a good mentoring program and great employee outcomes is the same as creating a good anything: invest the necessary time, money, and effort into making it work.
Mentoring shouldn’t be a checkbox category – because it can make a real difference. You can start building an enviable mentoring program by checking out some of our best mentoring program resources.
And if you are interested in seeing how the Mentorloop platform can help you build an exemplary mentoring program, see the features here.