3 Important Tips on Inclusive Mentoring

Did you miss the brilliant DiversityQ Rethinking Inclusive Mentorship conference? No fear. Dan Hawes was invited to appear on a panel, representing Graduate Mentor, to an audience of over 150 HR leaders. Here are three quick takeaways to get you thinking about mentoring in your organisation.

With a thirst for knowledge at an all-time high and uptake relatively low with only 22% of the audience running a mentoring scheme, the three-person expert panel set out to share best practices and practical advice. Here are my three top tips;

  • Identify what ”good” looks like – Any new initiative needs to have a solid business case and mentoring is no exception. Set out clearly your metrics and convince the board that mentoring has so many advantages to the bottom line (with improved retention top of the list.).
    •  How? Research other companies (if you are lucky maybe your competitors) who have successfully demonstrated ROI on mentoring programmes.
  • Get buy-in from the top – Getting the backing of the C-Suite is imperative for a mentoring programme. Convince the CEO and watch the trickle-down effect get your mentoring programme off the ground.
    • How? Share examples of what other business leaders and CEO’s have achieved and make them realise what they are missing out on. Mentoring programmes can give a serious strategic advantage, especially with regard to DEI.
  • Match your mentees with mentors with care – This is absolutely critical to get off to the best start. It’s a two-way relationship and each side needs to feel they are well suited to reach each other’s objectives.
    • How? Treat the matching process like an interview where you carefully assess each side’s needs and requirements. Offer support throughout and create “safe spaces” for the sessions.

Conference organiser, Jenna Kelly, adds “Diversity has been the buzzword on everyone’s lips for a while now, but in this past year or so, we’ve seen an increase in businesses being held accountable, not only for their diversity work, but for the motives behind that work, the impact the initiatives are having, and further – how they are fostering an inclusive and equitable workplace. To add to this, the recent 12 months have seen a global pandemic which has had disastrous effects on years of diversity, equity & inclusion efforts.

Research shows that mentorship is one of the most effective diversity initiatives that a company can establish. It also goes beyond diversity by fostering inclusion, sponsoring underrepresented voices, and solving issues of isolation. It was great to get Dan’s perspective on the matter, sharing true nuggets of wisdom particularly when it comes to organisations attracting and supporting young people from diverse institutions, and expertly framing the topic from the angle of our incoming talent and future leaders. While mentorship shouldn’t be seen as a ‘fix-all’ solution, I hope that DiversityQ’s Rethinking Inclusive Mentorship event gave some tangible insight into how more organisations can implement mentorship schemes with true inclusion at the core, and rethink who their development initiatives are really there to serve.”

To find out more about the conference click here and if it’s mentoring you’re interested in then contact the team at Graduate Mentor – a new platform designed to help University students and graduates from diverse, underrepresented and disadvantaged groups build their network and launch their career!