Regardless of size or scope, the most forward-looking companies use mentoring to address common workforce challenges such as inspiring employee learning and development, increasing employee retention and improving workforce productivity. Corporate mentoring is gaining in popularity and in fact, 71 percent of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs to their employees.
For over a decade, Sodexo’s Spirt of Mentoring initiative has been engaging and developing its workforce through a comprehensive mentoring strategy that ensures women, people of color and other historically marginalized populations receive the support and guidance to realize their full potential. In many instances this includes introducing them to new and emerging career tracks with in Sodexo such as those related to science, technology and engineering.
Sodexo’s mentoring strategy has evolved with the needs and priorities of the workplace and the marketplace. By promoting dialogue and skill-building across gender, functions and client segments mentoring is helping individuals gain exposure, build confidence, feel empowered and make positive contributions to the future of the organization.
To date, several hundred successful mentoring partnerships have been established. Leah Teague, General Manager in Sodexo’s Health Care Division, notes that as a result of her mentee experience, “I was able to learn things much faster than I ever would have on my own through trial and error. The mentoring program quickly boosted my knowledge and confidence in ways that otherwise would have taken many months.”
The objectives for Spirit of Mentoring are to:
- Cultivate talent pipeline, inclusive of women and minorities
- Accelerate development
- Focus on leadership competencies
- Leverage a diversity of experience & perspectives
- Cross-divisional / cross-functional sharing
- Engage/retain top talent
- Support Sodexo’s business strategy
- Create sense of community in decentralized organization
In the U.S. and Canada, Sodexo’s Spirit of Mentoring initiative offers four options:
- Impact – formal year-long structured mentoring program,
- Peer2Peer – informal program offered by Employee Business Resource Groups.
- Expertise in Action – virtual collaborative mentoring circles
- LIFT – program specifically designed for frontline employees
IMPACT, a formal cross-divisional and cross-functional mentoring initiative consists of 75% of partnerships which are cross-gender and/or cross-race and 90% from different business lines. IMPACT encourages a reciprocal learning process.
Peer2Peer Mentoring is available through the Employee Business Resource Groups and customized to meet constituents’ needs. It is designed to offer personal and professional development, exposure to new career opportunities and a sense of connection.
EXPERTISE IN ACTION
Expertise in Action consists of virtual open, collaborative groups that expand learning and networking options beyond the normal constraints of time and place.
LIFT – FRONT LINE MENTORING PROGRAM
The LIFT Mentoring process pairs frontline employees with a management-level mentor for a six-month mentoring engagement.
In today’s highly competitive and unpredictable global business environment, it is essential for organizations to identify, engage and develop their best talent, particularly those in highly desirable career paths. By improving employee engagement, visibility and retention along with other company initiatives, mentoring has a bottom line impact while also ensuring that employees feel committed to advancing the vision of the organization. Mentoring really is something that can benefit everyone, most of all the organization.