Whether you are a college student, have just landed your first job, or have more extensive experience in the workforce, a mentor can help guide you down the path towards a successful career. Choosing the perfect mentor is an important decision. It requires finding someone that has experience that closely correlates with your future goals.
Most companies have amazing perks for their employees, and one of the most overlooked of these is a corporate mentorship program. An American Society for Training and Development study found that 71% of Fortune 500 companies have some type of corporate mentorship program. It also found that 75% of executives credit their mentors with helping them reach their current positions.
Here are a few of the top Fortune 500 companies offering mentorship programs.
New graduates who are hired into one of General Electric’s (GE) nine business units are placed into their Experienced Commercial Leadership Program. All program participants will complete eight-month rotations within the sales and/or marketing areas of their particular business.
The training is designed to help participants advance and further develop their knowledge of different sales and marketing skills. They also work to enhance their leadership abilities.
Those who excel within the Experienced Commercial Leadership Program are well positioned for growth in their individual businesses within General Electric.
One of the world’s largest chipmakers takes a different stance on mentorship programs. Instead of matching up fresh talent with seasoned veterans, Intel (INTC) has reinvented the process a bit by matching people based on the skills that are in demand at any given time.
Intel searches far and wide for matches in their mentorship program. They run the program through intranet and email allowing mentorship pairs to be located across state lines.
Each person that enters the mentorship program fills out a questionnaire, which helps eliminate guesswork from the process. Participants are then paired based on the specific skills they possess.
One of the greatest things about the mentorship program at Intel is that they are not concerned about moving a few select people up the chain of command. Instead, they are interested in passing information and talent from one generation to another. Overall company growth is important to them.
One of the world’s leaders in mining and construction equipment, Caterpillar (CAT) aims to mold their recent college graduates into the future of the company. Their professional development program lasts two or three years, depending on the department.
During the rotation program, participants create the basic building blocks for technical competence, develop and refine their leadership skills, gain exposure to senior management, and develop long lasting relationships with all of the program mentors.
Google (GOOG) is one of the world's leading technology companies, so it attracts some of the brightest young talent is crucial to the company's continued growth. Each year, Google hosts Summer of Code, a global program offering student developers stipends to write code for various open-source software projects. Over the past nine summers Google has had over 8,500 successful student participants from more than 100 countries. There have also been over 8,300 mentors.
Throughout the summer, the students are paired with different mentors giving them real-world software development experience, along with the chance to earn employment within their areas of interest.
Time Warner Cable
At Time Warner Cable (TWC), the goal for the mentorship program is to build employees' skill sets, increase their knowledge of the industry, and achieve their development goals. The program is beneficial to everyone, because it also helps the mentor further strengthen their skills as a leader.
Time Warner Cable feels that a mentorship program helps enhance loyalty and retention by improving employee satisfaction. The program gives top talent a stage on which to shine and enables them to move throughout the company.
The Bottom Line
Mentorship programs are one of the best ways to groom recent college graduates to be successful during their career. By teaching a young employee about the successes and failures that they have experienced, mentors can play a vital role in the making of future leaders.