Mentoring: is it the key to successful talent and organisational development?


We’d like to begin by asking you 3 questions:

  1. Can your business run without you today?
  2. Do your employees have the knowledge to really achieve what you want them to achieve?
  3. Do you want to grow and keep the best people in your business?

As a leader who is concerned with company growth, if the answer to the first 2 questions is a no and/or the last question is a yes, talent development needs to be a key focus within your organizational development strategy.

Your employees are your greatest asset, regardless of the type or size of your business. In order for you to get the levels of growth you dream of for your company, it is crucial that you develop a meaningful workplace. This enables you to get the best outputs and contribution from them, as well as show them that you value them through a good salary and through the nurturing of their personal and professional growth and development.

A tried and tested way of creating and developing this meaningful workplace is structured mentoring, which is increasingly becoming popular across the private sector and we say it’s about time!

Over 70% of Fortune 500 companies have implemented structured mentoring in the workplace as part of their talent and organizational development strategies.

We believe the top 3 reasons are:

1. Mentoring reduces the high costs of employee turnover

Statistics show that 77% of employees are more likely to stay in a job if they are being mentored. In contrast, 35% who do not receive mentoring are likely to look for another job within a year (Emerging Workforce study by Spherion, 2012). With regards to millennials, 68% of those with mentors want to stay in their respective employers for more than 5 years; yet only 32% without mentors feel the same way.

By increasing employee loyalty, organisations can significantly save on the high cost of finding and training of new hires, which according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, can be equivalent to six to nine months of an employee’s salary. Other studies estimate the cost to be higher… is your business ready to absorb these costs in order to stay afloat in today’s business economy?

2. Mentoring is a strategic tool that when implemented correctly, can enable your organisation to attract, grow and retain the right talent as well as accelerate leadership development and readiness

Organisations that have an embedded mentoring culture will have little difficulty in attracting, growing and retaining quality professionals. However, these professionals will need a mentor who is focused on their personal and professional growth, if they are to remain with and grow within the organisation.

Mentoring which focuses on personal and professional growth enables leaders and managers to truly discover and leverage their employee’s talents and potential, both known and hidden, across all levels of the company hierarchy, increasing their leadership readiness. When a leader mentors others they are able to see situations from different perspectives and develop their own creativity, problem-solving and agility skills and behaviours.

Encouragingly, mentored employees are apparently five times more likely to get promoted than those who aren’t mentored, and those who mentor are six times more likely to get promoted than those who don’t.

Mentoring therefore builds and fills your leadership pipeline.

3. Mentoring heavily supports the transfer of knowledge and accelerates learning, to give your talent the best chances of growing and succeeding

It is essential for any organisation to support employees in acquiring and developing the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviours required to be successful. Mentoring is an effective approach to create, capture, organise, impart and/or distribute knowledge throughout the organisation.

As cited by Bersin, 80% of learning is informal, therefore personal and professional mentoring facilitates learning in ways, which process manuals, books and training programs can’t. It shortens the learning curve, helps to uncover hidden talents and potential as well as the fears and limiting beliefs that might be holding someone back from turning their potential into success, enhances creativity and productivity and helps employees align themselves to the business strategy.

In addition, mentoring supports employee on-boarding, increasing inclusivity and diversity in the workplace and the freeing up of managerial time to focus on bigger picture/ higher value areas.

What are the keys to mentoring success I hear you ask? The mentoring programs are always aligned with business goals, they invest in training mentors to ensure that they have the skills, knowledge, behaviour and mind set to support their mentees on both the personal and professional levels, they properly match the mentors and mentees and provide on going support and supervision to ensure the foundations for a longer term trust based relationship are properly set.

Is mentoring part of your talent and organisational development strategy?