CHAPTER 6 – MENTORING
AND THE WORKPLACE
Many mentors and protégés will find
themselves participating in APEGGA’s Mentoring
Program while employed by a for-profit business.
With this in mind, it is worthwhile considering
the roles of the mentor and protégé
in relation to their place or places of employment.
Some corporations have existing mentoring programs
that may dovetail with the needs of APEGGA mentors
and protégés. This chapter provides
some ideas related to mentoring in the workplace
and specifically in the for-profit corporate environment.
Whether mentors received a few helpful tips or
were taken under someone’s wing, most of
them will have benefited from formal or informal
mentoring at some point in their careers. Today,
mentoring has evolved in the workplace to be less
about bosses grooming their handpicked successes
to being more about employees’ overall career
growth. With the steep learning curve in most
technical organizations, leveraging the knowledge
and experience of veteran staffers is especially
helpful in speeding along the development of newcomers.
Corporations have undergone immense change in
the past decade due to increased competition in
the global marketplace. These changes are having
a major impact on the role of managers. Most Fortune
500 and Fortune 100 companies have restructured
in an attempt to become more competitive with
hundreds of thousands of employees laid off as
a result. Now managers are forced to meet greater
demands for productivity with fewer resources
and shorter planning cycles.
Employees are expected to go the extra mile and
work anytime, anywhere with loosely defined job
descriptions. In the past an employee could count
on being with the same company for his/her entire
career – 30 years or more. Now if a person
is with the same company for 10 years, his/her
motivations are suspect.
Many companies have been involved in “reengineering”
efforts in an attempt to improve their business
processes. Managers of the future will have to
know how to create a culture of continuous improvement,
or what some specialists call “the learning
organization”, in order to remain competitive.
In flattened organizations, however, there are
fewer middle managers to do the work.
The leaders that remain in the companies must
learn to shift from a control and command style
to one of facilitating and mentoring. Managers
who once felt they must know where, when, what,
and how employees are doing will be forced to
trust and empower their employees. Managers of
today and tomorrow may have responsibility for
business results without having direct control
over the people who must achieve those results.
Managers increasingly will have the responsibility
to train others and act as mentors in order to
empower workers and will need to find a match
between the career interests of individual workers
and the needs of business.
The long term implications of these trends for
the future require that managers’ roles
will shift. Managers will need to shift:
|Controlling and commanding
||Mentoring and empowerment
|Working through chain of command
||Making decisions at the lowest levels
|Narrow job descriptions
||Broad job design
||Teams leading themselves
|Developing and rewarding through upward
||Developmental assignments and lateral mobility
|Using formal power
|Using imposed systems of measurement and
||Letting employees determine both
Resisting change Leading change
Hopefully, as a result of these trends, work
will become more satisfying. Workers will have
a greater sense of closure and accomplishment
from their jobs as they perform complete tasks
and have more control over decisions that affect
their jobs. In addition, they will have more power
to affect the organization in a significant way.
These trends can have positive consequences if
managers learn how to create a culture of continuous
improvement, understand their new roles, develop
employees, and mentor effectively. Mentoring is
a process of building a relationship and a working
environment that enhances the development of skills
and performance of one or both parties. Mentoring
must be supported and reinforced by the management
system and the organizational culture.
MENTORING IN THE WORKPLACE
Organizations can expect many benefits from mentoring.
Staff will grow, mature and gain confidence. They
will gain the following:
1. Awareness of organizational policies and
2. Appreciation of networking
3. Proactive approaches to their tasks
4. Eagerness to learn
5. Movement towards “expert” status
6. Attitude of “advocacy”
THE IMMEDIATE MANAGER
Many managers state that they act as mentors to
their “people”; however, the direct
manager is more likely to be in the role of a
coach rather than a mentor. The differences between
coaching and mentoring can be illustrated as follows:
|Focuses on tasks
||Focuses on processes
|Usually short term
||Usually long term
|Driven by the coach
||Driven by the protégé
|Shows where you went wrong
||Helps you figure it out for yourself
A direct manager is a coach. It is his/her responsibility
to focus on the work that must be done and assure
that the worker knows how to do the tasks required
to do the work. It is very important to include
the direct manager in a mentoring relationship.
There are three ways a manager can be involved
in the mentoring relationship:
1) The manager is told about the relationship
but does not meet with the mentor and has a somewhat
arms- length relationship. The mentor may answer
direct questions about the development of the
protégé within the bounds of their
confidentiality agreement, but does not offer
comments to the manager.
