The true value of mentoring on International Mentoring Day
Every year, 17 January is marked around the world as International Mentoring Day. Celebrated on the birthday of boxing legend and global humanitarian Muhammed Ali, the day aims to foster understanding and support the mentoring movement worldwide. In the words of his widow, Lonnie Ali: “Mentors are special gifts to the world. They encourage, motivate, reinforce, and guide others to reach their own individual greatness. After all, mentors have the power to transform lives.”
Mentoring enables workplace environments to flourish, and is something Mobica is passionately committed to. As Julian Grajkowski, now one of our expert software engineers, highlights: “Mentoring helped me gain a lot of self confidence, so I believed I could be successful as a software engineer.”
Here, we discuss the value and importance of mentoring programmes, the approach we adopt in our own mentoring schemes to ensure these are a success, and the benefits it delivers, to both mentors and mentees.
Mentoring has a far-ranging and far-reaching impact. From improving the transfer of knowledge between employees, to increased job satisfaction and staff retention, there are many reasons for organisations to implement a mentoring scheme. In fact, employees involved in mentoring programmes have a 50% higher retention rate than those who are not, with 93% of mentees agreeing their mentorship was useful1. For both employers and employees, it’s a win-win situation.
What are the benefits to mentoring?
Enhanced job satisfaction
Greater staff retention
Smart succession planning
Share valuable knowledge
Develop leadership skills
Build stronger teams
Help achieve business objectives and personal goals
Create a happier, more engaged workforce
Developing diversity, improving inclusion
One key area that mentoring helps promote is equality, diversity and inclusion. A more equal, diverse and inclusive workforce leads to greater knowledge, experience, talent and creativity. Unfortunately, there are still many underrepresented minorities in tech, including Black, Latino, Hispanic, Native American and female employees. For instance, one recent study revealed that among junior to mid-level employees, 63% of female respondents believed their gender impacted how they were professionally perceived, compared to just 27% of men2.
Developing diversity and improving inclusion has an important role to play in any business. For example, a study from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labour Relations discovered mentoring programmes increased minority representation at the management level by 9% to 24%. The same study also found that mentoring schemes significantly improved promotion and retention rates for minorities and women.
Not only is it important to champion and celebrate diversity and inclusion because it’s the right thing to do, but companies that place this approach at the heart of their operations tend to run more successful businesses as well. Indeed, one report by McKinsey & Company found that corporations identified as more diverse and inclusive are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors.
Be yourself. Here, everyone belongs
2 out of 3 job candidates
seek companies that have diverse workforces.
Making more of mentoring at Mobica
How, then, is mentoring structured at Mobica? Sebastian Kniaź, our Head of Learning & Development, explains: “Mobica’s mentoring programme is structured around our ‘learning journey’ philosophy; individual goals are aligned with the strategic priorities of our Competency Centres, or specific projects. This approach enables us to plan mentoring activities as part of a timeline, at the same time as accommodating the day-to-day undertakings that need to be completed. Mentors are offered a programme of training, to ensure they’re equipped with the right skills to provide invaluable support to mentees.
“We measure success by how quickly skills and knowledge are adopted, ensuring mentees are given additional support and opportunities where required. And then our main success factor is based on when an employee joins a project and puts into practice the competencies they have learned, and the benefits this delivers on both a personal level and from a business perspective.”
Julian Grajkowski first joined Mobica nearly ten years ago, and has experienced both sides of the coin, as both a mentor and mentee. He explains: “On my first day at Mobica, I was stressed and full of doubt - but all of those feelings went away once I met my mentor. He was friendly and the meeting was very informal, but at the same time he told me everything I needed to know on my first day. Because of his open and honest approach, I felt I could speak honestly with him, sharing the concerns I had. He reassured me, answered the questions I had, and made it clear that Mobica nurtures a welcoming and supportive environment. People are more than happy to work together as a team. Thanks to this, when I left work that day, I was already looking forward to my second day at Mobica.
“There’s no better way to quickly adapt to a new working environment, get to know people, and gain valuable insights that cannot be found elsewhere, than through mentoring.”
Now, as one of our expert software engineers, Julian helps pay all the lessons he learned forward by mentoring other employees. “It is a great feeling,” he says, “seeing people coming into their own and spreading their wings. It’s so rewarding to see how much progress people make.
“I treasure the memory of how I was mentored during my time at Mobica, and wanted to pay this back. For those considering being a mentor to others in the near future, I would encourage them to answer the following question: ask yourself how you would want to be mentored, and you can’t go too far wrong.”
This is a view Arkadiusz Tułodziecki, our Head of DevOps/Cloud Centre of Excellence and Chief Engineer, adamantly agrees with. “At one point in time, that mentor was a junior employee, and so should understand the kind of issues and challenges a mentee might face.”
With a responsibility of supporting a wide range of our team members as a mentor, he continues: “In my opinion, mentoring is the fastest means of sharing best practice and helping those eager to learn to advance in their careers. At Mobica, once an employee has identified the area they want to specialise in, we plot and plan a learning path for this individual. Every mentor at Mobica possesses a wealth of knowledge and expertise in a specific technical field, and mentees must want to learn. This helps with communication between mentors and mentees,
“In my experience, the rewards from this working relationship can be completely transformative. It can be a hard, uphill struggle trying to learn and do everything yourself; a successful mentoring partnership can ease this burden, and help enthusiastic and determined professionals unlock their true potential.”
The benefits to mentoring are clear to see - let’s help champion and celebrate them this International Mentoring Day!1 MentorcliQ, ‘MentorcliQ mentoring ROI’, https://www.mentorcliq.com/blog/mentorcliq-roi
2 EY, ‘Positive signs of progress for women in FinTech but fundamental barriers still exist’, https://www.ey.com/en_uk/news/2022/06/positive-signs-of-progress-for-women-in-fintech-but-fundamental-barriers-still-exist