Mentoring programs are increasingly prevalent in corporate America. Research has shown that 70% of Fortune 500 companies have some form of mentoring program. While mentoring programs can have a variety of objectives – such as promoting and improving diversity, helping new hires adjust to new roles, or developing high potential employees – it is not always clear that mentoring programs achieve their objectives, particularly those related to promotion and retention. In reviewing relevant research and company initiatives, we can see that mentorship programs – when properly implemented – do offer benefits for diverse populations.
Key success factors for diversity-focused mentoring programs include (1) the seniority of the mentor, (2) whether the mentor and protégé match in certain key personality attributes and (3) whether a mentee’s direct supervisor is involved in the program.