Published June 11, 2019
These days, mentorship is seen as a crucial part of success. There are dozens of benefits to having a mentor, so schools and companies implement their own mentorship programs, students all around the world take it to social media to find a suitable mentor, and yet - one third of people never have a mentorship figure in their life.
One reason for that is simply the lack of mentors on the market. Not a lot of people decide to become a mentor one day. They get approached by someone in need for a mentorship and grow into the role. But finding these people is difficult, and plenty of people are thrown off by the idea of becoming a mentor - in the end, what value is there in being a mentor?
Why does everybody want to have a mentor in the first place? The stats speak a clear language. When applying mentorship to young people, they were much more likely to enroll in college, volunteer in communities and interested in becoming a mentor too. Apart from that, they were also twice as likely to end up in leadership positions. This is incredibly valuable, especially in younger people that have an enhanced risk of falling off-track.
But mentorship is not only valuable in communities and schools, but also in business. Research has shown that people participating in a corporate mentorship program were 5x more likely to receive a pay raise and be promoted. It increased retention rates slightly and a majority of participants agreed that the mentorship has benefited them in one way or another. People in a longterm mentorship are also again more likely to mentor themselves, giving back to the community and enhancing culture drastically.
It’s therefore clear that businesses, schools and communities should be interested in building a mentorship program. It’s proven to be valuable for everyone. But what is the best way to approach it?
It’s no surprise that these platforms can succeed in this space. Mentorship is highly asynchronous. When a experienced professional decides to become a mentor, it’s difficult to find someone to mentor. On the other hand, if a student or young professional is looking for a mentor, it’s difficult to find one. A formal platform brings both parts together and has the advantage that the relationship is always clear: The mentor is ready to mentor, the mentee is ready to put in the work, there is a clear value and goal proposal upfront.
This makes these programs interesting for businesses as well. As data from these platforms show, a majority of users are not interested in finding a mentor for career change, many just want an accountability partner or guide when it comes to improving and extending skillsets. Even today, a small amount of mentees will get their mentorship fees reimbursed by their employer through an education stipend, so it can be a good choice to advertise it as a benefit upfront.
Businesses, especially startups and SMBs should start to imitate their bigger siblings in that regard. The same research shows that 70% of Fortune 500 companies have a sophisticated mentorship program. At smaller companies, it might not even be half of that: Resources can be short, so doing mentorship internally is too much for most corporations.
As these opportunities at smaller platforms arise - many of which have hundreds of skilled, vetted mentors on hand - companies should seriously consider to add mentorship as a benefit to their employees to maximize performance and retention longterm.