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Mentoring can enable access to opportunities; knowledge transfer; build confidence; provide increased networking and visibility; build cultural understanding; help to break stereotypes and bias and develop leaders who are committed to D&I.

Employer recommendations

Ensure equitable access to mentoring opportunities
Historically underrepresented groups might not have as large of an internal network as someone from the majority group and therefore value formal mentor programmes more. BITC research reveals that Black, Asian and ethnic minority people value mentors more than other ethnic groups (Business in the Community (2018) Race at Work 2018: The Scorecard Report). Use data insights to identify groups of employees that may not organically or informally be getting exposure to the right opportunities and create a formal program to address any gaps.

➖Implement mentorship programs that have clear goals.

➖Provide mentor training on DEI topics.

Conduct continuous evaluation and track the return on investment (ROI).
The ROI of your mentoring program can be measured through salary changes (increases, promotions), productivity increases (in monetary value), hitting company KPIs, retention rates (i.e., employees staying with the organisation longer). Take into account the cost of your mentoring program and the measurable productivity change of participants.

Encourage mentoring at all levels.
10 recommendations for a successful mentoring programme can be found in the Deloitte and Women Ahead publication below.

➖Make mentors relatable.
Encourage mentors to be genuine, authentic and vulnerable when sharing.  When launching a mentoring programme, be clear about the challenge the organisation aims to address and what success will look like. 

🔦In this article, Beth Kinerk, senior vice president of sales at Avis Budget Group, says she found the one-to-one mentoring program the company set up wasn’t the best approach, as mentorship meetings often got sidelined by other work objectives. Instead, Avis has implemented mentoring sessions on a specific topic, such as how to negotiate for yourself and career advancement, once a quarter, which allows participants to sign up for what interests them.

➖ Be mindful of launching mentoring/sponsorship/development programmes only open to certain groups. Other groups who are not part of the programme can feel like they are missing out on something or are not gaining something because of these programmes (and potentially have the challenge of finding advocates to help promote programmes like these). Make clear why the organisation is running the programme, what it is and what the organisation wants to achieve, not only to the individuals on the programmes but the wider workforce to ensure everyone understands the programme's purpose. Showcase how it sits next to broader programmes so others can see that, although they are not on these programmes, they have other open to them. Read more in Why I don't believe in the Robin Hood style of Diversity!.

➖Participate in cross-organisational mentoring programmes such as The 30% Club Cross Company Mentoring Programme or Race at Work Cross-Organisational Mentoring Circles.

Reverse Mentoring

➖Reverse mentoring is the process of senior leaders (the mentee) engaging with individuals at different levels within the company/industry, at a more junior level (the mentor). The goal is usually to enable exchanging of experience, knowledge, perspectives, and skills. It encourages professional interactions that break through communication barriers that form with rank, seniority, and generational differences. Unlike normal mentoring, in these interactions it is the junior participant that takes the lead and mentors the more senior person.

➖Mentors and mentees must agree on an actionable outcome of the process. Other tips for a running successful reverse mentoring programmes are in this article from Inclusive Employers

Further information