2) The mentor, protégé and manager
meet together to discuss the goals and objectives
of the mentoring relationship, discuss training
plans and other development potential. After the
initial set-up of the relationship, the manager
steps back, and has little further involvement.
3) The mentor, protégé and manager
meet frequently to work together to help the protégé
reach his/her goals. The choice of style of mentor/protégé/manager
relationship that will work best depends on the
personalities of the individuals and the choice
should always be made by the protégé
who is driving the relationship. As a general
rule, the protégé should include
his direct manager in the mentoring relationship
as much as possible because he is a key player
in career development.
THE BENEFITS OF MENTORING TO EMPLOYERS
Some businesses may wish maximize the benefits
of the APEGGA Mentoring Program to their organization
through the following actions:
- Manage the entire mentoring process
to ensure consistency and quality.
Though the content of individual mentoring sessions
should always be confidential, the mentoring
process itself needs to be managed to ensure
that the protégés and the mentors
are following the appropriate process and leveraging
- Prepare protégés in
advance for mentoring and don’t force
mentoring on anyone. Mentoring remains
a relatively new development technique and people
may not understand how the process can help
them become better professionals. The sooner
they understand the process, the sooner they
will see results.
- Provide mentoring with strong organizational
support. Those being mentored should
receive encouragement and support from their
immediate managers. Also, mentoring should be
conducted in the context of other developmental
efforts such as competency development, assessments,
mentoring and leadership workshops.
- Allow each mentoring relationship
to follow its own path. A major difference
between mentoring and training is that mentoring
allows the individual to determine what works
best for him at a very personal level. Mentors
need wide latitude to work with “the whole
person” and help each protégé
be more effective as a person as well as to
be more effective as a business leader.
COSTS AND RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)
With so many intangible benefits, the bottom-line
effects of a mentoring program can be difficult
to quantify. ROI is most clearly demonstrated
by examining productivity and turnover rates before
and after implementing a mentoring program. According
to the Meta Group, when mentoring leverages the
organization’s skills and productivity,
employee morale can increase by 25 per cent. The
ROI for mentoring can be calculated using various
methods, and a return for the investment can be
found in numerous locations within an organization.
An ideal way to examine the ROI for mentoring
is to look at the protégé, mentor
and the organization.
- With protégés, ROI can be calculated
through skill and knowledge development that
directly impacts productivity.
- With mentors, ROI can be calculated through
the sharing of knowledge and expertise.
- With the organization the ROI can be calculated
through retention, attracting talent, savings
on training and development costs, and creating
a competitive work environment.
Regardless of where you look for the ROI on mentoring,
the formula for calculating the ROI is generally
the same. The following is a sample method for
calculating ROI of a mentoring program in the
area of retention.
A. Calculate the total costs of implementing
and running the mentoring program.
B. Determine the current level of spending associated
with the cost to the company each time an employee
leaves the company during the year.
C. Multiply the amount “B” by the
number of employees that leave during the year.
D. Subtract “A” (original investment
in mentoring) from “C” (turnover
E. Divide “D” by “A”
and multiply times 100 to determine the ROI
(Please note: this style of calculation does
not factor in changing business conditions, manpower
pool, competition and other factors, it is strictly
a measure of mentoring.)
Statistics show the positive influence of mentoring
on protégés, mentors and organizations.
These statistics are grouped into four categories
that effect every organization or individual.
Promotion: 75 per cent of
executives point to mentoring as playing a key
role in their careers; and 44 per cent of CEOs
list mentoring programs as one of the three
most effective strategies to enhance women’s
advancement into senior management. (Source:
American Society of Training & Development
Productivity: Managerial productivity
increased by 88 per cent when mentoring was
involved, versus only a 24 per cent increase
with training alone; 71 per cent of Fortune
500 companies use mentoring to assure learning
occurs in their organizations. (Source: ASTD)
Development: More than 60
per cent of college and graduate students listed
mentoring as a criterion for selecting an employer
after graduation (Source: MMHA); 76 per cent
of Fortune’s top 25 companies offer mentoring
programs (Source: Fortune Magazine); 96 per
cent of executives say mentoring is an important
development tool (Source: Account Temps).
Retention: 77 per cent of
companies report that mentoring programs were
effective in increasing employee retention;
35 per cent of employees who do not receive
regular mentoring look for another job within
12 months (Source: ASTD).
When all is said and done, there can be little
doubt that mentoring is not only good for the
professions but also benefits mentors, protégés
and the organization.
All reference materials used in the creation
of this text can be found on APEGGA’s Mentoring
web site under the heading of resources. That
location also gives a listing of web sites that
will provide help to potential mentors and protégés.