The importance of a diverse mentoring system for business
Employers seeking to harness the benefits of a diverse workforce cannot expect to achieve results without putting in place the foundations necessary to attract and retain top talent. The success of your diverse team depends on the systems you establish to ensure equal opportunities and recognition for all staff.
This is where a diverse mentoring system can prove transformation. According to a study reported in the Harvard Business Review, formal mentoring programs within organisations boosted minority and female representation in management on average by 9 to 24 per cent.
By creating a program that encourages employees to build career paths and sparks collaboration between different races, genders, cultures and demographics, businesses can succeed in unlocking the true potential of their talent and build an environment in which all employees feel valued.
A mentoring system is typically established to pair well-seasoned professionals with less experienced members of staff to encourage knowledge transfer and in turn, boost productivity and strengthen retention rates. More than inspiration, mentors can provide confirmation of the possibilities of progression with the company and shine a new light on challenges they themselves have had to overcome. Providing mentors at senior level can make all the difference in achieving diversity initiatives insofar as it aids in developing confidence in handling difficult situations and navigating new challenges.
Strong mentoring relationships ensure that every employee is given the chance to grow and progress in the company – even if they lack the self-confidence to put themselves forward for promotions or one-off opportunities. A good mentor will not only coach the employee but uncover untapped potential and create a safe environment in which they feel empowered to take risks, ask questions and challenge themselves to go for gold – no matter what their specific ambitions or cultural background.
Promoting cultural change through diverse pairings
When we think of mentoring relationships, we tend to envisage it as a one-way street of knowledge sharing from the experienced master and her protegee. In fact, mentoring can be instrumental in the development of both employees and senior leaders. If implemented correctly, programs such as these will not only aid in the formation and career development of the mentee but will enable the mentor to gain new perspectives previously unexplored. More than a unilateral process, the right mentoring relationship will benefit both parties; it can act as the catalyst to behavioural change in the business – particularly in diverse matches.
Improving business-wide communication
Successful diversity mentoring programs empower employees to share their ideas, experiences and opinions on an equal playing field; they aid in fostering a culture of contribution throughout the business. While training courses can help to lay a foundation for behavioural change, it’s the real-life, day-to-day interactions that will ultimately influence attitudes. With this in mind, establishing a diverse mentoring program between people from different backgrounds, belief systems, races and genders will naturally aid in broadening the views of employees at all levels and will promote greater awareness of the current barriers to success.