Why Your Company Needs To Have A Mentor Culture As A Part Of Their Training And Learning Budget

Adopting a mentor culture in your company benefits more than just the mentee. It ripples through the whole company. It increases employee engagement, retention, and upskills as well as develops leadership and team communication. How you might ask? There is science and data behind the value that makes a solid case for increased ROI in sales as well as employee and customer experience.

In a recent customer experience conversation with one of our Intern Pursuit (IP) employers, I was chatting about what he learned so far from working internship discovered the value of working with an intern is it not only sharpened his own leadership skills, it also opened his mind to questioning processes that were bogged down in "That is the way we always have done it." The observation I shared with him, working with an intern caused him to slow down and look at his process with a different lens so to speak. From there, he realized more innovation actually happens. There is a strong case behind peer and reverse mentoring culture and how it yields exponential returns for a business. So let's explore how that breaks down in meaningful ways for your company.

I read an article entitled, The 5 benefits mentors bring to L&D programs because it ties into my own research of peer and reverse mentoring and want to share the findings and tips with our audience. Current research trends highlight the advantages of peer and reverse mentoring. Let's start with the definitions so we are on the same page.

"A 2019 survey of American workers by SurveyMonkey found that 91% of individuals who have a mentor are satisfied with their job."

Peer Mentoring - According to the Art of Mentoring, peer mentoring is a relationship between people who are at the same career stage or age, in which one person has more experience than the other in a particular domain and can provide support as well as knowledge and skills transfer.

Reverse Mentoring - Mindset Tools defines it as a junior team member enters into a "professional friendship" with someone more senior, and they exchange skills, knowledge and understanding.

The value of reverse mentoring is highly beneficial as it builds and strengthens multi-generational workers communication and collaboration skills. It comes from how adults learn and it may surprise you to hear it is centered around story telling. Old as time and proven. So let's look at some statistics about this mentoring style.

Reverse mentoring plays an important role in bridging the gap between the generations currently in the workforce: baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1976), and Generation Y , also called millennials (born between 1977 and 1998). These groups have experienced vastly different social and cultural situations, which has resulted in varied work ethics, mindsets and attitudes.

Pershing is a financial services company that recently implemented a reverse mentoring program. Following implementation of the company-wide initiative, Pershing experienced a 96% retention rate for the 77 millennials who were involved.

This has led to a number of prejudices and stereotypes forming that can be difficult to overcome. For instance, some people view millennials as spoiled, unmotivated and self-centered, while some millennials view older generations as inefficient and resistant to change. Executives and other leaders need to learn how to cross the generational divide and communicate with, motivate and engage younger team members. Reverse mentoring helps to challenge these stereotypes, and benefits your team members and the organization as a whole.

1. Mentors strengthen your company’s culture

First, take time to evaluate what your company stands for. What are the values? They have to be embedded into how your organization acts and makes decisions. Mentoring relationships are a great way to help your employees feel the impact of your company’s values. Here at Intern Pursuit, our culture is build around continuous on demand learning around 6 core 21st Century Skills: Critical thinking, Time management, Problem-solving, Communication, Creativity, and Research skills. These skills are vital to keeping an open and innovative mindset. That is built into the platform and our IP Academy.

Now let's look at the science behind mentoring. In Linda Phillip-Jones study of hundreds of mentor-mentee partnerships as well as individuals unable to identify any mentors in their lives, "Upskilling is made easier with mentorship because the latter complements all the learning and skills being gained by the mentee.[1]."

For example, let’s say one of your company values is “Collaboration: Working together for the good of the group.” People who participate in mentoring get the chance to collaborate with people they might not usually work with. This 1:1 relationship allows employees to live the value of collaboration every time they meet with their mentor or mentee.

We admit collaboration is a prime example, but we promise, you can input any value here and the example still works. Why? Because mentoring is about growth, and what company doesn’t value that?