Mentorship to Replace Favoritism Favors All

Lindsey Novak on

Employees dislike favoritism, especially when they are not the ones receiving favor. It means they are not being given chances to develop their abilities and talents, not being given the help needed to learn at breakneck speeds, not being offered the opportunities to advance to realize their potential.

For employees receiving favor, it's an optimal environment. They are assigned challenging projects and given the help and guidance to do well on each one. They learn more quickly with help, as if they had a private tutor; they reach their goals; and along the learning path, they receive the emotional support to boost their confidence. The employee wins, and the organization wins. This is what can happen when mentorship replaces favoritism. With a mentorship program in place, employees can receive the answers they need as each week unfolds, the guidance they need to produce a better work product -- and all as it is needed. Employees would then have the opportunity to rise to a potential they may never have reached before.

Mentorship is a no-brainer win-win situation. Overall, it makes one's job easier and can open doors to exciting positions employees may never have considered. Mentoring creates a workplace where all are favored, where all receive the guidance and help they need to gain knowledge and skillsets that advance the company, as well as the employees. Mentorship is favoritism equally distributed. It allows the best in each person to rise from obscurity and results in employee success.

It also helps the mentor, who gets to show leadership qualities and become the teacher and producer who offers help to an employee who needs it. The mentor shares in the successes of each mentee, knowing he or she was instrumental in creating the near-perfect work environment.

The mentees are now on the fast-track to learning the job, improving at warp speed, and advancing in his or her career beyond what might have been possible. An example of successful mentoring is when Dan (not his real name), a residential real estate appraiser, was told to clear his schedule the next week to make way for a job change. His nine years of dedication to his position gave him the confidence to do well and the security he liked, so he refused the new job and asked, "Why me?" His boss answered, "God gave you more, so I expect more." Where would he be working that next week? Dan knew he had no choice, so he cleared his schedule to start the new position in commercial appraisals, but he was nervous. He had seen the commercial appraisal reports of 100-200 pages and didn't know how he would do it.

The next week, a senior-level executive approached Dan. "Don't be frightened: I'll help you." With his mentor's help, it took Dan half the time to learn the field. Today, he admits he never could have learned the new position as quickly and as easily without that mentor, even though the word "mentor" was never formally used.


According to a June 2018 study on mentorship conducted by Olivet Nazarene University, many successful people attribute part of their professional success to having a mentor. The study surveyed 3,000 full-time American employees ranging from 21 to 68 years old, spanning 50 states and 21 industries. It discovered mentoring is not just for new employees: 57% of junior-level employees were mentored, followed by 35% of mid-level and 8% of senior-level employees. Of those 3,000 employees, 37% currently have mentors, while 9% said "maybe," because they had help but were unclear about the relationship. Eighty-two percent said they were "sure their mentor would formally identify as their 'mentor;'" 25% said their mentor offered to take on the mentorship role; 14% of employees requested their mentors; and 61% of mentoring relationships developed naturally.

The average mentorship lasted 3.3 years; the average time spent talking came to a total of 4 hours per month; and the in-person meeting frequency totaled less than once per month (except where they normally interacted with each daily at work). Of the mentees, 29% said mentoring was "very important" to them; 47% said it was "important;" 18% were "neutral;" and 6% said it was "not very important." These responses could be due to the individuals involved in the relationships, as 15% said it was "very difficult" getting time with their mentor; 26% found it "fairly difficult;" 40% found it "fairly easy;" and 19% found it "very easy." What is no surprise is that most employees had same-sex mentors (69% of women and 82% of men).

Based on the study's findings, employees with mentors "are slightly happier at their current jobs than those without." Clearly, implementing mentorship programs within companies and their various departments would not only increase employee job satisfaction, it could improve the speed and accuracy of employee performance. The best side effect is that it could decrease the existence of favoritism.


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