How to Get Workplace Mentorship Buy-in from Managers

In this article, we explore how you can get workplace leadership buy-in for your employee mentoring program.

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If you’re planning to start a mentorship program in your workplace and are trying to get management onboard, then this post is for you.

Convincing managers that a mentorship program is just what you need to upgrade your workforce has two important steps:

Showing the importance of having a mentorship program. That is why you think you need a mentorship program and what specific issues are going to be resolved.

Showing a concrete plan with all the details from budgeting, finding mentors, types of mentorships, results you expect, etc.

Having a strong plan for both of these aspects would make your management appreciate the mentorship program you have in mind. Let’s see how you can do this.

Demonstrate the importance of the mentorship program

Mentoring programs benefit both employees and the organisations that are conducting them. A well-structured mentoring program will pay for itself in the long run by increasing employee retention and improving operations.

Let's see some of the mentoring programs.

Retain company-specific knowledge

Often, when an individual in a high-level position retires, they can take years of knowledge and experience with them. Many companies use mentorship programs to retain industry-specific information and pass it onto suitable candidates. This allows them to complete their strategic objectives and create a workforce that knows how to handle evolving business needs.

Tailored mentoring programs also reduce skill gap issues and help fulfil the organisation's financial objectives. That's why 71% of the Fortune 500 companies have a mentorship program, and 92% of those who receive mentorship attest that they have benefitted from such programs.

These programs are as useful for mentors as they are for mentees. They allow managers to showcase their ability to guide and motivate people and enable them to move onto higher-level positions. They also gain a different perspective, which empowers them to grow in their professional career.

Improving employee engagement, retention, and loyalty

Mentorship programs are very efficient in improving employee satisfaction. As per this study by Randstad, employees who actively participated in mentorship programs were 49% less likely to switch jobs. It also saved them $3k per employee per year in retention costs.

Mentored employees don't just work hard; they also become self-advocates for their employers. This also improves future hiring, as everyone wants to work where they feel that they would be mentored.

What's more, new recruits can benefit immensely from a mentorship program. As per this report by Deloitte, younger employees who receive mentorship are more likely to stay with their first employer. This is huge, especially at a time when employee loyalty has been wavering for decades.

Workplace mentorship could also be helpful in your recruiting process. By helping improve new candidate experience, it increases the possibility of attracting skilled employees.

Improving employee performance

Experienced mentors can objectively monitor their mentee's professional development and guide them on the steps they need to take to improve themselves. Mentors can also inform mentees about the challenges and issues they might face in their job role and what steps they should take to avoid them.

This can have a huge effect on the productivity and performance of the employees. Such employees are also more adaptable to industry changes and display increased personal accountability and responsibility.

They also get more engaged with their work, understand the importance of career development, and often take up courses/training to enhance their skills. That's why organisations that actively engage their employees are 18% more productive than their competitors. They are also more profitable and see lower levels of absenteeism from their workers.

Improving overall company culture

Mentored employees are more motivated to work towards their goals. They can also navigate organisational dynamics and create better career opportunities for themselves. What's more, mentorship programs also improve soft skills such as time management and problem-solving skills.

Many organisations use mentoring programs to promote collaboration and reduce diversity barriers. For enhanced training and mentorship, many organisations also use project management tools to train the new employees in their work, while also keeping them updated about the projects.This, in turn, creates a strong company culture where employees thrive and feel inclusive. This also helps the organisation in the long run, as companies with a culture of mentorship often see a median profit of 3X than those without it.

Interestingly enough, as per this report by Harvard Business Review, mentoring reduces anxiety and stress in mentors. Even though mentoring might feel like extra work, it provides mentors with an enhanced feeling of meaningfulness in their work.

Have a concrete plan

Now that you have convinced managers that a mentorship program is what your organisation absolutely needs, you need to show them you know what you’re doing by providing them with a concrete and detailed plan.

There are a couple of things organisations need to plan to ensure that it works. Let's see.


First, you must check the financial requirements associated with your program, i.e., you need to plan a budget for your mentorship venture. This calculation includes expenses such as training costs, administrative expenditures, and software expenses. You also need to allocate funds for training materials.

The cost of running a mentoring program depends on factors such as the size of the participant pool, the skills and experience of mentors, and the number of sessions required by the organisation. It also depends on the location, i.e., whether the sessions are conducted online or offline.

