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What Is an Online Mentoring Program and How Does It Work?

What Is an Online Mentoring Program and How Does It Work?

Employee retention has been one of the most pressing issues for companies in all industries for the last two years. Many workers have reconsidered the importance of work in their lives during the global pandemic and as a result, we have seen extremely high resignation rates, known colloquially as “The Great Resignation."

As a result, companies are currently looking for any possible method to reduce employee turnover and many leaders are now investing in mentoring as a way to stem the flow. In fact, 84% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentorship programs to their employees. When you look at the Fortune 50, an impressive 100% offer these programs. Clearly, mentorship programs are a worthwhile investment.

In this guide, we'll highlight what successful mentoring programs entail, including their benefits to the workplace and best practices for maximum results. Let's take a look.

What Is Mentoring?

Mentoring is a learning relationship that is typically centered on long-term career development between a mentor and mentee. Its main goal is fostering personal progress by developing skills, knowledge, and understanding at work.

Mentors often use coaching techniques in their interactions, including goal setting, networking opportunities, and experience sharing to help fortify their relationships and gain mutual career growth.

A company-wide mentoring program also allows organizations to provide employees with the opportunity to be mentors or mentored by senior leaders. The goal is to connect experienced professionals with people who could benefit from their personal stories, professional advice, and lived experiences.

There are many mentoring techniques and strategies that organizational leaders should understand when learning more about mentorship programs. They include:

Traditional: One-on-One Mentoring

Participants in one-on-one mentorship programs are often matched through a formal program and matching process. They can also self-select whom they wish to pair with throughout a specific period. There is just one mentor and one mentee in this relationship.

Participants often choose where they want to meet, how frequently they want to meet, and what to do or discuss when they meet. This form of mentorship focuses on relationship development and individual skill development.

Peer-to-Peer Mentoring

Peer mentoring occurs when two persons form a mentoring relationship but are from the same employment level or age group.

They mentor one another by discussing common interests and challenges by providing comments, sharing experiences, and offering advice based on their own best practices. This often occurs as participants learn about new opportunities, hone skills, or advance in their careers.

Peer-to-peer mentoring works well as part of specialized programs, such as onboarding new employees or in a cohort of rising leaders. It also allows employees to enhance their leadership and communication skills in a self-directed, peer-to-peer setting.

Reverse Mentoring

Reverse mentorship occurs when a junior employee coaches a senior employee in an organization. In essence, it is traditional mentorship, but in reverse. It understands that both sides of a mentoring relationship have skill gaps and learning possibilities.

For example, you could use reverse mentorship as a strategy to train senior personnel on new or emerging technologies. It could also be part of a diversity and inclusion effort where under-represented employees have an opportunity to dialog directly with senior leaders who have the capacity to effect change across the organization.

Because there is always something we can learn from one another, all one-on-one mentoring interactions have the potential to use reverse mentoring. A reverse mentorship program formalizes and makes this process more accessible. ‍

The Benefits of a Workplace Mentoring Program

Workplace mentoring programs leverage current resources and essential staff to help employees grow and thrive. As such, they bring benefits that assist the organization in succeeding. They include:

Employee Retention

Employees going through a mentorship program frequently feel more loyal to the firm for which they work. As a result, they are more likely to remain with the company and advance through the ranks. This results in more corporate stability in knowledgeable, loyal, long-term staff.

Companies with a steady, experienced workforce are more likely to survive economic downturns and changes than those with a fluctuating workforce.

Leadership Development

Mentees advance more quickly in their careers with a successful workplace mentorship program.

Mentors are typically employees with seniority and function in leadership positions. As a result, they have personal attention and guidance at their disposal.

Simultaneously, the mentor deepens their sense of purpose. The program also strengthens their position as a leader within the organization.

Stronger Company Culture

A mentorship program can also significantly impact your company's culture. Mentoring allows employees to form relationships with peers they might not otherwise have the opportunity to work with.

This then develops a feeling of connection that may be felt throughout your entire business.

Enhance Diversity

Mentorship programs can help enhance diversity in leadership. They do so by leveling the playing field through sharing viewpoints, information, and ideas.

The mere existence of a mentorship program in the workplace can aid in better attracting and retaining personnel from all walks of life.

Best Practices for Your Mentorship Program

There are many ways to implement mentorship programs in organizations. But it's crucial to consider your organization's areas that best fit your practices and where you intend to improve.

Here are the best standard practices you can consider including in your mentorship program:


You'll need to think more comprehensively than a department-wide program. This will help you break down silos and stimulate cross-functional collaboration.

A mentorship program for individuals from various business units and divisions would maximize information sharing. It would also encourage employees to broaden their horizons.

Encourage Accountability

Ensure that mentors and employees meet at the appropriate frequency. Typically, mentees want mentorship at least once a month. And as a leader, you must keep track of these relationships to ensure that mentors and mentees meet.

Make it Scalable and Diverse

The diversity group in which mentors and mentees are members can be essential in matching them. Surprisingly, not all mentees see diversity in the same way. Some are adamant about having a mentor from the same diversity group, while others are certain about the polar opposite.

So, a program administrator must gather and consider these preferences.

Gather Feedback

Another strategy to improve the success of a mentorship program is to solicit input from current employees.

You should conduct a survey to determine what changes they would want to see, what areas of their work they need help with, and what general questions they have. Answers to questions like these might help you decide which aims to include when creating a mentorship program.

You Stand to Gain a Lot From a Mentorship Program

Mentorship programs do not follow a one-size-fits-all model. Therefore, you must get the best mentor-mentee pairing. Additionally, it is essential to consider working with mentors with whom you share the same values and professional interests.

As you consider establishing your mentorship program, we recommend reviewing The Mentor Method. It's an online mentoring platform designed to stimulate cooperation and interaction among your increasingly diverse team members.

Contact us today and learn more about how mentorship can influence your organization for the better.


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