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How Corporate Mentorship Programs can Help your Company avoid the Great Resignation

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Ten Thousand Coffees Team
Ten Thousand Coffees Team -
October 18, 2021

Companies are facing a disruption that they could have never been prepared for. Over the past 6 months, a huge wave of employees have left their jobs in a phenomenon known as ‘the Great Resignation’. 

The Great Resignation poses a significant risk to workforces, and it has HR and business leaders scrambling to retain their talent and upskill their teams. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August 2021, and there were an unprecedented 10.9 million open jobs during the same time period.

Recently, Ten Thousand Coffees ran a survey with US enterprise employees that examined how informal learning and development is impacting the Great Resignation trend. With companies shifting to remote and/or hybrid work environments, employees have been relying on video conferencing tools such as Zoom and MS Teams to create and sustain connections. However, those tools can’t bridge the gap of informal human connections that have been lost in the lunchroom, at meetings, and at office desks. 

The survey found that the lack of these networking and mentoring experiences could play a significant role in the mass exodus. In fact, over 60% of respondents stated they would consider leaving their current company to join one that offered more mentorship opportunities. 

With younger employees, the desire for connection was even greater. More than 70% (aged 18-44) wanted more opportunities to build relationships. Over 60% of them also wanted additional access to mentoring and coaching. 

With no in-person, face-to-face mentoring, learning, or talent development opportunities, HR and business leaders are dealing with an unprecedented human resource crisis. The feeling of disconnectedness from peers, the camaraderie lost, and the new challenge of collaborating with scattered, remote teams has left many employees feeling disengaged and discontent with their work situation, and in turn driving the Great Resignation.

Companies need to invest in Mentorship and Talent Development Programs

Remote and hybrid work environments are here to stay. HR and Business Leaders need to recognize this and find ways of adapting their formal and informal development programs to newer work environments. The Ten Thousand Coffees survey highlights just how important corporate mentorship programs can be to drive engagement, employee retention and talent acquisition, but they can also be key to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, as discussed below.

Employee Retention

One of the drivers behind the Great Resignation has been the feeling amongst many employees that their career progression has stagnated. They feel they’ve hit a dead-end because they are not getting direct access to leadership, and many companies even deferred promotions and raises during the pandemic. With the uncertainty around when these activities might return to normal, many are looking outside for growth opportunities as a path forward. 

Companies can rectify this by offering defined development initiatives like mentorship programs, which supports internal career progression. They’re also a way for employers to show their employees that they are willing to invest the time and the resources to help their employees thrive. 

Talent Acquisition  

Millennials represent the largest generation in the workforce, so it’s vital for HR and Business leaders to have a strategy in place to attract and retain them. 

For these younger employees, skill development and ongoing mentoring are important aspects of their ideal workplace. As a result, mentorship programs can be a critical part of a successful talent acquisition strategy that attracts and keeps this demographic group at their companies. 

Workplace Diversity

Mentorship programs have shown to be more effective than tactics like DEI training when it comes to progressing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. And while many companies have implemented workplace diversity programs, it’s not uncommon for them to fail for a variety of reasons

Mentorship levels the playing field for underrepresented employees by providing them with development and networking opportunities that they may not have usually had access to. They also allow different employee groups to come together and form relationships outside of their usual demographics or organizational silos. 

The results from the Ten Thousand Coffees survey confirms just how important mentorship programs are to underrepresented employees. Among minorities, 91% of Black/African Americans and 75% of Hispanics strongly agreed or agreed that they would consider leaving their current company to join one that offered more mentorship opportunities. 

Employee Morale

Mentorship programs encourage professional growth and long-term goal setting; key aspects in nurturing employee engagement. And to top it off, the benefits aren’t exclusive to mentees. 

Research by the National Institutes of Health found that workplace mentoring leads to a more positive self-image, emotional adjustment, and psychological well-being for both the mentee and mentor. 

Building a great mentorship program for a remote/hybrid environment

Building a mentorship program that is flexible enough for HR teams to run effectively online, offline, on-site, or offsite is critical in today’s ever-changing business environments.

So how do HR and business leaders build or adapt their existing development programs for their current work environments? Technology will certainly play a role, but there are many strategies that can be implemented to progress towards your KPIs. Ten Thousand Coffees’ Online Mentoring in the Workplace - A Complete Guide is a great place to start. 

Have questions or want to learn more? Contact Us today.

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