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HR DEPT.: Mentoring Provides Big ROI

from Wharton/University of Pennsylvania

Numerous geoprofessional firms have started mentoring programs and unfortunately many of them did not stick. Why? Many reasons apply, but lack of time seems to be the most cited, possibly as an excuse for what may really be a lack of personal commitment. Different outcomes may have been realized had the people involved — both mentors and protégées — been aware of some important data, such as that derived from a study of Sun Microsystems' mentoring program. Researchers examined data from more than 1,000 Sun employees over a five-year period. Findings indicated that 25% of protégées and 28% of mentors received a salary-grade change, compared with 5% of nonparticipating employees. Likewise, protégées were promoted five times more often and mentors were promoted six times more often than nonparticipants. In addition, protégée- and mentor-retention rates were much higher than nonparticipants'. Researchers also learned that Sun's mentoring program was least effective for the highest performers, a startling finding given that most mentoring programs focus on developing high performers with high potential. more


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