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Mentoring belonging
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The role of mentoring in boosting belonging

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Increasing numbers of office workers are feeling disconnected from their organisations. Here's how L&D can use mentoring to revive their sense of belonging.

21st Feb 2022
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The UK is facing a belonging crisis with 16 million office workers saying that they don’t feel a sense of belonging in their current company. 72% of these are considering handing in their notice within the next year. This means a potential 11.5 million workers could be resigning. No wonder there’s so much talk about the ‘Great Resignation’ right now.  

What does this mean for business?

If nothing is done to address the belonging crisis, businesses will undoubtedly be disrupted. Staff that do stay, could become unproductive, unengaged and demotivated, worse still, they may decide to leave the company forever. This presents a serious challenge for employers, as hiring new talent is an expensive and time-consuming process. 

Building a sense of belonging is becoming crucial to businesses’ success and mentoring plays an important role in cultivating this sense of connection

The pandemic has altered how we perceive the world of work. Emotional benefits are becoming more important within the workplace. For example, 43% of workers believe feeling valued is a more important workplace perk than financial incentives, such as bonuses and health insurance. 

Mentoring: The crucial belonging tool

Building a sense of belonging is becoming crucial to businesses’ success and mentoring plays an important role in cultivating this sense of connection. When done well, it helps to support employee progression, development and retention.

In fact, according to a recent study 97% of people with a mentor believe they are valuable, while mentees are also promoted five times more often than those who do not have a mentor. Digital mentoring is particularly effective, as it can be rolled out at scale, helping to build a sense of inclusion amongst all team members.  

Mentoring also has a valuable role to play for virtual workers, who are unable to experience the benefits of office life

Plus, the benefits of mentoring go beyond the individual mentee and their mentor. The data shows that 89% of mentees will go on to mentor others in the future, creating a positive cycle that helps foster a culture of learning and development, with benefits passed on to future employees. 

Our own research illustrates that mentoring is valued particularly highly by Millennials with 79% of 18–24-year-olds seeing mentoring as crucial to career success. And as Millennials are set to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, purposeful mentoring programmes are essential to building happy, motivated workforces of the future.

Mentoring also has a valuable role to play for virtual workers, who are unable to experience the benefits of office life. In fact, almost half of workers who retained a sense of belonging whilst working remotely during the pandemic put this down to online support platforms and mentoring schemes.

Tips for effective mentoring

1. Successful mentoring programmes require clear, achievable goals and a shared goal that can be worked towards by both mentor and mentee. This will foster a sense of purpose and progression. 

2. Managing expectations when it comes to communication is also key to success. Mentees and mentors must both be clear on the extent of the relationship and how much communication is required each month. Agreeing on this early ensures promises are met and boundaries are clear. 

The benefits of purposeful mentoring are well-documented and can be used to restore employee purpose and progression

3. Effective mentoring partnerships are those that consider several factors when matching candidates. Mentees and suggested mentors should be matched on their similar aims, experiences and personality traits as this will provide the basis for a rewarding partnership. 

4. Finally, thorough measurement is essential to determine the efficiency of a programme. Businesses must carefully evaluate the outcomes, including the progression and retention of mentees, in order to identify successes and areas for improvement. 

Bring back belonging

Thousands of employees are considering leaving their jobs, driven by a loss of belonging. The benefits of purposeful mentoring are well-documented and can be used to restore employee purpose and progression. 

Yet, there is a lack of mentoring opportunities within many organisations as figures show that only 37% of UK professionals have a mentor, whilst just 40% of HR decision-makers have strategies in place to cultivate belonging. Clearly, there is an imbalance between mentoring demand and the services provided by employers.

Interested in this topic? Read How to be a good mentor in a hybrid world.

Replies (1)

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margo Toronto
By margo.mentors-mmha.com
24th Feb 2022 16:06

Simon, thank you for posting this article. I'm so pleased to see some recent evidence of the efficacy of mentoring relationships for people and mentoring processes for organisations. In our experience, protégés often learn more when matched with a mentor who has different work/communication styles. Also, we have measured gains in 11 career and life effectiveness skills (Skills for Career And Life Effectiveness®) when the protégé with measured areas for growth and development is matched with a mentor who has strengths in those areas.

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