Does Workplace Mentoring Work?

Announcements

“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” – John C. Maxwell

In April 2022, CWEA launched its first employee mentoring program. The benefits to mentors and mentees in a corporate setting were examined and carefully integrated into the subsequent program and its implementation. Mentors were then recruited, screened, and matched with a mentee, with every effort made to match pairs with the same interests. The program was designed to ensure maximum protection for all involved in the initiative.

Much has been written about the myriad of benefits of mentoring in the workplace. According to Human Resources at the University of California at Davis  (hr.ucdavis.edu), mentoring brings value on many levels for mentees, mentors, supervisors, and the organization for which they work. Mentees have an opportunity to gain practical knowledge and insight from a seasoned employee who has achieved a level of expertise they aspire to attain. Mentors have an opportunity to expand their repertoire of professional knowledge and skills through their instruction and facilitation of others. The organization has the opportunity to further develop and disseminate the wealth of talent, skill, and knowledge of its employees.

Studies also show that good mentoring can lead to greater career success for the mentees, including promotions, raises, and more opportunities. Organizations that embrace mentoring are rewarded with higher levels of employee engagement, retention, and knowledge sharing. Mentoring has proved so beneficial that 71% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs to their employees. (Forbes Newsletters, January 20, 2019, Mentor Matters: Three Essential Elements of Success, Mary Abbajay).

I am struck by a May 3, 2023 General Advisory from US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. He sounded a stern warning about the epidemic of loneliness and isolation. “Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately half of U.S. adults reported experiencing measurable levels of loneliness,” the advisory states. “Disconnection fundamentally affects our mental, physical, and societal health.”

The advisory spells out the significant negative health consequences of the loneliness epidemic. When people lack sufficient connection in their lives, they have:

  • A 29% increased risk of heart disease
  • A 32% increased risk of stroke
  • A 50% increased risk of developing dementia for older adults
  • A 60% risk of premature death

“Given the significant health consequences of loneliness and isolation, we must prioritize building social connection the same way we have prioritized other critical public health issues such as tobacco, obesity, and substance use disorders,” the Surgeon General says. “Together, we can build a country that’s healthier, more resilient, less lonely, and more connected.”

The first mentoring pairs in the CWEA Mentoring Program have been meeting together for just four months. It is too early to predict success, yet we do know that both mentors and mentees are committed to making mentoring work. Nothing compares to testimony from CWEA mentors and mentees. These comments bode well for the future of the program and the importance of building connections.

From CWEA mentees:

“Absolutely loving it. Thank you so much for connecting us. Super productive. My mentor provides valuable information. It is really great to open up and confide in a more experienced person who can understand my situation and provide very great advice.”

From CWEA mentors:

“Meetings have been productive. We set goals to be completed by the next meeting. There is so much to learn from each other.”


Dr. Susan G. Weinberger, aka Dr. Mentor, is President, Mentor Consulting Group (MCG) in Norwalk, CT. MCG is assisting CWEA in designing and implementing a high-quality, effective, and sustainable mentoring program for its members.