How to Create a Diversity Mentoring Program

How to Create a Diversity Mentoring Program

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by Lora Zotter

June 29, 2021

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The events of the past year have been a much-needed eye-opener for many corporations, with many taking steps to move DEI into a central role of their corporate culture and strategy. Diversity in the workplace is already a key component, with clear benefits. Mentoring is part of that – and at a deeper level, diversity mentoring.


The benefits of mentoring

Organizations that want to attract, engage, and retain diverse talent make this happen through mentoring as a key piece of their talent development strategy. The benefits of mentoring are huge:

  • It helps employees feel more valued by their employers
  • It builds supportive networks with coworkers
  • It develops critical skills that help advance their careers

And that’s just the first phase of output.

All of those can lead to job growth opportunities, more engagement at work, and longer tenures with the organization.

A survey of mentees and mentors by MentorcliQ found impressive results:

  • 90% of participants said mentoring helped them develop a positive relationship with another individual in their company
  • 89% said mentoring allowed them to contribute to the success of their company
  • 89% said that they felt like their company valued their development because they offered a mentoring program

The importance of diversity mentoring

Taking this a step further, many companies that want to retain and engage diverse talent in the workplace have implemented diversity mentoring programs as a way to provide visibility with senior leadership for diverse employees.

One type of these programs is reverse mentoring, which are different from other types of mentoring programs in that senior leaders participate in the programs as mentees being mentored by junior employees – in the case of reverse diverse mentoring, junior employees from diverse backgrounds are the mentors with executive mentees.

This type of program helps mentees and executives increase skill and knowledge in sometimes challenging content areas, while also bolstering engagement and career opportunities for mentors.

According to Camille Lloyd of Gallup, “Black employees in the U.S. are significantly less likely than White employees to report seeing leaders of their own race in their organization, and that appears to matter in creating a healthy corporate culture.”

Addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion through a mentoring program has become a way for many companies to engage employees in a thoughtful way that doesn’t involve stale training sessions that will soon be forgotten.