Structured mentoring programs are becoming more and more prevalent in the workplace. In fact, over 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies have some type of mentorship program.
The benefits of workplace mentoring for employees and employers are numerous, as mentoring proves to be a highly successful professional development and retention strategy. For employers, mentoring can increase organizational diversity, reduce turnover, and prompt higher levels of employee engagement. Employees that participate in mentoring programs experience easier transitions into the workplace, expanded leadership abilities, increased technical skills, and countless other benefits. For employees with disabilities, workplace mentoring programs can provide additional benefits, including a greater sense of belonging and ability to explore potential issues and challenges in a supportive environment.
Disability-inclusive mentoring programs are an ideal way to develop a stronger, more inclusive workplace culture. Employers that desire to engage employees with disabilities in workplace mentoring should consider the following:
At the start of mentoring relationships, mentors should ask about communication preferences, as employees, including those with disabilities, may have preferred styles that will help them better participate in the program. For example, some employees may prefer to communicate primarily through email, so they have a longer time to process and respond to information. Others may request virtual or in-person meetings, as the social interaction may be more beneficial to set and accomplish goals.
For more strategies, tools and activities for employers and employees interested in establishing mentoring relationship, check out EARN’s Workplace Mentoring Playbook. For additional guidance on engaging employees with disabilities in workplace mentoring, contact the Getting Hired team.
Contributions to this blog were made by Andraéa LaVant of Solutions Marketing Group.