Mentoring Ideas | Tips for Mentors | Tips for Mentees
Why Mentoring in this Economy?
by Dr. Linda Phillips-Jones

dollar signsWe’re living in perplexing economic times. When will the economy recover? Will it soar again? What should we in the people-development business do in the meantime?

It may be tempting to delay plans for improving the mentoring in your organization in favor of other priorities. You may be relegating mentoring to the list of nice-to-haves once times are good again.

We believe mentoring can actually help save and make money for your organization. As you contemplate what to do in the coming weeks and months of this new year, consider these facts.

1. You and your organization need ways to prevent your competent, motivated people from leaving.

Whether paid employees or volunteers, it’s expensive to lose good people. High performers who are partnered with strong mentors or mentees report feeling valued, satisfied with, and loyal to their organizations. They tend to stay.

How valued do your employees feel?

2. You want to attract the best.

Even if you’re only hiring a few high-potential people, these individuals want to know they’ll be enthusiastically welcomed and developed if they join your organization. Along with competitive salaries and meaningful work, you can offer the perk of formal and enhanced informal mentoring opportunities. College recruiters tell us that given two strong choices (an organization with planned mentoring vs. one without), top candidates tend to select the mentoring organization.

What do you have to offer the talent you’re working so hard to attract?

3. You want to hold onto your collective wisdom.

Even if few new people are coming, your senior people will continue to retire and leave. With them goes decades of experiences, insights, stories, traditions, wisdom, and best practices. Including them as mentors (even after they leave) can help your organization pass on these gems to the individuals who remain.

What are you doing to capture the experience and other contributions of those who are leaving?

4. You can shorten mentees’ learning curves.

Mentees become more productive sooner because they gain knowledge, skills, and attitudes more quickly from mentor-guided experiences than from longer term, traditional (or hit and miss) development methods.

How are you jump-starting your new hires and accelerating the development of people learning new roles?

5. Formal mentoring is relatively inexpensive.

Formal mentoring initiatives cost relatively little to plan, implement, and maintain compared to many other developmental strategies. Your experienced in-house trainers/facilitators can help you design your program and training. As you’ve already discovered, this website ( offers three free articles every month for planners, mentors, and mentees. Feel free to link your mentoring website to this one. You can also quote sections or print out the articles for your participants as long as you give credit to The Mentoring Group.

You can buy inexpensive learning materials for mentors, mentees, and team members. For example, if your budget is limited, you can get your initiative rolling with three booklets from The Mentoring Group: our Planning, Implementing, & Evaluating a Successful Mentoring Initiative: A Checklist of Critical Tasks (for you and your team) plus Skills for Successful Mentoring: Core Competencies for Outstanding Mentors and Mentees (for mentors and mentees) and either 75 Things to Do with Your Mentees: Practical and Effective Development Activities You can Try (for mentors) or Strategies for Getting the Mentoring You Need: A Look at Best Practices of Successful Mentees (for mentees). (Check Products for current prices and quantity discount information.) If you have a little more to spend, consider our very comprehensive 177-page The Mentoring Coordinator's Guide and perhaps The Mentoring Videos Package for mentors and mentees (check Products).

You don’t need expensive awards or events to celebrate your successes. Sincere, frequent oral praise to all involved, commendation letters or e-mails to mentors and their bosses, and a get-together with pizza, sodas, and certificates also says, "Congratulations, we’re very proud of you."

What new cost-conscious efforts could you implement?

Mentoring, when done correctly, is the most powerful and cost-effective human development tool yet invented. It’s worth our energy to see it prosper and improve…even in these unusual economic times. For more ideas on planned mentoring, see our Archive and Products.

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