Mentoring: Current Trends

November 16, 2007
As organizations race to compete in our increasingly complex and global economy, they are redefining traditional strategies supporting their most important asset – their human capital. Mentoring, an effective talent development strategy, is the focus of this article.

Mentoring - A Definition

The earliest definitions characterize “mentoring” as a sustained relationship between a younger, less experienced individual (protégé) and an older, more experienced individual (mentor) dedicated to achieving long term success and fulfillment. In light of current trends, however, this definition is quickly becoming refigured.

Mentoring - Current Trends

Formalized Mentoring Programs on the Rise

Consider the following statistics:
  • 71% of Fortune 500 companies have a mentoring program (Lydell Bridgeford, August 1, 2007)
  • 69% of surveyed companies, representing a wide variety of industries, have formal mentoring programs, and of those, 74% have mentoring programs dedicated to women (Catalyst, 2006)
  • 60% of UK business leaders have had a mentor, and of these, 97% said they had benefited from the advice given (DDI, 2005)
  • 47% of organizations recently surveyed have mentoring programs (The Institute for Corporate Productivity, 2007)

Mentoring Programs Produce Positive Outcomes

A recent meta-study of 151 studies on mentoring and found that over 90% reported evidence of positive outcomes from mentoring programs (B.C. Hansford, L.C. Ehrich and L. Tennent, 2003).

Mentoring Increases: Salaries, Promotions, and Retention

A comprehensive study in 2006 by Gartner, a Connecticut-based research firm of over 1,000 workers over a 5 year period, revealed the following benefits of mentoring:
  • 25% of employees who enrolled in a mentoring program had a salary-grade change, while only 5% of workers who did not participate in a mentoring program had a change
  • Mentors were promoted 6 times more often than those not in a mentoring program
  • Mentees were promoted 5 times more often than those not in a mentoring program
  • Retention rates also were higher for both mentees (72%) and mentors (69%) than for employees who did not participate in a mentoring program

Additional research supports these findings:
  • Mentees experience higher career satisfaction, career commitment, career mobility, and positive job attitudes (B.R. Ragins, J.L. Cotton, and J.S. Miller, J.S, 2002).
  • Mentoring also benefits the organization by reducing turnover, increasing organizational commitment, promoting knowledge sharing and retention, and enabling early identification of top talent (C. Gibb, 1999, and G.L. Lewis 1996)

The Changing Face of Mentoring

The old model of “your boss is your mentor” has gone by the wayside. The following are new and innovative approaches being reported:
  • Short-term, goal-oriented mentoring – focuses on specific goals for a set time limit
  • Peer-to-peer mentoring – pairs young employees with each other
  • Speed mentoring – time-limited meetings (usually 1 hour) where a mentee is matched with a mentor focusing on quick-hit information and networking
  • E-mentoring – virtual mentoring done through email where a mentee is matched with a mentor
  • Reverse mentoring – matches senior executives (the mentees) with younger people (the mentors) to help them stay up to date in a fast-changing world
    (Patricia Kitchen, “Mentors' odyssey picks up a thoroughly modern pace,” CHANGING @ WORK, November 2005)
  • Job-Fit Related mentoring – fitting specific mentors to particular jobs
    (Evan Offsteing, Jason Morwick, and Amit Shah, “Mentoring Programs and Jobs: A Contingency Approach,” Review of Business, 2007)
  • Mutual Learning, Adaptation and Change – focus on learning partnership leading to mutual growth and development
    (Neil Katz, “Enhancing effectiveness in mentoring,” Nation’s Cities Weekly, February 2007)

Organizations should use a comprehensive approach when creating a mentoring program or updating an existing one. Insala provides mentoring consulting, mentoring training, and mentoring software solutions to ensure the success of your organization's mentoring program.

Learn more about how your organization can benefit from mentoring programs.

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