The Changing Landscape of Mentoring

4 months ago by Sophie Stones

The Changing Landscape of Mentoring


Over recent years you may have noticed a shift in Goldman Sachs’ focus upon Millennials. From infographics on their exercise habits, to COO, David Solomon, joining them as a DJ at a Tiki bar, Goldman Sachs are recognising that retention of their younger staff is crucial to the future of their company.

According to the investment firm, there are 92 million millennials with the possibility of joining the job market, and with the average cost to replace them being $14-$25k, it’s no surprise that Solomon and his peers are fighting to keep them engaged.

Whilst we shouldn't expect all of our bosses to start disc scratching, one thing Goldman Sachs have begun placing onus on is their mentorship schemes. With a PGi Study finding that 75% of the millennial generation think having a mentor is crucial to their success, the scheme is having a great effect on morale. Proving that the company cares about developing its new recruits, mentoring can be used as a placeholder for promotion in the future. And with 88% of the lower age-group preferring a collaborative culture to a competitive one, it’s not just traditional mentor structures that have the ability to affect retention.

Ellen, a new NextPlay AI system, which like its namesake is dedicated to helping others, has been dubbed as “the next breakthrough in HR technology and AI for the enterprise”. The system, which matches one persons strengths with another’s weaknesses, was beta tested by transport company, Lyft and after 6 months 218% of users claimed they had more clarity towards their career path, whilst 178% felt more equipped to achieve their goals within the company, proving the true benefits of a mentoring system.

Implementing reverse mentoring, in which newer staff are paired with higher-level employees to mentor upwardly, helps to ensure experienced members are able to keep up with work-place trends, as well as understand the general feeling of contentment on the ground floor. Ensuring that executives and managers don’t get stuck in their old ways, having a younger mentor can push progression forwards.

With Mark Zuckerberg being mentored by Steve Jobs in his earlier days, it’s not just young staff who can benefit from coaching but also young companies. Whilst 50% of businesses don’t make it past 5 years, that number jumps up to 70% for those who are taken by the hand. Not a surprising leap when over 90% of start-ups surveyed by Sage admitted that mentorship was instrumental to success.

Not for the first time, larger companies are taking this advice and 71% of Fortune 500 companies now offer mentorship programs. These programs however, vary as much as their companies do and whilst the majority attempt to pair people within the company, there are those venturing further out. With the risk of a colleague within the company having a biased view-point, there’s been a recent rise in businesses offering their own contacts outside of the inner circle, as impartial advisors. Offering cross-industry advice, having a mentor from another business helps employees to feel out the right path for them, without feeling that the scheme has an ulterior motive.

Whether we choose to find our mentor or mentee in the office next to us or five miles down the road, the positives that come with mentoring are clear. With a Wharton study finding that people who mentor are 6 times more likes to be promoted, whilst their mentees are 5 times more likely to go up the ladder, and companies that employ these schemes? Their retention of both is 20% higher within 5 years.