Should Mentoring be Mandatory?

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Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

Should Mentoring be Mandatory?

🔥NEW I have no doubt that mentoring - formal or informal - has great personal and professional benefits for both individuals involved and the company they work for.
If there is one management tip I would like to give to young people, it would be: "Get a mentor/coach". I often tell them, "Well, it's up to you: find out for yourself the things that really matter over the next 30-40 years, or follow this advice". Full disclosure: 12manage Premium is essentially also a form of mentoring [?] as it provides professional guidance from experienced people.

On the other hand, I also know from experience that for various reasons many people end up NOT taking a mentor, a coach, or even Premium. It requires a conscious investment, focus and discipline - difficult things in today's turbulent times and attention-grabbing social media.
Perhaps that is why Professor Stanton recommends making participation in the mentoring program of a company MANDATORY, at least for newly hired people.
Quantitative research he conducted among a large group of sales reps shows that such obligation indeed led to both a 19% increase in revenue generated and a 14% decrease in employee turnover.

These initial results are strong and the Professor is probably right to argue that: "when given a choice, the employees who most need help are likely to opt out". But not all managers are good mentors or coaches and I'm inclined to somewhat disagree with him about making mentoring mandatory as I believe that employees should find a mentor of their choice at the moment they need one. It should be an active, voluntary choice. Encouraging employees is fine and even recommended, however I don't think the employer should force it on them.

⇨ But I'm curious about your expert opinion: Should mentoring be mandatory?

Source: Sandvik J., Saouma R., and Stanton C.T., "Treatment and Selection Effects of Formal Mentorship Programs", NBER working paper 16-9-2022

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