Many already recognize the value of well-constructed mentoring programs and the impact they can have on succession planning, employee engagement, and talent development. But a well-constructed mentoring program can also be a strategy to promote inclusion among diverse populations.
If a company relies solely on “organic” mentoring where mentors choose whom they will mentor, unconscious bias often enters those selections and mentors will tend to mentor and sponsor younger versions of themselves. This means critical relationships can be difficult to access for diverse candidates in less diverse organizations.
Companies with no formal inclusion strategy for mentoring are often left to wonder why the lack of diversity of their senior leadership team continues to perpetuate itself and why diverse candidates either hit a glass ceiling within the organization or leave because they see a clearer path elsewhere.
A formal mentoring structure can be a game-changer for a company culture. Studies show mentoring can impact how well a company attracts, retains, and develops their talent. By empowering mentees to make their mentoring selections and building a culture that supports equal access for all employees, a company can win the war on talent and build a workforce reflective of the communities it serves and see a dramatic impact on their bottom line.