ATD Blog

5 Mentoring Success Stories

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Building and launching mentoring programs can seem daunting. Where do you start? How do you evaluate success? Who should be involved? You can feel paralyzed before even beginning the journey to incorporating mentoring into your organization. 

Yet despite the initial challenges, mentoring programs are increasing in popularity, with more than two-thirds of top executives reporting to have a mentor. This isn’t surprising given that mentoring has been linked to people earning more money at a younger age and increased happiness with career progression.  

In a recent survey of senior leaders conducted by ATD Research, most participants indicated interest in reading more case studies on mentoring. Luckily, ATD Research has developed a suite of case studies available for all ATD members free of charge—many feature mentoring and how to incorporate mentoring relationships into your training programs.  

Here are five of our favorites: 

Cardinal Health: Building the Foundation for a Company-Wide Mentorship Program

In 2013, Cardinal Health identified mentorship as an area where it could expand and improve the effectiveness of employee development opportunities. Cardinal Health already had several mentorship programs in place to help connect employees across functional areas, but these groups were isolated or informal in nature. They struggled with unclear goals, a lack of resources to facilitate effective conversations, and little collaboration between programs. 

To overcome these issues, the talent development team built the foundation for a formal company-wide mentorship program that would assign, support, and track mentoring relationships for employees at all levels. Ideally, this would result in less administrative burden and more frequent and effective mentoring relationships. An effective relationship was defined as one that improved participants’ ability to give and receive feedback. 


Genpact: An Integration Program to Onboard New Executives

In 2011, Genpact, a global leader in digitally powered business process management and services, needed to hire outside executives. Advances in technology had changed its market; to keep growing, the company needed new technical expertise from its leaders. The new executives entered a buddy relationship, meaning that they were paired with an executive-level peer with more experience working at Genpact to guide them through their first year on the job. The buddy relationship would help the new leaders build strong social networks at Genpact. 

Cerner: Using Progressive Onboarding Programs to Launch Employee Performance

Onboarding of new associates has been a key focus area for learning, and software engineering onboarding in particular has been a challenge given rapidly changing technology. In 2012, Michelle Brush, then software engineer velocity program instructor and now engineering director, realized engineering onboarding needed to be modernized. To better help new hires transition to the work at Cerner, participants were connected with mentors to help guide them on low-risk projects.  


Zurich: Mastering Customer Service Training

In 2013, after reviewing industry benchmarking data that showed Zurich had room to improve the client experience, Zurich developed and deployed Mastering Service Excellence (MSE). The program seeks to develop the skills and capabilities of customer-facing employees to achieve service excellence. MSE would ideally prepare employees to proactively propose customer solutions and provide a better overall client experience. Program participants worked with peer mentors to test their new skill sets and worked together toward program completion.  

Cigna: Building Doctors' Leadership Behaviors

Cigna’s corporate university set itself apart in 2013 by launching the Physician Leadership Development Program (PLDP). PLDP aimed to help a select group of doctors evolve into leaders by developing their business acumen and interpersonal, leadership, and networking skills. In addition to formal learning events, the physicians participated in peer learning and group mentoring throughout PLDP. They were divided into four groups of five, called pods. Each group received a sponsor, chosen from among the senior leaders who facilitated sessions at the formal learning events. 

Ready for more? Check out our full suite of case studies by visiting

About the Author

Clara Von Ins is the Human Capital Specialist at the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Prior to working for ATD, Clara worked for the American Red Cross as the disaster program coordinator in Santa Barbara, California.

Clara received an bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University in psychology and education. She is currently attending the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill remotely to obtain a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis on nonprofit management and community and economic development. 

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