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Mentoring

Mentoring: What’s the Bottom Line?

The Metrics of Mentoring

A company-wide mentoring program study was conducted in 2013 consisting of over 6,000 Sun employees for Sun Learning Services (SLS), the training organization within Sun Microsystems, and spanned seven years. All performance indicators such as employee retention, salary grade, and pay increases both for mentors and mentees showed that mentoring produced a positive impact. Retention among participants over non-participants translated into savings of $6.7 million dollars which far outweighed the $1.1 million program cost.

How to Determine Mentoring Program Costs

Program costs are one of the most obvious elements of calculating a mentoring program’s return on investment. To determine cost, one could use the formula of: (Rentention + Engagement and Advancement Performance)/Program Cost = Return on Investment. Mentoring and coaching programs should not only be preserved but improved as they are the most effective way to promote long-term learning. Seventy-one percent of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring to their employees. Mentoring provides the focus on retaining critical talent. As a result, organizations will need to look at all dimensions and put more focus on engagement as a retention strategy. So we ask the question, could your company benefit from a million dollars in savings from your mentoring program?

How to Measure Mentoring Success

Once the organization’s goals are set, use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to specify measures of success. Setting KPIs for areas such as: participant acquisition, behavior within the program or outcomes at an organizational level determines cause-and-effect of mentoring success or failure. Once your KPI’s are identified, you will need specific ways to evaluate and ensure that the best practices in the organization are identified and expanded. Make sure resources are used efficiently and effectively. For example, the VA Office of Information and Technology’s (VA OI&T) mentoring program, which Coley & Associates, Inc. manages, tracks participant behavior. In order to accomplish their succession management goal, they request regularly monitoring the participants’ meeting schedule, participants’ success in setting and achieving goals, developing rapport with their mentoring partner, and their perceived value from the mentoring experience via periodic surveys. Other corporations and organizations, such as CIGNA Corporation and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, include metrics for event and education attendance, growth in certification programs, and service and benefit usage.

How Mentoring Re-energizes Your Employees

Most mentoring incentives and benefits are discussed from the mentee’s perspective. In 1995, a former VA Mentorship Program focusing on health information managers asked mentors for their feedback. The results showed that midcareer mentors were re-invigorated by the mentoring experience. One mentor shared, “I had to do some reviewing myself, as well as confer with the supervisors who work for me—it made a nice review for me.” Another mentor shared that, “It was nice to know I made a difference.”
Other work on the topic of mentoring outcomes cite that the second most frequently positive outcome for mentors is career satisfaction, motivation or promotion. Therefore, career enhancement from mentoring is not strictly for mentees. The promotion of loyalty, empathy or team spirit among employees brings improvements in office communications and relations. While mentors contribute to a mentee’s advancement through sponsorship, the next logical step is to ramp up employee engagement strategies by making all employees part of the decision-making process.

What Can be Achieved With a Good Mentoring Program?

Organizations commonly use mentoring to support highly engaged individuals who are being fast tracked into more senior leadership roles, particularly as it focuses on development of the whole person and has a broader scope than coaching. Engaged employees are more likely to support necessary organizational changes when they have a broad range of experiences and a goal of promotion.
A facilitated mentoring process results in:

  • Increased awareness for managers of employees’ caliber and core competencies, as well as the available talent pool
  • Higher ratings on evaluations of supervisors by direct reports
  • Increased number of cross-functional transfers
  • Increased skills by an average of 61 percent in 11 job-essential skill levels
  • Gains in 9 of 11 generic career and life-effectiveness skills after 13 months
  • Greater knowledge of the organization and other divisions within it
  • Increased retention of the best and brightest people

By understanding the impact and where to optimize metrics, your organization’s decision makers can make knowledgeable resolutions about where their investments will provide the greatest benefit. As businesses continue to change, it will be important for proactive companies to improve their diversity and harassment prevention training, develop translator resources and integrate cultural competence into their leadership and mentoring programs. Changes brought on by technology have a significant impact on the future workplace. Jobs that leverage human qualities, skills, and technology can continue to benefit from these documented metrics and see their employees become nurtured through prescribed mentoring solutions.

