Mentoring could stop talent drain

The research, conducted by global HR services group Penna Plc, has found that a fifth of employees are not currently mentoring or being mentored – but would like to be. Conducted amongst 2,000 respondents, the research also found that that a further 40 per cent of employees have never been given the opportunity to be a mentor or mentee.

Commenting on the findings Penny de Valk, Managing Director of Penna’s Talent Practice, said: “Talent management slipped down the agenda during the recession, but individuals are clearly hungry for opportunities to learn and develop and businesses can provide this through mentoring schemes. It’s no coincidence that 70 per cent of Fortune 500 businesses run mentoring schemes, and 75 per cent of executives said it played a key role in their personal career success, as it helps to both mentor and mentee to gain new skills and stay engaged with the business. Without it, businesses are at risk of losing talent who will seek learning opportunities elsewhere – even though mentoring can provide a simple solution to aid retention and engagement.”

The most popular objective of mentoring for mentees is to acquire new skills, with the least being to find a new job. With acquiring new skills as a key driver, it’s no surprise that that mentees said the most desirable characteristics for mentors to possess are: expertise, strong rapport and being challenging. Furthermore, 64 per cent of mentees agreed that an external mentor would be the least favourable option – meaning that schemes can be implemented cost effectively in-house.

Penny de Valk concludes: “Mentoring not only provides the mentee with the opportunity to learn new skills, and mentors the chance to hone theirs, but it also helps businesses to enhance their talent pipeline – and stem drain – by equipping the next generation of leaders with the knowledge needed.

“Even though a quarter of mentor programmes are formally arranged and structured, businesses need to ensure programmes are designed effectively as nearly a third of mentees said the relationship with their mentor failed due to the process having lost momentum. By ensuring engagement up front with both parties, and agreeing benchmarks for success, mentoring can provide an effective learning and development programme.”