The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

Mentoring Matters

formal mentoring programs are effective methods for developing leaders.The recently published article on Women in Leadership provided a compelling argument for mentorship. We know from research that formal mentoring programs are effective methods for developing leaders. They reinforce corporate values and provide development opportunities that are aligned with the needs of the organization. As I participated in the data evaluation, it because clear to me that HR needs to be more formal in the support of mentoring programs.

The HR.com/DDI report was clear that most organizations do not have formal mentoring programs. If formal programs do not exist, employees can only fill the gap by creating their own informal networks and resources. This may work for some individuals, but does little to drive organizational success. Employees looking for their own mentor or advisory group will be focused on what is best for their own development and career growth, whether it is inside or outside of your organization.

The data from this study supports other data gathered by DDI. Its report Women as Mentors: Does She or Doesn’t She shows that 63% of women never had a formal mentor. And it found that only 56% of organizations offered a formal mentoring program as a development opportunity.

A mentor relationship is a win-win for the mentor and mentee. Through scheduled connection and quick “hey, can I ask you something” conversations, both parties learn. The mentee gets an experienced view of a situation, including how to navigate the internal political climate of the organization.  At the same time, the mentor learns what employees struggle with internally, and how the new workforce looks at situations. Idea can come from these dialogs that are taken to the boardroom and impact organizational value.

Resources are available that allow organizations of all size to embrace the value of mentorship. In a small organization, make connections with other companies that may have a similar employee population or product. Make connections in your industry – and allow mentors/mentees to connect via skype.  Personal meeting can occur at annual conferences.  In larger organizations, a formal program should be established that will provide training and expectations for both parties. To learn more about mentorship, The National Center for Mentoring has a number of resources to get started.

I was pleased to be on the team with HR.com and DDI analyzing the data and creating the new report about Women in Leadership.  To hear a webinar on the full report June 22 – register here – completely free!

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!