You can read everywhere about the importance of Diversity in organizations of all sizes. And when companies invest in Diversity & Inclusion to drive talent retention as much as to drive business outcomes, they are likely to be better performing, to be more agile and to be more successful.
It is difficult however to link Diversity & Inclusion initiatives to business outcomes and to measure their impact on revenues and profits. Though when employees believe in the commitment of their employer to diversity and feel included, according to Deloitte Research report (*), innovation increases significantly.
So, how does Mentoring programs or Mentorship play and contribute to the Diversity & Inclusion initiatives and to the success of an organization?
- Mentorship does foster a sense of belonging hence of inclusion: you are part of a broader program or initiative and you have a more neutral ally to help you move in the organization or develop your strengths.
- Mentorship does help to expand one’s network: you reach out to new business areas, new department, you benefit from a more senior mentor who can help you get connections you might not find easy to make.
- Mentorship does help to get the reassurance and the confidence that female workers more often seek: again here, you are not alone facing your questions or business problems to solve and you can discuss in a neutral and safe way.
In the past years, I have seen how important and essential a Diversity initiated Mentorship program was perceived and received, equally by our HR teams and by our employees. Not that business-driven Mentorship program would be less important, but clearly we realized that our open mentoring program cross business and geographies created for women with any type of experience and of all ages and regions did help them break the barriers of (1) networking, (2) career evolution and (3) reaching out of their comfort zone in a safe way and solving problems by providing informal relationships with a structured framework.
So, my recommendation is clearly to go for it, always and whenever you have a chance to join such a program! And never forget that you can always be a mentee and/or a mentor in a mentorship program. There is so much to learn from being either or!
Author: Marie-Amelie Masnou
Marie-Amelie has been leading the EMEA Women Impact Network (WIN) as well as the Germany WIN for many years while at HP. A flagship initiative of the Women Network supported by HP Global Diversity & Inclusion has been its Open Mentoring Program reaching out to hundreds of participants across businesses and spanning across many countries in EMEA for many years in a row.