Attracting & retaining talent: The role of a mentoring program

By Jan Murray
Finding and retaining top talent and employees within your company.

Last updated

If you're looking for ways to attract talent to your company, you're probably already wondering how other companies do it - and how to stand out from the competition.

Or perhaps you've recently lost some talent?

Maybe you thought they would be with you long term... and you're considering how you can keep this from happening again?

The key has to be in knowing what attracts and helps companies retain talented employees in the first place, doesn't it?

Over half of those surveyed indicated that their manager or organisation could have taken actions to prevent their departure.
(Gallup poll)

Well, you'll be pleased to know that when it comes to talent attraction and retention, according to a poll by Gallup, reasons individuals give for leaving a company are fairly easy to define.

  • Career development: One-third of individuals cited career advancement or promotional opportunities as their reason for leaving.

  • Pay and benefits – remarkably, pay and benefits only accounted for 22% of those leaving.

  • A poor fit with the job accounted for 20% of the reasons for talent leaving a company.

  • Issues with management or the general work environment was responsible for a massive 17% of those leaving a company.

One real takeaway is that over half of those surveyed indicated that their manager or organisation could have taken actions to prevent their departure.

Imagine that. Despite everything, more than half of the talent could have been retained if there was more intervention from the managers.

And it's easy to see that the reverse is likely to be true. Companies that offer solutions to career development, offer great benefits and have close interaction between staff and managers tick all the boxes for attracting talent.

  • Job perks and satisfaction – Mentees are more likely to feel like valued members of staff and able to sort out issues in terms of how they fit within a company.

    The fact that mentoring provides clear goals in career development is a real perk of the job when looking to retain existing talent, and to attract new employees.

  • Career development - Mentoring provides a way for talent to progress through the company. Talented individuals can also be groomed using succession planning to coach individuals into more senior levels of an organisation.

  • Touch points for staff and management - Close interaction and many touch points between members of staff and senior team members is often a part of the mentoring process other than with peer to peer mentoring. With the closer integration of senior management and staff members, potential issues found in retaining talent within a company can be caught early

Mentoring schemes can help attract and keep talent, both as a part of the hiring process and the organisation's employee value proposition (EVP). This demonstrates the company's commitment to staff development and its willingness to invest in the future careers of new hires.

A mentoring scheme could entail selecting seasoned mentors from different departments, known for their key skills and technical know-how. This approach aims to support less experienced employees, aligning with the company's overall vision and strategic goals.

Why is attracting and retaining talent important?

Enhanced Profitability and Expansion

Investing in employees via mentoring schemes and talent management efforts can make staff feel appreciated, content, and driven. Supporting their skill development can also boost productivity, profitability, and growth within the business.

On the other hand, if companies fail to invest in their employees, neglect to hear their concerns, refrain from training them, and don't engage in effective communication, they risk losing their skilled workforce and their expertise. Such a strategy leads to the constant need to replenish the workforce, often requiring more time and financial resources than what would be spent on staff mentoring, talent management, and training.

In a study sponsored by KPMG and conducted by the Boston College Center for Work and Family, which surveyed over 1,000 millennials, findings challenged the common belief that millennials favour "job-hopping." A significant portion of the young adults questioned (60 percent) expressed intentions to remain in their current roles for an extended period. Furthermore, they preferred to advance within their existing organisations at a ratio of 2-1, rather than seeking opportunities elsewhere.

Career development for retaining talented employees

We understand that millennials are keen to progress in their careers. Moreover, 80 percent of millennials indicated their readiness to exert considerable extra effort beyond the usual expectations to contribute to their organisation's success. These are precisely the type of employees that a company would want to retain.

In the current competition for top talent, taking proactive steps to engage with millennial employees regarding their personal career trajectories can enhance retention and clearly demonstrate that career advancement within the organisation is achievable. Here are a few essential action steps:

  • Offering career management workshops and career coaching can clarify the pathways for progression within an organisation. Millennials seek assistance from their employers in setting goals, building networks, finding mentors, and exploring leadership opportunities. Providing career navigation skills and mentoring programmes addresses these needs effectively.

  • Stressing the importance of informal mentoring and spontaneous career advice is crucial. Managers should regularly check in with employees to confirm they are achieving their career objectives. The personalised guidance, training, and mentoring a manager offers can be pivotal in an employee's decision to stay with or leave an organisation.

Seeking to align an employee's personal passions with their work responsibilities whenever feasible is beneficial. This approach can make employees feel both challenged and supported, aiding them in pursuing their career aspirations.

Proven Success: The Case of Ascential's Workforce

While the theory of benefits from mentoring programs sound great, real-world examples offer evidence of their benefits to talent within an organisation.

Take, for instance, the case of Ascential's workforce. Utilising PLD Mentoring's platform, Ascential enabled over 450 mentees and mentors to register their specific diversity and inclusion 'Employee Networks'. The program has been instrumental in breaking down organisational

How the mentoring program helps with Talent Attraction

  1. Diversity & Inclusion: In today's competitive job market, diversity and inclusion are more than just buzzwords; they are essential criteria for many job seekers. Ascential's focus on these aspects through their mentoring program serves as a beacon for talent who prioritise a diverse and inclusive work environment.

  2. Career Development: The Ascential case study is a testament to the program's effectiveness in building leadership careers. For potential employees, this is a clear indicator of an organisation that not only hires talent but nurtures it.

  3. Employee Engagement: The program's success in breaking down silos speaks volumes about the collaborative culture within the organisation. A cohesive work environment is often a key deciding factor for talent choosing between job offers.

Make your own mentoring program part of your Talent Attraction Strategy

  • Marketing Material: Consider incorporating highlights from case studies from your own mentoring program into your job postings and career pages, where new talent will see this. These serve as proof of your organisation's commitment to employee development and diversity.

  • Social Proof: During recruitment drives or job fairs, use testimonials from employees who have benefited from the mentoring program. These real-world endorsements add a layer of credibility and can be a strong pull for potential employees when you need them.

  • Interview Process: Make a point of discussing the mentoring program during interviews. It provides candidates with concrete examples of the developmental and career opportunities that await them within your company.

  • Follow-Up Communications: After interviews or upon extending job offers, consider sending out a detailed guide or video about your mentoring program. It keeps the dialogue going and provides another compelling reason for talent to choose your organisation.

Through the clever use of your own case studies, you can make your mentoring program a cornerstone of your talent attraction strategy.

Moving your company forwards with mentoring for talent attraction

Employers have the responsibility to nurture their millennial talent or face the risk of losing them to competitors. The most successful employers will not only retain their younger employees but also aid in their advancement and rely on them to guide their organisations as the company develops over time.

If you would like to find out whether a talent mentoring program is right for your company or organisation get in touch, or simply take our quick 3 minute quiz. You'll find out if a mentoring program is right for your organisation, and to help you attract and retain talent.

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