Leadership Matters
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By Steve O'Brian, Chronus Corporation

The role of human resources within a company has drastically changed over the years, evolving from “simple” functions such as payroll and benefits to more complex strategies such as talent management and leadership development.

As part of these new responsibilities, many organizations have implemented mentoring programs within their companies, matching employees of different skill sets, backgrounds and experiences in order to foster employee engagement and a strong corporate culture.


In fact, studies have shown that more than 70 per cent of Fortune 500 companies now offer mentoring programs.


This article outlines five different benefits that mentoring programs can provide for both the employee and employer, and how these benefits can result in increased employee retention, a more effective workforce and heightened performance for both the employee and the company.


Career planning & leadership development

While employees often have their own goals and objectives for their careers, mentoring programs can help identify how these individual career goals can align with the company, critical for retaining valuable workers and developing leaders.


Assigning new hires to an experienced mentor is an efficient method to reduce the time to competency for new employees and reduce attrition.


Mentoring serves as a simple platform to offer career development opportunities and guidance to employees looking to advance professionally, as well as enhancing the quality of leadership and individuals within the company. The very nature of mentoring relationships ensure that it focuses equally on the development of individuals as well as the development of interpersonal links between individuals, forming a cohesive organization. One example is how some academic customers are connecting students and alumni through mentoring, helping students land that first job. In enterprise, for example, one of Chronus’ large retail office supply customers is now able to offer career development to their entire workforce, rather than just the select few, to create a true learning culture at all levels.

Onboarding new employees


When dealing with increasingly dispersed teams in a global economy, it’s more important than ever for enterprises to help new hires quickly gain the skills and knowledge required to become effective employees. New hire turnover is expensive, and keeping these new hires engaged is essential from the start. In fact, 90 per cent of employees make their decision to stay in the first six months (Aberdeen Group, 2006). Assigning new hires to an experienced mentor is an efficient method to reduce the time to competency for new employees and reduce attrition. Linking new hires to specialists, peers and managers can help new hires feel welcome and productive quickly. The various knowledge bases that are accessed by new employees through a mentoring solution can be a critical driver of success for an onboarding program.

Internal knowledge transfer

Employees come from vastly different backgrounds, both personal and professional. With these varied experiences, there is a wealth of information to be shared between employees, ultimately leading to a smarter, more effective workforce. A mentoring program is an easy way to organize, create, capture and distribute knowledge across the company by providing direct access to a wide range of experts and peers.


Mentoring creates a culture where learning, and the sharing of knowledge, become part of the daily fabric rather than a forced task. As an example, an aerospace company is using mentoring as a platform to transfer technical knowledge from impending retirees to junior employees. Organizations can also implement reverse mentoring programs, where junior employees train senior employees on new technology methods.

Diversity initiatives

A diverse workforce helps stimulate innovation, cultivate creativity and steer business strategies. Mentoring programs enable employees to share a range of opinions, ideas, knowledge and experiences thanks to the environment of trust, belonging and understanding. Employees are given a platform to voice concerns, find solutions and are ultimately inspired to perform to their highest ability. These mentoring programs allow organizations to develop and retain diverse talent, and even build a robust pipeline for future leaders, giving an organization a strong competitive advantage.

Organizations can also implement reverse mentoring programs, where junior employees train senior employees on new technology methods.

Employee engagement

A business typically operates more efficiently and effectively when its employees are actively involved and engaged in the success of the company. If employees are intellectually and emotionally committed to accomplishing their work and the vision of the organization, it creates a heightened sense of ownership where each employee wants to do whatever they can for the greater good of the company. Mentoring programs can increase engagement by offering the opportunity for regular feedback, creating clarity on various issues such as job expectations, career advancement and rewards. Mentoring also increases the quality of working relationships, contributing to an increase in customer satisfaction, employee productivity and retention.

Mentoring programs are a win-win for both employees and the companies that offer them. There are benefits to be gained on both sides, resulting in long-term career success and retention.

Steve O'Brian is VP of Client Services for Chronus Corporation.

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