It has been said that there is no such thing as bad publicity. This may be true but lately, mentoring has received a bit of an unfairly negative rap. First there was Sheryl Sandberg’s bestselling book Lean In advising women to never ask anyone to be your mentor, then came the book by economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett proclaiming we should forget mentors and find sponsors instead.
While it may not sell as many books, mentoring has been an overwhelming success story for corporate hirers. At least 70% of Fortune 500 companies have adopted formal mentoring programs and, according to one survey by Robert Half International, 94% of U.S. executives say that having a mentor is important for professionals starting out. Companies large and small understand that mentoring is a powerful tool for encouraging diversity and inclusion, and making people feel more successful and gratified in their jobs. If your startup is considering a mentoring program, ignore the hype and focus on the benefits of mentoring.