Most people have been helped by a mentor—be it a parent, teacher, coach, professional colleague, or boss. Supporting another person’s growth and development has proven to be a timeless act that continues to shine today.
A new 2023 Mentoring Impact Report from MentorcliQ analyzed the impact of mentoring on Fortune 500 companies and found that the growth of mentoring has accelerated in recent years. The 2023 report shows that 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies offered mentoring programs, up from the 84 percent reported in the inaugural 2022 Mentoring Impact Report (a report that finally put to rest a stat from 2009 stating 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies offered mentoring).
The 2023 Mentoring Impact Report provides a fresh look at how companies fared during the Great Resignation (and before the mass tech layoffs of 2022) that became a hallmark of the waning pandemic years. The 8 percent increase in companies offering mentoring between 2022 and 2023 occurred during the height of challenging circumstances for organizations worldwide, which were all dubbed “great,” yet felt anything but.
The data analysis from MentorcliQ’s report shows that companies offering mentoring fared better on multiple fronts:
- Ninety-two percent of Fortune 500 companies offered mentoring programs.
- One hundred percent of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs.
- On average, Fortune 500 companies with mentoring programs increased their headcounts by nearly 4 percent, compared to an average decrease of 33 percent for companies without mentoring.
- Year-over-year profits increased by an average of 110 percent for companies with mentoring programs.
- Fortune 500 companies with mentoring programs and female CEOs were 42 percent more profitable than average.
As the data shows, companies without solid employee engagement strategies throughout the height of the Great Resignation found themselves shedding employees far faster than they could replace them. It’s also clear that mentoring and diversity positively affect organizations’ bottom line. That’s left many companies wondering what they can do to address these challenges and start positioning themselves for success, as evident from the Fortune 500 organizations in the report.
3 Ways Mentoring Can Address Today’s ChallengesFrom isolation and burnout to recession fears and layoffs, employees face many challenges every day. Here are three ways you can use mentoring to address common challenges in today’s workforce:
1. Re-engage your employees. A Gallup study indicated that 50 percent of workers are mentally checked out and burned out. This phenomenon has many names. Call it the engagement recession. Call it quiet quitting. Call it whatever you want, but the reality is that employers must focus on employee re-engagement strategies to help reverse this trend.
One major challenge with employee engagement occurs when organizations are forced to lay off employees, leaving a stressed workforce that becomes stretched thin and disheartened by their day-to-day work reality. As economic concerns ratchet up, organizations should look at the success of those Fortune 500 companies with mentoring programs. They have grown their headcount while other companies have shed jobs. That is telling.
By leaning into mentoring, organizations can help workers who feel overwhelmed and beaten down (often by problems completely out of their control). It can allow them to develop skills that will help them succeed, such as functional skills focused on the new day-to-day tasks they must now complete. Other skills include interpersonal skills, like mental resilience that can help them withstand the stressors of life and combat them in healthy ways.
This can also help address the autonomy and learning opportunities that Gen Z craves. And let’s be honest, the desire for autonomy is something we all can relate to, no matter our age.
2. Help build authentic connections. The 2022 global EY Belonging Barometer found that 80 percent of workers reported feeling lonely at work. This isn’t accidental or circumstantial. Our desire and pandemic-driven shift to remote flexibility is also causing a loneliness crisis as we lose connections to one another.
Building authentic connections ranks high for people no matter where or what type of work they do. If the isolation during the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we need one another. Organizations that understand the dynamic between what employees want (remote flexibility) and what employees need (engagement and connection) will find mentoring can prove effective for solving both issues.
Creating a support network at work and learning from colleagues and experts can make a difference for people as they navigate their careers and professional development. Finding people with whom they have something in common can take that to a new level, providing people with support from colleagues who know what they are going through.
As companies attempt to re-engage their employees, they can make great progress by offering regular and purposeful human-to-human contact, even in remote work environments. In addition, the personal connections that form within mentoring relationships affect organizations’ bottom line, as is evident in the research from MentorcliQ. There’s a reason mentoring has been around for millennia—it works.
3. Develop DEI-centered spaces. The drive for more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations provides a positive environment where employees can build authentic connections and re-engage in their work. Championing your organization’s affinity groups and employee resource groups by incorporating mentoring as a development tool can allow for meaningful collaboration and create a starting point for improving your organizational culture.
Employees’ experiences inside and outside of work and their overall level of engagement at work are directly related. Explicitly supporting DEI initiatives by helping people engage in mentoring helps break down barriers that can isolate people and negatively affect their career growth.
Organizations can use various mentoring structures to support DEI-centered spaces, including traditional one-to-one mentoring, group mentoring, mentoring circles, and reverse mentoring, which has grown in popularity. You could also leverage reverse diverse mentoring to bring more diverse talent into the spotlight.
The more people who have access to mentoring, the better. It gives them access to mentors, who are often leaders in the organization; learning opportunities; and key stakeholders. They will have the chance to stretch themselves and push themselves through their relationships. They will have the chance to learn and develop new skills they may otherwise have missed out on.
Mentoring MattersA 2017 ATD study called Mentoring Matters: Developing Talent With Formal Mentoring Programs found that the top benefits organizations received from mentoring programs were:
- Higher employee engagement and retention (reported by 50 percent of companies)
- Supporting growth of high-potential employees (reported by 46 percent of companies)
- Stimulating creation of intra-organizational relationships and collaboration (reported by 37 percent of companies)
- Knowledge management and transfer (reported by 37 percent of companies)
By adding strategies that help people form valuable and long-lasting relationships focused on personal and career development, organizations provide their workers with the support they need to get re-engaged. It also helps address retention, talent development, collaboration, and so much more. Now the only question is: When are you going to start mentoring?