How to Improve Employee Engagement with Mentorship 

You’ve crunched the numbers and analyzed the data. More employees are leaving your organization now compared to prior years. You have an engagement and retention strategy in place, but why are workers leaving and what can you do about it? 

This is not a new issue, but it’s a growing issue for many organizations. Low employee engagement and retention costs billions each year.  

Not all turnover is bad. Disengaged employees usually don’t have a positive outlook and aren’t helping their teams nor the organization. But they didn’t always feel that way.  

What Drives Employee Engagement? 

Employee engagement is the level of commitment and employee has to their organization and its goals. It takes more than receiving a paycheck for employees to develop a strong level of commitment to their organization. SHRM has identified organizational and management drivers of engagement. Some of these include: 

  • Leaders’ commitment to making the organization a great place to work. 
  • Organizational investment in employee success 
  • Employee’s sense of belonging
  • An understanding the employees are the organization’s greatest asset 
  • Access to necessary equipment and obtaining authority to do job well. 

These concepts should be considered when developing and engagement plan or reassessing an existing one.   

While reasons employees leave are sometimes out of the organization’s hands, it’s widely understood the influence employee engagement has on employee retention. Organizations have control over many aspects that drive engagement and their engagement plan shows the level of commitment to making the organization a great place to work.  

Engagement strategies are strongly tied to the organization’s values and culture. Therefore, effective engagement programs should be actioned from the very beginning of an employee’s experience to have an impact. 

Mentoring, an effective element of many employee engagement plans, is the creation of a relationship where the need for knowledge sharing is recognized. Mentorship supports multiple drivers of engagement mentioned above and positively impacts employee engagement and retention. 

4 ways mentorship improves employee engagement   

  1. Enhances onboarding 
    Employees stick with companies that care about them; prioritizing onboarding shows the organization cares about the employee experience from day one. Effective onboarding contributes to greater job satisfaction, less time to productivity, and longer retention.  
     
    What better way to learn the ropes of a new organization than under the wing of a mentor? Pairing new recruits with tenured, enthusiastic employees during the onboarding period promotes a culture of teamwork and collaboration. Additionally, the new hire has a chance to get settled in and gain a sense of belonging and purpose in their role.

  2. Improves team culture 
    Effective mentorship programs are rooted in a strong sense of mentoring culture and teamwork. Mentoring promotes authenticity and a positive disposition towards ongoing learning and development. When these values are a core piece of the company culture, they’re mirrored in team culture.  
     
    Modern mentoring practices, including group mentoring, have gained traction over the past few years. In group mentoring, a team of mentees and mentor(s) work together to achieve development goals. Through this mentorship practice, participants gain a greater sense of empathy, understanding of perspectives, and trust for mentoring partners which carries over into day-to-day work life.  
     
    Studies reveal that a strong sense of belonging on teams and at organizations leads to higher rates of job satisfaction. This translates into greater job performance and increased rates of retention.

  3. Investing in employee wellbeing and development
    94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. Well executed mentorship programs, require strategic planning and ongoing attention. By prioritizing mentoring, organizations are investing in employees and ensuring they have all the necessary resources to perform their job well.

    Mentoring programs support a variety of organizational objectives and programs that contribute to supporting employee wellbeing alongside career development. Some examples include mentorships for:

    Onboarding

    Returnships

    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    Leadership Development

  4. Internal mobility and career growth
    Gallup reports that the number one reason for job change is career growth opportunities. While simply participating in a mentorship program does not guarantee a promotion, it enables mentees to drive career development. Mentees work with their mentor to discover potential career paths and fill skills and knowledge gaps that can help them get to the next level.

    9 in 10 organizations are having trouble filling open positions in 2021. Providing opportunities for employees to develop their skills and prepare for career advancement is a win-win for individuals and employers alike. Focusing on internal mobility increases employee retention, protecting your most important asset, your workforce.  

The Insala team is dedicated to enabling organizations to support and engage employees throughout the employee lifecycle. We apply our decades of mentoring experience to help you develop, engage, and retain your talent. Book a demo today to learn how to implement a mentoring program or take your program to the next level with software.   

Judy is the Director of Consulting and Mentoring at Insala. She has over 30 years of experience providing customized human resources consulting services to medium to large organizations across a variety of industries. In the area of mentoring, Judy has designed and delivered workshops, training, and a complete mentoring methodology. Judy’s mentoring process is the foundation of Insala’s mentoring solution we know today. Her thought leadership articles have been published in journals such as The Diversity Journal and Industrial and Commercial Training and she has spoken at many conferences throughout her career.

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