Photo credit: nealstimler via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

By Janet Williams

As Director of Human Capital and Performance Consulting for Coley & Associates, Dr. Janet E. Williams provides Government clients and commercial companies insight on how to leverage resources and maximize services for improvements to company operations. She specializes in mentoring, progressive management process improvements, accountability and control, revenue enhancements, and other organizational change methods. For almost 20 years, Dr. Williams worked in government and head an Emerging Leaders Program for mentoring youth. Janet holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Hampton University a MBA from Troy State University, and her doctorate in Public Policy and Leadership from Walden University.

6 replies on “Mentoring: What’s the Bottom Line?”

Mentoring is an extremely effective, yet underutilized tool. Most companies don’t see mentoring as a benefit, but they should. Mentoring, when done well, helps shape the development of entry level and junior employees by providing a consistent method for training and grooming younger and/or less experienced team members. A successful mentoring program should have mentors that bring a variety of backgrounds and experience. Mentors can also play a critical role in retention by making the transition into a new job less stressful. Mentoring can aid in succession planning by ensuring that the next generation of employees are well equipped to assume higher levels of responsibility as older employees retire.

Ms. Huggins (Michelle), its unfortunate that mentoring is underutilized, we here at Coley & Associates believe it is time for individuals and organizations to look at possible new ways of applying the concept with innovative solutions. I completely agree with your comments on mentoring, and would like to just add a vital point. Unlike other relationships that we will form in our lives, mentoring requires a sustained and relatively intensive commitment for success. Mentoring can be used specifically and separately as a form of long term tailored development for the individual which brings benefits to the organization and the individual in their future relationships. Again, thank you for not only reviewing the post closely, but also sharing your insights on its value, which is much appreciated.

This is a very interesting take on Mentoring. I never realized so much thought went into the subject. I found this article to be very well articulated and I look forward to reading more about the topic.

Ms. Sheena it is nice to hear from you again, which let’s me know our blogs are reaching out to you with interest and insight. We enjoy sharing commentary on the concept of mentoring, because our organization (Coley & Associates) is seeking to move the narrative and viewpoint on how individuals perceive its value. Thank you for continuing to follow us as we seek to enlighten you and help you grow.

Mentoring is an extremely effective, yet underutilized tool. Most companies don’t see mentoring as a benefit, but they should. Mentoring, when done well, helps shape the development of entry level and junior employees by providing a consistent method for training and grooming younger and/or less experienced team members. A successful mentoring program should have mentors that bring a variety of backgrounds and experience. Mentors can also play a critical role in retention by making the transition into a new job less stressful. Mentoring can aid in succession planning by ensuring that the next generation of employees are well equipped to assume higher levels of responsibility as older employees retire.

Kimberley, thank you for replying to our post with your insightful and accurate perspective. We sometimes become aware of individuals that enjoy the mentoring process, but may not want to be fully engaged with the mentoring relationship. As a result, I would like to introduce and share the concept of “contributor” to the mentoring process, since I believe these individuals can also pay a critical role in making mentoring successful.

The Contributor can be a member of the organization and may also act as a subject matter expert on specific details in the communities of practice that the mentor or mentee may need as well as other employees in the organization. Many times, contributors, utilizing the mentoring solution are heavily engaged in the success of the mentoring process and will have the necessary tools to utilize resources, engage in community conversations, and request to be a part of forums for discussion. I believe that those we leave outside of the mentoring process, may not be fully supportive and celebrate and promote the success occurring.

Consider broadening the concept of mentor/mentee relationships by inviting individuals in the organization to take on the role of contributors. I believe herein lies an opportunity to change the narrative on how mentoring is applied. Again thank you, for sharing your viewpoints, and continue to follow our blog, as we offer solutions to make the mentoring process rich and rewarding.

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