Recently, it’s been proven that mentoring programs boost representation and diversity within companies.
Do you remember looking up to someone at your very first job? Was it the way they carried themselves, the work they did, or their leadership style that drew you to them? Most importantly, did you wish you could gain advice from them in some way? Now think about if you had the chance to be mentored by that person. Do you think it would change anything about your career track so far?
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Mentoring programs help ensure everyone can advance in their careers. They also help foster employee relationships. A company that establishes an inclusive mentorship program helps foster diversity within its workplace.
As Reese Witherspoon recently said during the launch of her mentor program, “mentorship is a key part of empowering the next generation.” And according to the Harvard Business Review, more diverse companies experience an increase in innovation—and revenue. Here are some reasons mentors are crucial for a diverse workplace.
Mentoring programs can provide extra support and guidance
Navigating the workplace can be tough, especially for an employee who is new to an industry. Mentors provide a plethora of resources to their mentees who, at the end of the day, may just need someone to talk to. Thus, this extra layer of emotional support can be helpful to a wider net of diverse employees who may need it.
Mentoring programs can open doors to a wider network
Depending on how a company goes about pairing mentors with mentees, mentors can typically open doors to a wider network of people that a mentee wouldn’t normally have easy access to. For example, maybe a mentor is established at a company and has connections with varying departments within that company, unlike a mentee who may have just started out in their career.
A good mentorship program’s goal is to help people build relationships and gain access, transcending the company’s hierarchy. This makes it easier for all employees to move up with fewer barriers.
Mentors can be role models
Mentors not only open doors to a wider network, but also can open doors to a mentee’s future possibilities. Having direct access to a coworker—one whom a mentee may want to follow in their footsteps—is a crucial part of the mentorship process. And while a lot of job experience happens over time, the insight a mentee can gain from this specific process is invaluable to their lifelong career goals.
Mentors can hold their mentees accountable
Some mentorship programs require the mentor and mentee to work together on goal setting, so a mentor can be more than a role model; they can also hold one accountable. Being held accountable can lead to positive results for the mentee such as improving productivity, performance, and one’s commitment to their career goals.