Women-led mentoring leads to an increase in the bottom line

December 17, 2015

Today, women comprise almost half of the workforce. Women are a strong force in the economy. However, according to a recent CNN Money Analysis article Still Missing: Female Business Leaders “only 14.2% of the top five leadership positions at the companies in the S&P 500 are held by women. It's even worse if you just consider the very top. Out of 500 companies, there are only 24 female CEOs.”

For so few who make it to the top of their field, it is a long, hard climb. Mentorship is especially important for women’s success because they often have difficulty building social capital at work, particularly in industries and at levels where there are fewer women.

A Global Study of Businesswomen and Mentoring released in March 2014 by Development Dimensions International (DDI) surveyed 318 women executives and found the following:

  • 78 percent of women in senior roles have served as formal mentors at one time or another, but 63 percent haven’t had mentors themselves.
  • 54 percent reported that they have only been asked to be a mentor a few times or less in their career, while 20 percent reported they have never been asked.
  • 71 percent of respondents reported that they always accept invitations to be formal mentors at work.

Diversity has a positive impact on results

The best case for bringing gender diversity into the C-Suite is made by cold, hard results. A recent NY Times article published in April 2015 entitled Female Board Members Are Good for Business states: “The business case for women’s representation on corporate boards is clear and well-documented. In a series of studies conducted since 2004, we found that Fortune 500 companies with the most women on their board of directors financially outperformed, on average, those with the fewest women on their boards. Many other studies, including from McKinsey and Credit Suisse, have since demonstrated positive business outcomes associated with a higher representation of women in the boardroom.”

In other words, having leaders with diverse experiences and backgrounds often translates to financial success. That's largely due to the fact that women bring different skills than men and that can lead to more thoughtful deliberations about risk-taking. 

Since there is a growing body of evidence showing how a gender-diversified C-suite can have positive impacts on the bottom line this makes mentorship vital for businesses.

 

Women’s participation in mentoring

Women who participate in mentoring stress the importance of maintaining established relationships due to the positive contributions reflected in their professional and personal growth and development (Browder, 2011) 

Mentoring isn’t only about boosting careers, and it’s not just the women who are mentored that benefit. Mentoring helps retain the experience and knowledge gained from longer-term employees. The exchange of knowledge and experience that informs mentees also helps put mentors in touch with other parts of the organization.

Successful women understand the importance of having a mentor.   A formal program also helps ensure that mentor relationships include a sponsorship component for women. Hopefully, the result will be more equitable development—with more equitable promotions.

 For more reading on this subject and further detail on how mentoring is a strategy behind a stronger bottom line go to Diversity Strategically and Sustainably for Real Business Results

For a copy of our recent survey on measuring the effectiveness of your mentoring program and for building a business case for mentoring in your firm click on this link. http://info.insala.com/mentoring-benchmarking-survey-report.

 

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