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Which is the best path to take – a mentor program or a mentor culture? I get asked that question periodically but the one that seems to be the most asked lately is tell me why my organization would want to implement mentoring. It sounds like it would be far too much work and we don’t have the time to do this.

I have provided some links for you below that can provide you some insight into why you would want to take this journey. Some of the key ones that I see are; encouraging retention, reducing turnover and turnover costs, increased productivity, increased communication between teams and within the teams, knowledge transfer and the creation of a learning and development environment. Now we need to understand that most of these benefits can be realized whether we decide to implement a mentor program or a mentor culture. I have recommended in the past that we start with a mentor program and then it can evolve to a mentoring culture. For me with a mentor culture it draws on a combination of formal and informal mentoring. That would be the desired state.

I have mentioned the creation of a learning and development environment and I want to touch on that aspect briefly. During times of tight fiscal restraints in your organization one of the first things to disappear is your training budget. Trying to get creative in showing your employees that they do matter becomes an overwhelming challenge for some organizations. The creation of a mentoring culture can help alleviate that as it becomes a way of life in the organization. I know that when I get up in the morning and go to work I am going to learn something. It may be on a personal level or a professional level but I will learn something. I am working with a young person that is in the customer service industry and there have been some customer service challenges. In a very short period of time we have made some significant growth in changing the behavior to one that is more positive and have also discovered some things about them self. In a mentoring culture there would be the trust and the relationship with co-workers that this may be able to be addressed internally. In this situation the organization brought in a professional mentor from outside the organization. Each organization will deal with situations like this in a manner that works the best for them.

If I want to implement a mentor culture what do I need to do? The very first thing is to identify the business problem that you are trying to solve with mentoring. Without this step it is hard for us to validate the success of the journey. An example of a business problem could be to lower the turnover rate or to lower the disengagement level in the organization. Once you have that then you need to make sure that you have corporate support. From there we can roll up our sleeves and get to work. We would want a communication strategy, identify some champions for the journey, provide training, and determine if we want to add a mentor program to the mix or just go with the mentor culture initiative. There are a couple of other things that you would want to consider but this gives you a sense of the journey that lies ahead.

At the end of the day implementing a mentoring culture will most definitely move your organization forward and provide your employees with the tools they need to continue to be successful on a personal and professional basis. Your organization will be seen as one that cares about its employees and that it has a continuous learning and development environment. Employees will want to get up in the morning and come to work. All of this is possible with the “gift of mentoring”. “Can your organization afford not to?”



  1. http://www.management-mentors.com/about/corporate-mentoring-matters-blog/bid/92868/How-can-your-organization-benefit-from-a-mentoring-program
  2. https://www.wict.org/mcs/chapters/chicago/Documents/Mentoring_Culture.pdf
  3. http://irc.queensu.ca/sites/default/files/articles/creating-a-mentoring-culture-for-organizational-success-a-guideline-for-successful-mentoring-programs.pdf