By Jennifer McKenzie, Guest Blogger

On the internet, there is a famous adage that keep making rounds every now and then — it reads: people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers.

The popularity of the statement is indicative of how employees feel about their workplaces. According to data curated by Business Insider, most workers expect their managers to help develop their careers. If their bosses don’t step up to the tasks, they quit. Forbes echoed the same sentiment, saying that aside from disengagement, lack of appreciation, unfair compensation, and a toxic work environment, one of the main reasons why workers leave their jobs is because they aren’t given developmental opportunities. As much as they want to stay, their employers don’t provide them with a chance to expand their skillsets that may translate into new opportunities. They don’t receive developmental opportunities that show that their employers are invested in their future, like shadowing someone in a senior role, taking courses to pick up a new skill, or pairing them up with a mentor.

In recent years, the HR sector has been placing more focus on work-life balance and employee wellness. Pain Free Working explains that efforts by the members of the Young Entrepreneurs Council to improve employe wellness have included introducing flexible working hours, daily team lunches, meditation programs and company retreats — however, even the most balanced working environment can continue to lose the best people if they fail to provide good guidance to their employees.

A lack of guidance and feeling as though the job is dead-end is also a significant factor for employees leaving good jobs; there’s either no growth, or no direction as to how to get to where they want to. This is why mentoring is all the more important, because it can help workers build a clear career path, as well as set achievable goals that give them a sense of purpose.

A report by the Association for Talent Development posited that having formal mentoring programs at work not only improves employees’ professional development, but it also contributes to the company’s bottom line. Organizations with established mentoring programs resulted in higher employee engagement and retention, growth support for high-potential employees, and the creation of intra-organizational relationships. In the report, it’s recommended that to kickstart a mentoring platform, employers can first experiment with a pilot program and pair new hires with mentors and evaluate their performance before and after the program to measure its effectiveness.

Mentorship is even more vital to women who work in male-dominated fields. As highlighted by Jodi Detjen in a previous post, women are often at a disadvantage in a male-dominated workplace because social capital is one of the main drivers to career success. But when these women receive mentorship, they can be more transparent with their experiences and have a chance to acquire tools that can help them seek success. A study published in the Palgrave Communications journal supported these findings. The researchers found out that the lack of mentoring for women in the workplace may impact their intellectual function and self-efficacy, which in turn adversely affects their capacity to reduce gender stereotypes at work. Exposure to successful women can be a solution — it can help them overcome deep-rooted stereotypes and realize and achieve their potential.

Mentorship is critical to career success. Employees want to learn and be guided and mentored. If a company makes a effort to invest in their employees, they can see improvements in employee development, engagement, and retention, and even achieve their business goals faster.

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