Mentorship has long been viewed as a way to help others within an organization make professional and personal development improvements. It’s an especially good strategy for leadership preparation. In the process of doing so, it’s not just the mentored individual who benefits.
The entire organization can reap the rewards of having better prepared leaders to oversee and inspire. Even the mentor benefits from the relationship, discovering new things about themselves and enjoying the satisfaction of helping others.
However, with the changing business environment, evolving workplace roles, new places to work like remote and hybrid, and unique perspectives of next-generation workers, does mentorship still maintain its value? Absolutely. If anything, mentoring may now become even more beneficial. Here’s why.
Millennials and Gen Z both agree that mentoring plays a vital role in their careers, including advancement and skills improvement. Some of the benefits related to individual development and improvement include increased confidence, awareness, and knowledge as well as an expanded network to tap for advice and feedback.
Nick Zuccala, Director of Innovia Co-Op, shared his insights on how mentoring helped prepare him to take on a leadership role. “I was mentored by my predecessor for six years. Throughout that time, she shared her knowledge and experience with me. I’ve always been very grateful to have that relationship and insights. Having a mentor also made me more aware of my strengths and weaknesses so I could be more successful in my current role.”
Guider shared some statistics about millennials and Gen Z, highlighting their perspective on why mentoring is so important to them. Millennials believe that mentoring is crucial to learning and development opportunities, skills development, and career advancement and success. Similarly, Gen Z want to have access to a boss who is willing to mentor them, offer one-on-one learning, and help establish performance goals.
Guider also noted statistics that pointed to mentoring’s role in organizational success. This included organizations believing that mentoring played a role in significantly higher productivity, profitability, and talent retention across a more well-rounded workforce.
Zuccala also understands the advantage mentoring can provide an organization that invests in these types of relationships. He explains, “When there is a mentor who takes the time to work with organizational talent, there is a greater likelihood of having high-potential leaders. Others within the organization see that leadership is committed to developing their staff and creating a culture of ongoing learning. People feel valued and included, leading to a more positive work environment where other stakeholders enjoy better interaction and experiences.”
One critical success factor for having a mentoring program is how knowledge and experience are more effectively transferred as part of a mentoring relationship versus through traditional channels. The National Institutes of Health stated that “mentoring elevates knowledge transfer from simply ‘getting’” information and instead transforming the process so that organizations retain the practical experience and wisdom gained from long-term employees. It broadens the perspectives of the mentee and mentor and exposes avenues to learn and contribute to the organization at large.”
Those who have been mentored also tend to want to share more with those around them. This becomes a win for all involved since the desire and ability to transfer knowledge to others only further enhances the organization’s productivity, results, and reputation. It is also empowering for others within the organization to speak up and engaging for them to be able to share more with the team.
Organizations can also benefit from lower training costs. Rather than rely on external programs that can be costly and are not guaranteed to produce results, an internal mentoring program is affordable and transformative.
For decades, mentoring was often viewed as a relationship where an older, experienced leader would take a younger team member under their wing. However, the changing perspectives that millennials and Gen Z have brought to the workplace are now advancing the role of reverse mentoring.
Like traditional mentoring, there are many benefits involved. In these new mentoring relationships, older employees are paired with younger team members. This has helped build understanding and respect across teams.
While older team members appreciate assistance with new technology and more diverse work processes, younger team members learn values and best practices from their seasoned counterparts. The deeper connection formed through this varied take on mentoring provides better collaboration, improved communication, and a wealth of innovative ideas.
There are different places to find a mentor who can help. Innovia’s co-op model expands your network so you can access the industry knowledge and experiences of a diverse set of professionals.
Find out how becoming a part of the Innovia co-op can benefit your team, providing greater opportunities to learn from the best in the community management industry.