How DHL & Sun Microsystems Nailed It With Mentoring

mentoring1Based on a survey it has been found that corporate mentorship is on the rise, with 71% of Fortune 500 companies offering Mentorship Programs. While initiating a mentorship program at the workplace may seem like a daunting task, the rewards the mentors, mentees and company reap are well worth the time and effort.

A 2013 a study examined responses from more than 830 mentees and some 670 mentors participating in Sun Microsystem’s program. Employee retention rates climbed 69 % for the mentors and 72 % for the mentees over the seven-year period of the study. The increased retention resulted in a savings of $6.7 million in avoided staff turnover and replacement costs.

Since 2011, DHL Express has run an advanced mentoring program so employees can learn new skills, understand the company culture on a larger scale and develop a career path. Through this, 60 % of the mentees advanced their careers at the company over the course of a year.

The important takeaway is that Mentoring can deliver outstanding results when executed using the right processes.

Almost every progressive organization has tried Mentoring at the workplace but a lot of them have failed to get the best out of it, unlike DHL and Sun Microsystems. In this post, I want to highlight four critical success factors for a Mentoring Program:

Drive it from the top: Mentoring needs to be driven by the leadership and needs to be accorded its due importance. It can’t be just another HR intervention left to run on its own and die its own death after a while. It has to be driven with strategic intent to retain and engage its top talent and spearhead the organization’s business objectives.

Have a clear purpose: Any Mentoring program needs to have clearly defined objectives right at the onset. It’s equally imperative that the objectives are aligned with the business goals of the organization else the Mentoring Program soon loses its relevance and disappears in thin air.

Provide budgetary resources: An allocated budget is required so that the Mentoring program can run with sufficient resources. Mentoring often requires some amount of promotion for visibility inside the organization in order to sustain the interest of the mentees and the mentors. The program may also entail mentees or mentors traveling once in a while for in-person mentoring sessions. Finally, a reward and recognition program to highlight the best mentors may also be needed.

Execute Mentoring using a scalable technology platform: Most Mentoring Programs fall through the cracks when there is not enough information around how the program is running. A robust Mentoring program needs extensive communication and coordination between Mentor and Mentee, the HR and the management team. The HR and the Management team want to look at the program health through dashboards that give neat analysis of the Mentoring Program. Cloud based SaaS solutions offer easy, scalable solutions that offer a quick ROI on the investment.

Equip your Mentors: Mentors need to know how to manage the expectations of the Mentees and how to follow all the Mentoring processes well. A training program at regular intervals for the Mentors is an absolute must, where they can clarify their doubts and can strengthen their Mentoring skills.

NxtSpark offers Talent Development technology solutions around large-scale Mentoring in the workplace alongwith assistance of training Mentors by a panel of industry experts. Write to or for more information.