Mentorship is a practice which dates back to the beginning of human relationships, and it is an intrinsic part of how people learn, make connections, and thrive in the workplace. However, mentoring is often overlooked as a ‘tick-box’ exercise with no real value. A new report from the HR tech company MyKindaFuture shows the state of mentoring, and proves its importance, especially in the current job market.
This is a time of major change for many workers, with a large amount of people leaving their current companies following the pandemic. The report shows that under one third of UK employees feel that they fully belong at their current company, and of those who feel they don’t fit, 80% are considering resigning to pursue a different role within the next year.
Large career shifts which can affect your work-life balance, stress levels and ultimately your livelihood are often scary, but with the help of a trusted mentor who has been through the process before many of these fears can be alleviated. Will Akerman, who founded MyKindaFuture, explains the issue with current mentoring practices.
“Although many mentoring programmes exist, the majority remain ineffective, undervalued and underrepresented,” Akerman says, “When implemented properly and with purpose, mentoring is a crucial tool in boosting employee engagement, progression, and retention.”
Despite mentoring’s clear contributions towards success, only 37% of UK professionals have a mentor. The younger generation understands the importance of effective mentoring, with 79% of Millennials surveyed stating that mentorship is ‘crucial to success’. And they’re right – people with mentors are five times more likely to be promoted than those without a mentor.
It is known and accepted that mentoring is an extremely valuable tool, but how can it be done effectively within a business? The report outlines a few key points to take into account when considering mentorship. Setting clear objectives and expectations surrounding communication, matching mentors to mentees with shared values, and measuring the outcomes of a mentoring programme are all ways to improve the effectiveness of mentorship.
The report also suggests that mentoring programmes most often fail due to lack of clarity, poor matching of mentor and mentee, lack of personal choice in the mentorship process, and the use of a mentoring scheme to reinforce company culture with no room for flexibility. Many mentorship programmes are effective, but Akerman believes that more employers must start taking mentoring seriously.
“Employers cannot continue to view mentoring as a simple tick-box exercise,” Ackerman says, adding that, if done well, mentoring “can directly benefit a business’ bottom line.”