What are corporate mentoring programs?

Corporate mentoring programs are ongoing initiatives to develop emerging leaders by pairing them with experienced ones. Mentors then coach, guide, and listen to protégés to foster their career development. They can be leaders from within or outside the organization.

At Everwise, we’re in the business of corporate mentorship programs. So we’ve shared our learnings here. This page will walk you through:

  • The benefits of starting a mentoring program in the workplace
  • What successful mentoring programs in corporations look like
  • How to start your corporate mentoring program

You can also learn more about mentoring programs with our free eBook, Mentoring That Works. Download it here.

Mentoring is a win-win-win for mentors, proteges, and organizations

Mentored employees are promoted five times more often than those without mentoring.

Mentored employees are 44% less likely to leave the company over a five year period.

Mentors are six times more likely to be promoted.

Over 80% of mentors say they developed their own skills by mentoring others.

"Everwise has re-engaged our high potentials, getting them to feel good about their relationships with the company."
Susan Lovegren CHRO, AppDynamics

6 keys to successful corporate mentoring

While the benefits abound, successful mentoring programs can be hard work — particularly at scale. From mentor fatigue and lack of accountability to ineffective matching, common challenges can prevent your mentoring program from working well beyond a few dozen participants.

But breathe easy. By focusing on a few core components of your program, you can overcome the common challenges and create the right mentorship program for your business. With that in mind, here are six components to focus on for a successful mentoring program.

1Motivated Mentors

Many executives are asked to mentor for organizational benefit — essentially, to donate precious time to help others. As a result, these executives may not realize that mentoring is also personally enriching. Once mentors do recognize the benefits, 82% would like to mentor again. So verbalize the personal benefits of mentoring to ensure your mentors stay motivated.

Pro tip: Communicate the benefits that past mentors have seen from your program. If your program is new, try to get use case studies and mentor spotlights from similar organizations to show potential benefits.

2Protégé Goal Setting

Beyond wanting to 'improve,' 'develop,' or 'advance,' protégés often struggle to articulate how they’d like a mentor to help them. But without clear goals, the mentoring relationship lacks direction and can’t advance past being a talking exercise.

Suggest focal areas, based on common issues that people face at similar points in their careers. To do so, you’ll need access to detailed data based on aggregated learning and development figures (which Everwise can help with).

3Effective Matching

Matchmaking is notoriously difficult. Some protégés find mentors based on title. Others, by shared hobbies. But mentor-protégé matches require a well-rounded picture of both parties involved. Create a questionnaire that asks several of questions spanning skill sets, interests, experiences, current roles, etc. From there, you can thoughtfully pair mentors with protégés.

Pro tip: Improve future matching by monitoring how those matches fared, and tweaking your matches accordingly.

4Protégé Openness

When protégés work with mentors from within their organization, challenges can arise. They may need to discuss particularly sensitive issues, for instance, or share reservations.

Looking for mentors outside of your company will dramatically reduce fear of retribution. Instead, protégés will have mentors that can listen and coach without judgement or political motivation. One company working with Everwise found that when it gave employees a choice between internal and external mentors, two-thirds chose to partner with mentors from outside the organization.

5A Structured Process

To prevent your mentorship programs from losing momentum, bring on a dedicated relationship manager. This role can help mentors or protégés when they run into problems. They can also check in with participants on a regular basis, and provide guidelines on the program structure.

6Tracked Outcomes

Mentorship program results are rarely measured, despite the benefits of doing so. Track progress at the group level, for instance, to ensure there’s a good return on the continued investment. Consider measuring engagement, progress against goals, and match satisfaction, to start. Mentoring software like Everwise can help with this.

What motivates mentors


Start a corporate mentoring program

To start a mentoring program in your workplace, first focus on accomplishing four things:

Secure Internal Buy-In

Align your organization’s leadership team first and foremost. You’ll want to ensure that everyone understands the need for mentorship, the benefits of a program, and what a successful program looks like.

Find a Platform

Sign onto a platform that can support your organization’s mentoring program. This platform should help you match protégés and mentors, manage your programs, and monitor results. Ideally, the platform also support L&D objectives beyond mentoring, so for example a mentor/protege can use the same platform for manager training.

Prepare for the Six Components of Success

Create a program plan that incorporates the six components of success detailed above. Doing this off the bat will ensure that your mentorship program motivates mentors, develops protégés, and moves your business forward.

Establish Measures of Success

Identify the measures of success that matter most to your business. Is it engagement? Retention? Satisfaction? Then identify your benchmarks so you can measure your success.

If this all seems like a lot, it is. Everwise is here to help you every step of the way — we’ve supported thousands of transformative mentoring experiences. And to good success: 92% of participants would recommend Everwise to their colleagues. Learn more about Everwise mentoring programs

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