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How to Use Mentorship Programs to Promote Workforce Diversity

How does mentoring help in the workplace?

The answer is deceptively simple: mentoring or coaching (1) connects the dots between training and work output, and (2) creates and motivates a career track that mentees can follow. And it’s good for business: one study found that every $1 invested in a mentoring program returned $1.50 thanks to improved performance and output.

How does mentoring help with diversity?

Mentoring can also help close workplace inequities if designed to do so. Consider the gender gap, for example. Women remain statistically under-represented in executive roles; according to research analysis firm McKinsey, while women fill half or more of entry-level positions, they occupy only 28% of VP and senior positions and only 21% of C-suite positions.

But it turns out that mentoring is a great way to help close some of these gaps. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) looked at what kind of diversity initiatives actually work with different groups and found that many employees – women and racial minorities in particular – respond well to mentorship programs.

Indeed, The Harvard Business Review reports that formal mentorship programs can increase the representation of minorities and women in management by as much as 24%.

Other researchers agree. “Our research suggests that companies aiming to better attract, retain and engage ethnic minority talent should consider a formal mentoring program if they don’t already offer one,” says David Pruner, partner and member of the Industrial Practice at Heidrick & Struggles, in response to their Creating a Culture of Mentorship survey. “It’s even more critical for companies to address this demand as more recognize diversity and inclusion as a key driver of a healthy corporate culture and their bottom line.”

How can you maximize your mentorship programs?

  • Enlist influencers and senior management.
  • Or even make participation mandatory, at least during the initial stages.
  • Eliminate any stigma; asking for a mentor should not be treated as weakness or incapability.
  • In fact, foster the principles of mentorship as part of company culture.
  • Make sure the mentorship program actually meets the needs of the mentees.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about CoAdvantage’s ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.

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