The Benefits of Establishing a Mentorship Program in a Diverse Workplace
Today’s workplaces are becoming increasingly diverse, with people from different generations, cultures and ethnicities working side-by-side. This is a positive development, since diversity can make teams more innovative, agile and productive.
Of course, the success of your diverse team hinges in large part on you, the manager – it’s your responsibility to ensure all your team members are recognized equally and feel their skills are being put to good use. This is where mentoring can be a very useful tool.
Benefits of mentorship programs
According to Monica Thakrar in her Forbes article “How to Lead the Push for Diversity in the Workplace,” voluntary workplace mentorship programs can stimulate interactions between team members who wouldn’t normally communicate. This opens up dialogues and helps people find common ground so they can work together in a more effective manner. As a result, the team becomes stronger, more productive, and better equipped to find creative solutions, which ultimately has a positive impact on the entire company.
Types of mentorship programs
There are several types of mentorship programs. Conventional mentorships pair a more experienced and senior employee with a new recruit or trainee. This type of mentorship relationship can be helpful in transferring occupation- or company-specific knowledge.
In addition, over the past decade, reverse mentorships that involve Millennials mentoring Baby Boomers have become more popular, especially when it comes to ensuring older employees acquire or maintain the technical skills needed to function in today’s workplace.
One of the most useful types of mentorship in a diverse workplace, however, is a peer-to-peer mentorship, where different team members pair up and share their knowledge without either one being more senior than the other. This allows them to communicate on an equal footing and facilitates the exchange of information and ideas.
Just imagine what people from different generations, countries, and cultures can learn from each other, or even what civilians can learn from veterans and vice versa!
Establishing a mentorship program in your diverse workplace can promote communication and collaboration and result in a stronger, more innovative team. Though it might take some time and effort to get a mentorship program off the ground, the results can leave you and your team not just more connected, but also more grateful for what each member brings to the table.