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Syneos Health Improved Career Mobility by 55% with Mentoring

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Case Study

For Michelle Keefe, member of the Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors at Syneos Health, mentoring played a major role in her personal journey and in helping her get where she is today. “Mentoring has been a really critical factor for me in my leadership development over the years. I’ve been mentored, I’ve been a mentor, and I believe it’s made a huge difference for me in my career,” said Michelle.

Mentoring gave her purpose, and that commitment to mentoring shines through in the culture at Syneos Health. “Mentoring is a great way to develop our talent. It’s also a great way for more senior people to learn from more junior people to stay relevant and stay connected with the next generation of leaders for any organization. It’s been a really important part of our approach to how we develop our teams,” said Michelle. 

Syneos Health also leverages mentoring to advance a diverse workforce, which helps them come up with better solutions for their customers, according to Michelle. “Our mentoring program has really been a critical part of our success in regards to employee retention and engagement.”

Our mentoring program has really been a critical part of our success in regards to employee retention and engagement.

Syneos Health
Michelle Keefe
Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors at Syneos Health

Award-Winning Mentoring at Syneos Health

The mentoring program at Syneos Health won a 2023 Silver Brandon Hall Group Excellence Award for Best Advance in Coaching and Mentoring—and for good reason.

BHG Silver LeadershipDev2023 copy
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11.3

  • Increased Career Mobility

55% of mentoring participants had a career move, either as a lateral move or a promotion, based on what they worked on with their mentor.

  • Decreased Turnover

When comparing retention rates for those being mentored compared to industry averages, there was only an 11.3% average turnover rate within the mentoring cohort, compared to an industry average turnover rate of 20%.

“Our mobility has been really great for people who have been in the mentoring program, whether it’s getting a horizontal opportunity to get a different experience, or to get increased responsibility and get promoted to the role that they want to get promoted to. Our metrics have been really strong in both things,” said Mcihelle. That is clear through the evidence that 55% of mentees made a lateral career move or received a promotion due to what goals they worked on in their mentoring relationships.

A Mentoring Culture Calls for All Types of Mentoring

The robust mentoring culture at Syneos Health thrives through different types of mentoring programs, including:

  • Reverse Mentoring
  • Traditional 1:1 Mentoring
  • Group Mentoring
  • Peer Mentoring

The reverse mentoring program in particular has proven quite successful

In part because of Michelle’s involvement in the pilot program that started it all, as well as due to her continuous vocal support for the program.

Michelle

I was an evangelist for reverse mentoring

“I was an evangelist for reverse mentoring after I participated in it because I could see the demonstrable impact that it had on me and the way I thought about leading a particular initiative in this organization,” said Michelle. She participated as a reverse mentee when she was running the Commercial Division of Syneos Health.

Michelle was paired with a reverse mentor through MentorcliQ. “I loved the fact that we were matched on the platform with what I was trying to get out of the program and what the potential mentor’s skill sets were,” said Michelle. That mentor helped Michelle think through employee engagement and retention strategies that were a focal point for her. And while the formal relationship has ended, they still keep in touch.

“I personally really believe that both the reverse mentoring and the mentorship program is kind of like the gold in this organization when it comes to developing people. Because experiences, I’m convinced—you can study a lot of things, you can learn a lot of things—your experiential learning is the number one way you can advance your capabilities,” said Michelle.

Reverse mentoring and the mentorship program is kind of like the gold in this organization when it comes to developing people.

Results

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2021

Started In

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710

Mentoring Hours

4.6 stars

4.6

RELATIONSHIP SATISFACTION FOR MENTORS

5 stars

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RELATIONSHIP SATISFACTION FOR MENTEES

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The personal impact and the data points all matter when building a mentoring culture, providing a way to reach both hearts and minds. “Every single time somebody tells me a mentorship story or that they participated in this program, it makes me smile,” said Michelle. But what really leaves an impression on her is the sheer quantity of stories she hears. “That’s what gets me excited, because that tells me that we’ve reached a scale where people really understand the value of it.”

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