Organizations can reap plenty of benefits from formal mentoring programs, according to a new study, but fewer than a third of them have such programs in place.
Those are the findings of a new study from the Association for Talent Development (ATD), which surveyed 969 participants, primarily from companies based in North America, about their mentoring programs. According to ATD’s report, titled “Mentoring Matters,” only 29 percent of respondents said that their organization has a formal mentoring program—that is, one with “a defined structure and clear guidelines and objectives,” though 37 percent say they have an informal one.
According to ATD research analyst Megan Cole, organizations that haven’t developed formal programs and have no plans to start one in the next five years cite lack of resources, organizational culture, and a lack of interest or availability from potential mentors.
Organizations with formal programs claim plenty of benefits for the mentors, mentees and the organization as a whole. The mentee benefits most often cited in the study are professional development (36 percent) and a better understanding of organizational culture (30 percent). Top benefits for mentors are “developing new perspectives” (59 percent) and developing leadership skills (49 percent). And organizationally, respondents said the top benefits were higher employee engagement and retention (50 percent) and supporting the growth of high-potential employees (46 percent).
Mentoring programs come in many varieties, with in-person, one-on-one mentoring cited as the most common (78 percent). However, the largest proportion of respondents (47 percent) said that the most effective method was a hybrid approach that included multiple methods such as virtual meetings, peer mentoring, and group mentoring alongside in-person conversations.
Mentoring programs tend to target newer hires in entry-level roles rather than middle managers, according to the study....
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