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The Power of Mentorship

By: Turf Valley Resort / 16 May 2024

I recently took part in a women's leadership conference. A major topic of discussion was how beneficial mentors were to the attendee's success. In looking into the history and the impact of mentorship programs, I wanted to share a few interesting stats and some steps to setting up a mentorship program, wherever you are.

Firstly, what is a mentorship program?

A mentorship program is a structured initiative that facilitates the pairing of experienced individuals (mentors) with less experienced ones (mentees) to provide guidance, support, and knowledge transfer.

Mentorship is nothing new. The earliest written mention of the concept can be found in Homer's Odyssey. When the poem's hero, Odysseus leaves to fight in the Trojan war, he places his friend "mentor" in charge of his son. In modern times, a mentor often refers to someone who is a "guide or educator" and began gaining popularity in the corporate world in the 1970s.

Why should you establish a mentorship program?

Statistics show there is a significant value in having a mentorship program. A 2019 survey by CNBC and SurveyMonkey reports 40% of employees without a mentor considered quitting their jobs. 

On the other side of the coin, the Harvard Business Review study shows 75% of executives credit their success to mentors and 90% of employees with a career mentor are happy at work.

Data shows mentorship can be critical to the long-term success of a company by improving retention, building connectivity and knowledge sharing in addition to increasing employee diversity and representation.

Where to start?

Understand the problems you are trying to address by establishing this program. Define what success looks like for participants and your organization.

Design your program by establishing guidelines. Create a successful program by making key elements clear to participants:

  • How will participants enroll (open vs invitation only)?
  • Will the mentorship program be one on one, project-based or group based?
  • How often and where will mentors and mentees meet?
  • How will the organization track success and receive important feedback?

Promote the program and gather useful details. To successfully match mentors and mentees, you will need to know their key skill sets, professional backgrounds, and strengths/weaknesses. Creating a questionnaire and holding interviews is a crucial step. Be sure to ask both the mentor and mentee what they are hoping to gain from participation in the program. Understanding what participants hope to achieve will help with the most challenging part of establishing a mentorship program, pairing the mentor and mentee. Various backgrounds, learning styles and different needs all come into play – you will want to carefully examine the questionnaires and interview notes to match individuals. A popular suggestion is to allow mentors and mentees a choice of 2-3 candidates so that they have a "sense of ownership" in the selection process.

Establishing Common Goals

A mentorship program can be a highly effective tool in your corporate arsenal, but it is a significant time investment. There are many ways to learn from a mentor, such as role plays, providing constructive feedback, learning new skills, and other face-to-face interactions. To ensure your program is effective, develop a plan for measuring its impact. Make sure you understand the goals of your program and create an environment that encourages honest feedback.

Meet with participants regularly to see if the program is helping them reach their primary objectives. If they share common goals, both parties will benefit. Mentees will gain valuable skills and knowledge that will help them succeed in the future, while mentors will benefit from giving back to their employer and building upon their personal and professional growth.


Written by:

Carmen Zemke, Account Executive at Turf Valley Resort

View Carmen's

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