Leveraging our top talent to enhance the expertise of others on our team is an often overlooked solution to numerous organizational challenges. Strong mentors have a meaningful, measurable impact on the success of your organization, yet many companies neglect to prioritize establishing mentor/mentee relationships for their workforce, leaving it up to the most outgoing and proactive employees to pursue on their own.  But the reality is that this just doesn’t cut it…lucky for us, the solution is staring us in the face! 

We need only to take the initiative and create these valuable relationships within our workforce, identifying those employees with a wealth of experience to share and pairing them with those newer employees who have the potential to grow. This will benefit the younger and less experienced mentee, the seasoned and more experienced mentor, and the broader organization as a whole.

In case we’re not already convinced by my personally held convictions and past good fortunes, let’s explore some statistics based on research conducted over the past decade or so:

I could go on, but I think this gives us a solid foundation from which to continue our conversation. 

These numbers are telling, and we can see that they aren’t just rhetoric. The most successful companies in this country have set themselves apart from the rest, leveraging mentorship to build strong employees and organizations. Let’s explore this a bit further…

What is Mentorship?

At its core, mentorship is the establishment of a relationship between two colleagues with the express purpose of leveraging the knowledge and experience of the mentor to the advantage of the mentee. Through this relationship, a mentor is able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a mentee and then work with them directly, drawing upon their own extensive professional background to improve skills and understanding, set goals, provide feedback, and support the growth and development of the mentee. In this way, an organization not only ensures that they are producing a high-quality workforce, developing future leaders, and able to manage succession planning, they also show their newer employees that they are a valued part of the team.

Mentorship vs Training

While structured training can be both appropriate and effective to accomplish organizational goals, it does not replace the growth and value that a strong mentor-mentee relationship can offer. Training programs can excel at teaching employees specific skills, concepts, tools, or processes, but a mentor can go far beyond this, tailoring their instruction and guidance to the specific needs and interests of each mentee. 


Mentorship affords the development of not only the skills that are foundational to the profession in question, but also the less tangible, but often more important skills such as communication, leadership, networking, and emotional intelligence that are rarely taught to any degree of success through formal training. 

Structured training and mentorship can also compliment each other.  As mentors and mentees discuss interests and needs, they may identify training opportunities that will further established goals or close identified skill gaps. However, I feel strongly that mentorship should nearly always take precedence over structured training once the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to perform a job have been acquired.

It’s a Mutually Beneficial Relationship

An often overlooked advantage of mentorship is the fact that it not only benefits the mentee, but mentors derive significant personal and professional growth while enjoying a powerful sense of fulfillment and meaning that is difficult to replicate elsewhere. Mentors are able to enhance their leadership skills, gain new perspectives, expand their network, and receive recognition all while giving back to their peers and strengthening the company that they themselves have appreciated growing within. While enabling mentees to realize their inner potential and shaping the future of the organization, mentors will discover much about themselves as well.

Value Your New Hires

Though the benefits are clear and widely recognized, research has shown that new hires, who often stand to gain the most, are frequently left to navigate their new organizations and job tasks on their own. One of the primary reasons is that when mentoring programs are voluntary, as many are, newer employees are typically less comfortable engaging with colleagues that they have yet to get to know, to self-identify as wanting or needing support, or to be aware of company mentorship programs in the first place. 

For these reasons, proactively pairing new hires with your more experienced team members can avoid these issues while ensuring that new colleagues feel valued and supported, again, leading to all of the benefits that we’ve discussed thus far.  A forward-leaning approach will also signal to your more seasoned staff that mentorship is not just something that you like to see happening when they have some spare cycles, it’s a highly valued and foundational construct for your organization that has been made a top priority.

Take Action and Reap the Rewards

Companies are faced with unforeseen challenges on a regular basis, requiring time, energy, and resources to navigate and remain competitive. For those more predictable challenges, prioritizing formal mentorship is often a low cost, high reward approach to tackling a range of issues while demonstrating your respect, appreciation, and commitment to both your new hires and institutional employees alike.

Let Gentry Professional Services assist you with retaining your top mentorship talent by working with you and your past and prospective retirees. Gentry Services will help you develop a mutually beneficial plan to continue working with your top talent, putting their deep knowledge to use for your company and the next generation of talent. Succession planning, leadership coaching, employee retention, and a high-quality workforce are at your fingertips with strong, experienced mentors and Gentry Professional Services.


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