Then there's the cost of opportunity. If your company asks its leaders/executives/managers to mentor people, it implies they must take time out of their daily schedule to work on this. Furthermore, the mentee would also have to invest their time, which might affect their day-to-day responsibilities.

You can take the help of a business budgeting software to track and maintain all your finances from a single platform. This way you can be aware of all your expenses and invoices.

Detailed steps to run a program

Once the budget is set, you can move on to the next step of planning a company-wide mentorship program, i.e., the assessment.

In this step, managers must assess their potential mentees in different areas to understand where they need help and mentorship. This also helps managers assess their performance in their current job roles.

The next step is designing a program that takes care of the shortcomings of your current staff.

You must ensure that the mentorship program aligns with your company's objectives and satisfies your employee's personal growth requirements. This step also involves planning the duration and structure of the program, i.e., would it be a one-on-one or a group mentorship initiative?

After that, you can then start pairing mentors with mentees. This is a crucial step, and pairing should be done on the basis of goals, skills, and availability of mentors. You also need to pinpoint the precise areas in which your mentees can benefit from the guidance of your mentors.

It’s important to note that sometimes a junior employee may mentor a senior employee on topics that they are less familiar with. This process is called reverse mentoring.

After the initial orientation, you can start scheduling sessions. It's also important to establish a system for monitoring and tracking these sessions to collect feedback from both mentors and mentees. This would enable them to improve the quality of their sessions and adjust the program when required.

Lastly, candidates who show initiative can be rewarded for their efforts. This will boost motivation and ensure that mentees remain enthusiastic throughout the program.

Projected results

After you have set up your program, you need to track your mentees’ progress. This can be done by monitoring your mentees’ growth and measuring it against projected results. This step is important, as mentorship programs can fail to deliver if expectations are not set beforehand.

This step is also essential from the mentees’ point of view since they have an idea of successful project completion from the get-go. This empowers them to channel their efforts and work towards successfully completing the program.

Mentors can also decide on KPI metrics to measure mentees’ progress and track their growth. A few examples of such metrics can be an improvement in productivity, performance enhancement, increased engagement, improved ROI, etc.

Let's see this with an example. If you're a software company that wants to organise a mentorship program, you can then calculate your ROI through these metrics.

Short Term ROI

• Minority - are seeing an increased number of minority participants in the program?
• Action plan completion - are you seeing an increased number of business goals completed by the end of the program?
• Skills - are your employees displaying better skills than before?

Long Term ROI

• Retention - If your employee turnover has increased?
• Culture - If you're experiencing a culture of inclusivity and diversity in your workforce. As per this report by Cornell University, mentorship programs improved diversity at the management level by 9-24%. They also improved retention levels of minorities and women between 15% and 38%.
• Future leaders- If you can identify future leadership for your organisation. Productivity - Are you seeing an increase in the overall productivity of your organisation?
• Management - Are you able to see an increase in management effectiveness?

Report to management

To remove the last traces of scepticism on the side of your managers, you can assure them that they’ll get detailed reports on the program's results both short-term and long-term.

After you start your program, you also need to report on the progress of your program. Your leadership uses these reports to determine how successful the program is and if they can cultivate long-term benefits from it.

This data is collected through employee feedback forms, surveys, and performance evaluations, which you can share with the management on a regular basis. It may also include training specifics such as mentor-mentee paintings, frequency of meetings, and feedback received from both sides.

Additionally, you also need to track employee performance metrics such as employee engagement levels (through eNPS forms), retention rate, promotion rate, employee satisfaction level. You can also log subjective metrics such as confidence levels, since 87% of the people in a mentorship program feel more empowered and confident in their job role.

Finally: the devil is in the details:

To make sure this framework works for you, you need to refrain from generalising, and use company-specific details to make your case convincing.

Mention pressing company-specific issues that could be resolved using a personalised mentorship program. Use concrete examples of how guess-work in different areas of your organisation such as new software use, onboarding, client management is wasting time and money, and how a consistent mentorship program could be a life-saver.

Find case studies and examples of similar organisations that could see amazing results using a proper mentorship program. Bring up names of employees that could be good mentors or need to be mentored to maximise performance. Finding mentors from your own organisation could be a great start especially if you’re dealing with doubtful managers. But as you gain more trust from managers, you can use mentors from outside your organisation.

PushFar is the world's leading mentoring and career progression platform, helping thousands of individuals and organisations globally. Learn how Pushfar works here.

This article was guest written by Mostafa Dastras.

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