Diverse Mentoring Relationships Support A Happy Workforce
In celebration of May as Global Employee Health and Fitness Month we have been highlighting why mentoring should be part of your employee well-being initiative. In this three part series, we’ll share how we’ve seen mentoring programs create meaningful social connections as an affordable, rewarding, and manageable business strategy which promotes mental health .
- In case you missed Part 1, we shared how mentoring increases social connectedness.
- In Part 2, we discuss how mentoring programs support an inclusive culture, which can contribute to employee well-being, especially for a diverse workforce.
- In Part 3, we show the ROI of supporting your employees with mentoring.
Close relationships at work are associated with happiness and productivity, ultimately improving the organization’s bottom line according to research. As organizations become increasingly diverse, employees with different experiences – from age, race, and gender, to training and degrees – bring valuable unique perspectives. However, without an intentional approach to promoting diversity and embedded inclusive behavior, employees may feel isolated or disconnected. Many organizations are implementing formalized diversity training to reduce bias and increase behaviors which support an inclusive culture. However, training programs leave much to be desired when it comes to real-world application. The most effective approach to promoting employee well-being, especially for a diverse workforce, is to integrate formal diversity training with opportunities to connect in a structured mentoring program.
"Employees who report having friends at work have have 7X the engagement with their job, higher levels of productivity, retention, and job satisfaction than those who don’t."
- Harvard Business Review
A structured mentoring program establishes relationships between employees who may not have connected on their own. Additional benefits are seen when the mentoring program uses mentoring software to increase potential matches by looking across job grades, geographies, demographics and functions. Employees are able to reach far beyond their immediate network, creating connections to individuals with different identities and experiences. By matching participants across diverse backgrounds companies support collaboration while encouraging positive intergroup interaction. Mentoring programs can bolster, or even replace, diversity training increasing participants' exposure to different aspects of the company. Participants gain new perspectives on business challenges, increase self-awareness, and promote inclusive behavior. Learning and development takes place all while establishing closer relationships and building a foundation for diverse networks to work together.
But does this actually work?
Companies report the representation of underrepresented groups in managerial roles increasing from 9% to 24% as result of effective mentorship of diverse groups. One reason mentoring is successful is the inclusion of Allies, individuals who are passionate about advancing the career and opportunity of those around them but do not share an identity with the focus mentoring audience. As an example, women in business experience a large benefit of male allies through mentorship. A mentoring program for a Women’s Network provides a more direct channel for men in senior leadership to volunteer to act as mentors to women.
|MentorcliQ customer, Bacardi, saw an increase of 12% female engagement since implementing their Women in Leadership program. This brings the engagement score of women on par with the men. In addition, over 50% of the mentors in their Women in Leadership mentoring program are men, increasing the number of male allies they have helping women.|
Organizations will often choose to launch a mentoring program supporting a specific underrepresented group (Women’s Networks, LGBTQ+, LatinX, Veterans) or build an overall Diversity & Inclusion mentoring program to drive engagement and reinforce inclusive behaviors. In every case, mentoring programs offer a space to exchange ideas and build connections across the organization with individuals with different identities and perspectives. Ultimately, mentoring enables stronger connections between people on a social level, promoting increased mental health and employee well-being.
If you want to dive deeper into diversity mentoring, take a look at how to meet your diversity and inclusion goals with employee mentoring.