Business Case for Mentoring

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The Business Case for Private-Sector Engagement in Quality Youth Mentoring

EY and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) together released a report “Mentoring: at the crossroads of education, business and community.” The report examines how top US businesses collaborate with the public and non-profit sectors to connect youth in their communities to transformative mentoring relationships and the value gained by the business and its employees. According to MENTOR’s report, The Mentoring Effect, youth with mentors are more likely to be successful in school, leaders in their communities, and to enter young adulthood with opportunities for ongoing education and career choices. And yet, 16 million American young people—one in three—will reach the age of 19 without having had a mentor of any kind. The joint report examines the private sector role in addressing this mentoring gap and provides effective practices and case studies from local businesses and Fortune 500 companies.

The report’s call to action for companies to increase efforts to support youth mentoring is reinforced by key benefits that engagement in youth mentoring provides for participating companies.

The report offers the following best practices for businesses looking to start a mentoring effort or enhance the results of an existing program, including examples from the companies interviewed.

Download Full Report PDF

Download Executive Summary of The Mentoring Effect PDF

Align mentoring engagements with your corporate strengths.

In order to have a successful mentoring program, businesses should consider how potential programs would fit with their broader corporate mission, as well as their values and capabilities.

Collaborate with a non-profit expert or school for maximum impact.

By establishing relationships with non-profit experts or educational institutions, your program will benefit from your partners’ experience, robust systems, processes and standards, investment in talent development, and materials and methodologies.

Foster employee engagement through an open understanding of where and when mentoring takes place, as well as ongoing support.

Employers must realize that mentoring happens in many different ways, and that flexibility is key to encourage, facilitate and support participation. Employers should clearly illustrate which mentoring options are available to employees – short- or long-term, online or in-person, at the worksite or a school – and work with their non-profit partner to provide training, a curriculum, relationship tools, and ongoing support. All 18 organizations interviewed by EY and MENTOR allow employees to volunteer during working hours.

Facilitate increased peer learning and idea sharing among service providers and private sector actors focused on mentoring.

Corporate funders and partners are uniquely positioned to bring together programs to exchange best practices, explore partnership opportunities or share data. Those with technology platforms can build online environments where practitioners can share case studies and advice. The private sector can also invest in intermediaries that help scale effective programming and provide professional development and mentor training.

Invest in proven, evidence-based programming.

The private sector is well-positioned to foster broad demand for quality programs that follow evidence-based standards. Companies can support two national efforts to advance rigor in practice, including the supplements to the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™, which provide research-informed Standards for creating and sustaining specific program models or serving specific youth populations, as well as the National Quality Mentoring System (NQMS), which provides a structured, systematic process for evaluating how effectively mentoring programs are implemented.

National Mentoring Resource Center National Quality Mentoring System
1 in 5
American youth did not
finish high school in 2003.

Company Interviews

Eighteen companies participated in the interview process. These companies represent a broad range of industries, including the financial and professional services sectors, technology, entertainment, manufacturing, communications, health care, retail and hospitality. In addition, more than a dozen mentoring programs and youth-serving organizations were interviewed, as were MENTOR’s AffiliatesThe following are the 18 companies that were chosen based their existing engagement in youth mentoring, which is representative of the diverse range of approaches the private-sector is taking:

American Express
Bank of America
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Coastway Community Bank
First Niagara

The Ritz Carlton
State Street