How Business Mentorship Programs Support (And Enhance) A Company’s Culture

Providing a nurturing environment that empowers employee and management mentorship relations at your company will create a substantial promise to a cohort of future potential leaders. 

It also fosters long-term friendships, trustworthiness and mutual respect among colleagues. In addition, these efforts will contribute much more effectively to the strengthening of diverse, inclusive culture in the workplace. Below, eight Forbes Human Resources Council members share how companies can consider developing, or reviving, a mentorship program.

1. By Celebrating Unique Perspectives

The best mentorship programs are designed to be inclusive of all backgrounds and personal experiences, resulting in equal and equitable opportunities for participants. It is imperative for employers to ensure they are elevating and encouraging all employees while celebrating their different perspectives and lived experiences. – Susan Tohyama, Ceridian

2. By Creating New Champions And Leaders

We create a supportive space for the exchange of ideas and diversity of opinion so mentees can share their perspective with a mentor who can elevate their voice. This creates a well-placed champion for the mentee’s idea, and the mentor can contextualize the suggestion for optimal impact. Strengthen culture by showing respect and support to all contributions regardless of employee level. – Jennifer Rozon, McLean & Company

3. By Demonstrating A Two-Fold Commitment

Commitment is a two-fold engagement. Therefore, management and employees must both be devoted to the process. Management should provide support and financial means and employees must then be committed to the actual process of strengthening diversity, inclusion and workplace culture. – Soumyasanto Sen, People Conscience

4. By Delivering Consistent Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Initiatives

Delivering consistent diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives sets companies apart in attracting and retaining people. At Zenefits, inclusive mentorship relationships drive performance and visibility for employees, creating promotional opportunities and building our leadership team. These relationships bring teams closer together and help everyone gain a broader perspective and worldview. – Danny Speros, Zenefits


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5. By Exposing Colleagues To New Experiences

Colleagues gain new or more exposure to someone of a different background or set of experience. The one-on-one relationship building allows for greater depth of understanding what someone else’s experiences have been and the influence of those experiences on the individual, their life and career. – Megan Leasher, Talent Plus

6. By Offering Two-Way Learning And Sponsorship 

When mentorship is approached as an opportunity for two-way learning and sponsorship, both parties benefit. We believe in and cultivate that. As a result, we have seen increases in creativity, innovation and in people approaching challenges and problems from more unique and diverse perspectives. This has helped our business and people to really thrive and develop unique expertise. – Nicole Fernandes, Blu Ivy Group

7. By Promoting Equal Opportunities And Outcomes

Equality refers to equal opportunities, while equity refers to equal outcomes. Just because companies prioritize DEI in their hiring practices doesn’t mean it results in equal outcomes for employees, especially if opportunities didn’t exist early in their careers. Mentorships provide a chance to change this by allowing motivated employees to partner with managers in order to achieve career goals. – John Feldmann, Insperity

8. By Illuminating Active Thought Leadership

To have a positive effect the groundwork must be done. Mentorship programs are best led with mentors that illuminate diversity, equity and inclusion first and foremost. The culture must be visible, not just in words but actions—who are your leaders? Are employees allowed to have a diversity of thought, ownership of their work and independence? If not, you should work on that first. – Nakisha Griffin, Virtual Enterprise Architects