As the American workforce ages and becomes more diverse, employers will need to adopt new recruitment, hiring and staff development strategies to ensure they are able to source and retain talented employees. Mentoring programs play an essential role in fostering this process.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is a personnel enhancement strategy that pairs employees to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills.
Mentors share known resources, expertise, organizational history, values, skills, perspectives, attitudes and proficiencies with mentees. This allows mentees to quickly ramp up, and build skills and knowledge while attaining career development goals. It also provides the opportunity for mentors to further enhance their own skill and knowledge areas.
As the composition of the workforce changes and employees retire in large numbers, organizations will need to develop long-term plans for knowledge transfer and career development.
What are the Benefits of Mentoring?
Mentoring can have a wide-range of positive impacts on employees and organizations.
Organizational benefits of mentoring include:
- Increased organizational diversity
- Creation of a welcoming and inclusive workplace culture
- Reduced turnover
- Transfer of organizational knowledge
- Increased preparedness for workforce turnover, especially in high level positions
Employee benefits of mentoring include:
- A structured way for new employees to get acquainted with the organization
- Easier transitions into the workplace and to new positions
- Increased self-awareness and self-discipline
- Expanded leadership abilities and understanding of diverse workers
- Increased technical skills and enhanced opportunities for career advancement
- New opportunities to share ideas, try new skills and take risks
- Enhanced capacity to translate values and strategies into productive actions
- Improved awareness of personal biases, assumptions and identification of areas for improvement
- Extended collaboration among employees from different generations and cultural backgrounds
How Can I Learn More about Mentoring?
Visit EARN's Federal and Private Mentoring Primers. These primers have both basic guidance and specific strategies for implementing new mentoring programs or improving existing ones.
Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities <http://www.cosdonline.org>
Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities works with institutes of higher education and employers to increase employment readiness and opportunities for college students and graduates with disabilities. COSD holds an annual conference in November where employers can actively recruit college students with disabilities.
ENTRY POINT! is a program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) offering internship opportunities in science, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and some fields of business for students with apparent and non-apparent disabilities. Employers who are interested in recruiting college interns with disabilities should contact Entry Point with their available opportunities.
Cultivating Leadership: Mentoring Students with Disabilities<http://www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/fact/cfm.htm>
This resource from the Office of Disability Employment Policy reviews key areas of mentoring and the benefits for employers and participants in mentoring programs.
Paving the Way to Work: A Guide to Career-Focused Mentoring<http://www.ncwd-youth.info/paving-the-way-to-work>
This document provides guidance for individuals designing mentoring programs for youth, including youth with disabilities.
Partnership for Workplace Mental Health: Employer Case Examples <http://www.workplacementalhealth.org/Pages/EmployerInnovations/Search.aspx>
The Employer Case Examples database facilitates the sharing of successful employer practices in key areas of mental health. Employers can identify ways to advance mental health at their organizations and share their own stories.
Personal Assistance Services On The Job<http://www.ncwd-youth.info/information-brief-06>
This information brief provides information on personal assistance services for youth with disabilities that are available under the Workforce Investment Act. These services can be included as part of an employer's reasonable accommodations process and may financed through health insurance plans, medical spending accounts or publicly available funding.
AARP Workforce Assessment Tool<http://www.aarpworkforceassessment.org/us/index.cfm>
This free, confidential tool assists employers in assessing their current and future workplace needs, including understanding the impact of retiring workers, addressing skills shortages, and managing a multi-generations workforce.