What is mentoring? Mentoring is providing training or advise to someone with less experience or knowledge than you. Many people seek assistance from mentors, however not many people are lucky enough to get the help they need. All employers should provide some sort of mentoring for their employees, but unfortunately not all of them do or at least not for women and minorities. Being a woman and a minority in the United States often means little to no mentorship opportunities. These opportunities need to be improved to allow for women and minorities to help build diverse leadership roles. In addition, access to mentors would provide opportunities for women and minorities to advance their careers.
Mentoring can be divided into two different types. These types include informal and formal mentoring. Informal mentoring tends to develop on its own. This type of mentoring provides a relationship with a mentor. Informal mentoring has little to no structure. This type of mentoring could be a co-worker asking another co-worker with higher status for help and eventually making a friendship out of it. Formal mentoring is a mentoring relationship that is assigned as opposed to self-developed as informal. This type of mentoring of course has structure. “Formal mentoring programs can have a learning and developing focus” (Rio, 2018). Formal mentoring forms a relationship that last for a certain amount of time and then ends. I think employers lack formal mentoring opportunities. It’s typically easier to get informal mentoring.
I believe many companies lack the understanding of how important it is to provide mentoring for all employees. Companies should embrace mentorship as part of company culture. Company culture is “the personality of a company. It defines the environment in which employees work” (Doyle, 2018). Typically company culture includes different work elements like goals, expectations, good work environment, ethics and the company’s mission. The goals that make up one of the elements for the company’s culture should not only be for the company but also for the employees. Providing mentoring can help gender and racial gaps in the workplace. If companies are trying to develop and retain employee based they should most certainly offer mentoring. Heidrick & Struggles a provider of leadership consulting did a survey regarding mentoring for women and ethnic minority. “Women and ethnic minority talent find formal mentoring programs valuable to their careers, but there are opportunities for companies to improve their programs to better serve this important employee base” (Heidrick & Struggles , 2017).
The number of women and minorities that take advantage of these mentoring opportunities are much greater that men and those not considered minorities. I can be the first to say that as a woman and a minority, I take every chance I get at work to be mentored. I take every opportunity because I want to grow in the company and not just stay in the same position forever. Through the same study I mentioned above, Heidrick & struggles revealed that Minorities and women were most likely to say that mentoring was important to them and helped them with their careers. “30% of women said their mentoring relationship was extremely important compared to 23% of men, and 32% of minorities found it extremely important, compared with 27% of the overall sample” (Heidrick & Struggles , 2017). The study continued on to say that minorities would most likely find their own mentors as opposed to the other people surveyed that said they would look to the organization to help them find a mentor. If you’re wondering why women and minorities value mentoring so much is because they have always had to face obstacles not only in the workplace but in also in life. Women were not always accepted in the workplace let alone minorities. It seems that men have it a lot easier in the workplace yet are the ones to use less of the help that is offered at work. Companies need to equalize the opportunities for all employees. ‘Companies looking to better unlock the potential of attracting, developing and retaining this important employee base should work to foster an environment that embraces mentorship as a part of the corporate culture, further illustrating their commitment to developing their best talent.’ (Heidrick & Struggles , 2017).
As part of the management team it’s important that we provide our employees all the possible assistance we can to ensure their growth. We want the best for our workers and the best for the company. We should also want to see higher roles being filled by both women and minorities. I have thought of a few recommendations that I would like to present to the rest of the management team in regards to providing more opportunities for mentoring. First I would like to bring to the table the idea of setting up optional courses for all employees that would like to attend. These courses or classes would be given twice a month in a classroom setting. The classes would cover the work that is done in that department. This would be a group-mentoring program. This way co-worker could interact with each other and feel more comfortable asking questions. This would also help management see where we are lacking and brainstorm how we can help employees better understand.
Another recommendation would be to set one on one time with all employees. This way they can get the mentoring they need without sharing time with anyone else. These one on one meetings could be held once a month for minimum 30 minutes depending on the amount needed by each mentee. We also need to make sure these meetings and classes are accessible at the work location and not at the home branches like many companies tend to do. “Set a framework, secure participation from all departments, match mentors and mentees, empower and provide feedback opportunities” (Dietz, 2016). Another recommendation I have is to invest in training courses that can be done online. There would be different categories and in each category there would be lessons, videos and quizzes. All employees would have access. These online training courses would also be given in the language needed. Hopefully this would help more of our English second language employees feel more comfortable. Another recommendation could be to train individuals who have been at the company longer how to be mentor properly. Once these individuals are trained we could assign one mentor 2-3 mentees. The mentees could ask their assigned mentor for help at anytime. The plan would also be to get women and minorities trained to be mentors this way they could relate to other mentees. It’s important that we get people from all levels of the department to put in a helping hand. As a manager my goal is to keep my workers happy so that they will consider our company as a long-term employment place. Not only will providing more mentoring opportunities benefit others, but it will also help us as managers grow. “As you put together an employee-mentoring program, remember that it’s much more than simply a prolonged orientation. By making strong mentoring relationships an integral part of your corporate culture, every participant can benefit, which will only strengthen your department or company” (Half, 2017).
Many people seek assistance from mentors, however not many people are lucky enough to get the help they need. All employers should provide some sort of mentoring for their employees, but unfortunately not all of them do or at least not for women and minorities. Being a woman and a minority in the United States often means little to no mentorship opportunities. These opportunities need to be improved to allow for women and minorities to help build diverse leadership roles. In addition, access to mentors would provide opportunities for women and minorities to advance their careers. That is why I have provided many recommendations for the rest of the management department to discuss. We need to provide formal and informal mentoring and embrace mentorship in corporate culture. We also need to diminish gender and racial gaps in the workplace, setup easy access training and get all levels of management and employees on board for mentoring. I believe the American workplace needs more women and minority leadership roles.
- Dietz, J. (2016, July 29). 5 Steps to Start an Effective Employee Mentoring Program that People Want to Participate In. Retrieved from Higher Logic :https://blog.higherlogic.com/2016/07/29/5-steps-to-start-an-effective-employee-mentoring-program-that-people-want-to-participate-in
- Doyle, A. (2018, October 29). Understanding Company Culture. Retrieved from The Balance Careers: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-company-culture-2062000
- Half, R. (2017, December 4). How Mentoring in the Workplace Can Strengthen Your Company. Retrieved from Robert Half: https://www.roberthalf.com/blog/management-tips/how-mentoring-relationships-help-strengthen-your-company
- Heidrick & Struggles . (2017, December 27). Study: Women and Minorities Value Mentoring Programs, But Findings Reveal Opportunities for Improved Effectiveness. Retrieved from Cision PR Newswire: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/study-women-and-minorities-value-mentoring-programs-but-findings-reveal-opportunities-for-improved-effectiveness-300575517.html
- Rio, A. (2018, February 8 ). Mentoring Matters, Especially for Women and Minorities. Retrieved December 2, 2018 , from Chief Learning Officer : https://www.clomedia.com/2018/02/08/guide-improving-mentoring-opportunities-women-minorities/