By Miriam Wallack
July 29, 2019
In today’s competitive job market, mentoring is one of the leading methods of retaining top talent. Mentoring has evolved into a business tool to develop and retain employees. According to Forbes, mentoring is transforming into a fundamental component of the workplace and an essential part of modern workplace culture.
Mentoring is becoming a necessity, and even an expectation, for the modern business.
With 70% of Fortune 500 companies implementing mentoring, mentoring programs are increasingly recognized as a smart business investment. Just take a look at these thriving companies that boast successful mentorship programs for their employees.
The world’s largest construction equipment manufacturer is also a leader in employee mentoring. “Mentors at Caterpillar provide guidance on almost every aspect of in-house practice such as career exploration, corporate culture, soft skills development, organizational understanding, internal enterprise awareness, work-life balance, and community knowledge” explains Jaime Myers, Caterpillar’s litigation corporate counsel. New hires receive a mentor for their first three years while all employees are granted the opportunity to rotate between departments. These programs provide employees invaluable opportunities to gain immersive experience in different fields and connect with department leaders. Tana Utley, Vice President of Caterpillar’s Large Power Systems Division, points out, “simply engaging purposefully with others in the interest of continuous improvement can spark positive growth…both personal and professional. Caterpillar is a rich source of human connection.”
In the same vein, Caterpillar also sponsors reverse mentoring, in which junior employees mentor senior employees. Utley describes, “reverse mentoring can expose more senior people to generational, geographic, gender-unique or technologically-informed perspectives that can help them better navigate our ever-evolving workplace.”
2. Schneider Electric
This leader in the energy management and automation space is paving the way for mentoring in the post-modern workplace by utilizing Artificial Intelligence to match relevant mentors with mentees. As a Fortune Global 500 company, Schneider Electric is implementing mentoring as one of the pillars of their revolutionary internal mobility program. As Andrew Saidy, VP of Talent Digitalization, explained to HR guru Josh Bersin, 47% of employees who left the company did so because they could not find any new opportunities available within the company. Mentoring is one of the company’s methods for offering employees tangible internal mobility opportunities in order to engage talent, encourage growth, and retain talented professionals.
Through InnerMobility by Gloat’s AI-powered internal digital talent marketplace, employees are matched with relevant mentors based on the goals and aspirations of the mentee and the skills and experiences of the mentor. By use of Artificial Intelligence, employees can easily find mentors who actually have the specific skills and experiences mentees are looking for. Mentorships are accessible to anyone and employees are connected from all over the world. The platform also matches employees with personalized part-time projects and full-time positions across the company based on their unique skills, experiences, interests and ambitions. According to Saidy, the platform has exploded in growth. With 140,000 employees globally, already more than 75% of employees are using the system.
3. Bain and Company
As one of the “Big Three” management consultant companies, Bain and Company is highly regarded as one of the most prestigious employers in the industry. This is reflected in the company’s prioritization on mentoring. Bain and Company’s well established mentoring programs has resulted in each of the firm’s 8,000 consultants to have a mentor. The company connects junior employees with seasoned managers for mentoring as well as provides affinity groups, such as Blacks at Bain, additional mentoring and professional development.
Over the last four years since the company increased its focus on mentorship, the number of women on Bain and Company’s leadership team has doubled. As Liz Dimmoack, founder and CEO of Women Ahead, speaks on developing a mentorship program at Bains and Company: “we passionately believe in the power of one-to-one relationships to create and drive change. And actually, in what is quite a hyperconnected, digitally connected world, we’re often quite disconnected as individuals. So mentoring and sponsorship is a really powerful way for individuals to really consider who they want to become and how they want to get there.”
4. General Electric (GE)
The Fortune 500 multinational conglomerate corporation has been a pioneer in the field of mentoring for decades. In 1999, Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, popularized the concept of reverse mentoring. This non-traditional mode of mentoring that consists of junior employees coaching senior management has yielded impressive results. According to Forbes, reverse mentoring has led the organization to achieve their strategic goals, including increasing millennial retention, promoting a competitive advantage in technological advancements, and cultivating inclusivity.
The company has continued to promote innovative mentoring programs to grow talent and increase productivity. In 2010, GE launched its Leadership in Residence Program that wields the practice of collaborative learning to inspire, connect, and develop GE’s talent. The program brings top executives to mentor and learn alongside high performing managers and employees. Raghu Krishnamoorthy, GE’s Vice President of Executive Development and Chief Learning Officer, explains to Harvard Business Review that the program has enabled “our top leaders and thousands of participants to connect on a human level and to reflect on work, self, and career in a way that would never be possible in either a traditional classroom or office setting.” He further describes, “in fostering a learning culture and deepening connections among leaders at all levels, we have found that we can drive better outcomes that accelerate individual growth and strengthen the talent pipeline.”
The company also provides targeted mentoring programs to different business units and for different groups of employees, offering the two-year Commercial Leadership Program to develop sales and marketing employees and specific programs that speak to the development goals of its millennial employees.
5. Fidelity Investments
This multinational financial services corporation has seen extraordinary results from their mentorship programs. The company offers a variety of mentorship opportunities from traditional one-on-one mentoring to digital programs to mentoring resource groups. The company strongly emphasizes career development and encourages all employees to engage in mentoring. Amy Philbrook, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Fidelity, describes, connecting colleagues through mentoring is “an evergreen part of building successful careers” at Fidelity Investments. “It’s unlikely that there’s a single leader at the company who got their position without a mentor’s help and guidance.”
Moreover, Fidelity promotes dynamic mentoring programs specifically designed to help support members of their resource groups, including the Women’s Leadership Group, Fidelity Veterans Employees, and the Asian Employee Resource Group. In fact, according to Kate Taylor, a spokeswoman for the company, “those involved in the company’s employee resource groups experience two times the mobility rate of their peers.”
The company highlights the fact that mentoring is as fundamental to the growth of a mentee as it is to the development of a mentor. Philbrook explains, “mentoring is not just for long-term career progress, it is also about building networks, acquiring specific point-in-time skills, and filling in gaps in expertise or knowledge as you progress from role to role.”
As each of these diverse companies exemplify, mentorship programs are an essential component of talent growth and retention. When mentoring programs align with the goals of a company and meet the needs of their employees, they have the power to increase productivity as well as engage and retain employees in inspiring ways.