Mentoring is a tool used by small and big companies alike in order to take advantage of the many benefits this approach to leadership provides. Mentoring eases challenges companies must face in areas like improving the productivity of their workforce, increasing the company’s retention rate and innovating processes to make them better everyday.
Investing in mentoring programs for their employees is one of the things that truly successful companies have in common. It is important to show personnel, especial at the junior level, that the company cares about their future within the organization and uses resources to ensure they will be part of it for many years to come.
Here we have some top companies that implement mentoring programs within their structure.
General Electric launched in 2010 their Leader in Residence program in Crotonville, NY. The initiative seeks to gather leaders and GE employees from all over the world to produce a learning environment that educates and enriches. In environments like such, learning comes from discovery, conversation, reflecting upon experiences and application of new strategies. Leaders have the opportunity to listen and evaluate situations and understand global contests of the company while at the same time absorb this knowledge, elaborate upon concepts and share with other employees they can mentor.
The possibility to connect at a more human level makes this type of leadership program a quite valuable opportunity that would not be possible at a classroom or in an everyday work environment. Senior leaders working alongside with junior employees in an environment that facilitates honest feedback and analysis is something that more companies should consider and make it a staple of their leadership development programs. By giving leaders access to deeper levels across the organization, and, in turn, providing participants access to senior leadership, GE has created greater cohesiveness throughout the company.
General Electric offers leadership development opportunities on-site in 198 locations throughout 50 countries, including their New York campus, their global learning centers in Munich, Shanghai, Bengaluru, Abu Dhabi, and Rio de Janeiro; and many GE sites around in the world.
“GE has been a driving force in global leadership development for more than a century. This is where history is made. This is where leaders are made.”
– Raghu Krishnamoorthy, Vice President, Executive Development and Chief Learning Officer
Intel is one of the world’s largest semiconductor chipmakers based on revenue. It is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers. Intel supplies processors for computer system manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, HP and Dell, which makes it a company with a quite ubiquitous product. Intel has changed the process of matching up mentors and mentees in a very interesting way. The do not place new hires or junior employees automatically with leaders based on their longevity in the company, but instead; they search thoroughly for matches based on the skills and knowledge that is needed at the time. It is no surprise that mentors could be passing down some serious knowledge to other members of the company that actually outrank them.
The Intel way of mentoring has very little to do with the traditional approach other companies use and most people are used to, not only that, but it also has almost nothing to do with individual career advancement but instead it tries to focus on overall company growth. The program is mostly ran through intranet and email, thus allowing mentorship pairs to be located away from each other in different cities.
Something else that is interesting about this program is the fact that partners and not mentors control the frequency and duration of the meetings and together they decide the aspects they want to focus on in their training.
The fact that Google is one of the world’s top leading technology companies, means they attract plenty of young talent each year to form part of the ranks and aid the company’s growth. Google hosts every year an event called Summer of Code, in which students participate writing code for several open-source software applications aided by mentors. Every summer, participants are paired with mentors who previously applied to projects they are interested on and during the program, help the participants gain invaluable experience while writing code in a real-world case scenario. Not just that, but participants also have a great chance to prove themselves in order to gain further employment within the company or with the representatives companies they have been mentored by. This mentoring program is one of the most innovative and widely known around the world. It has been in place since 2005 with thousands of participants and mentors taking advantage of its great opportunities of growth.