Four ways your company can benefit from mentoring

Two women talkingMentoring is a valuable addition to any woman’s professional life, but how do mentoring schemes benefit businesses? We take a look at four ways mentoring can be used to address common business challenges.

1. Tackling the gender pay gap

One of the key factors underpinning the gender pay gap, in which a company pays men more than women, is a lack of women in senior roles. ‘Vertical occupational segregation’, where men are disproportionately promoted into the most senior and well-paid roles and women are clustered in more junior and less well paid roles, is a problem across all sectors. The obvious solution is to promote more women, so for companies where there is not a deep pool of candidates for leadership roles, mentoring is essential.

Creating a leadership development scheme where women are mentored specifically to develop their leadership potential is one way to tackle the problem. But simply being a mentor improves women’s leadership skills, providing them with the opportunity to learn how to give better feedback, help others develop their skills and careers, and improve their communication skills.

Data from a Gartner study of Sun Microsystems’ mentoring scheme shows that mentors enjoy a 6 times higher promotion rate than non-mentors (whilst mentees enjoy a 5 times higher rate), so if you need to promote more women, ensure that you’re giving all your female staff the opportunity to be a mentor.

2. Improving staff retention

According to Acas, it costs £30,000 to replace a member of staff, with the majority of that cost down to the “loss of productivity caused by the time it takes – 28 weeks on average – for a new recruit to get up to speed.” Losing a member of staff doesn’t just cost money, it also means a loss of valuable institutional knowledge, some of which may never be recreated by their replacement or colleagues. Staff retention should be at the top of every HR manager’s priorities.

A 2019 survey of 8,000 full- and part-time workers by CNBC and SurveyMonkey reported that, “Happy, more productive workers are valuable to any company for the simple fact they tend to stay longer. More than 4 in 10 workers who don’t have a mentor say they’ve considered quitting their job in the past three months, compared with just 25% of those who do have a mentor.”

The cost of replacing one member of staff could cover the cost of mentoring for 125 women on the Finding Ada Network for a year, so the cost-benefit analysis of mentoring points clearly at it being great value for money.

3. Recruiting more women

The Institution of Engineering and Technology found last year that 53 percent of businesses “are concerned that a shortage of engineers in the UK is a threat to their business”. And a report from the Confederation of British Industry and Tata Consultancy Services found that demand for digital skills “outstrips supply, with over two thirds of businesses reporting unfilled digital skills vacancies”.

On top of these skills shortages is an even greater shortage of women. Only 22 percent of the UK STEM workforce are women, which makes it difficult for STEM businesses to attract enough female job applicants, especially for technical roles.

A sponsored mentoring scheme, where a company sponsors women from the community to be mentored by their female employees is not just an opportunity to give back to the #WomeninSTEM community, it’s also a way to find and develop new talent. Women who perhaps might not have considered your company as a place they want to work may do so after having a positive mentoring experience with one of your female staff.

4. Supporting ‘intrapreneurs’

The Women in Tech report found that although 80 percent of women in science, engineering and technology say that they love their work, 56 percent leave in mid-career, some 10 to 20 years in. More than twice as many women quit high tech than men – 41 percent compared to 17 percent.

“Evidence suggests that women face difficulties in accessing core, innovative technical roles,” the report says, with only 2.1 percent of all US IT patents going to individual women or all-women teams. In short, businesses are missing out on great ideas because they aren’t paying attention to women.

A mentoring scheme focused on growing women’s intrapreneurial skills, teaching them how to identify and develop innovative ideas, not only gives women the opportunity to develop their creativity, it also ensures that valuable ideas aren’t lost to the company. Helping women to realise their creative ambitions also helps increase job satisfaction, retention and promotion.

We have decades of evidence to show how mentoring benefits women, whether they are mentors or mentees. But mentoring schemes also benefit the companies that invest in them, creating a culture of learning and development that encourages creativity, innovation and growth, all of which are essential to business success.

The Finding Ada Network provides online mentoring services to STEM businesses in the UK and New Zealand. Find out more or get in touch.

J.P. Morgan offers free Finding Ada Network subscriptions to UK women in tech

JP MorganThe Finding Ada Network is delighted to announce that we have partnered with J.P. Morgan to offer free mentorship for 50 women in technology in the UK.

The scheme will pair mentees from across the UK with women in technical roles within J.P. Morgan, with mentors available from different levels across the company, from junior software developers to senior tech leaders.

This is an amazing opportunity for women with a tech or STEM background to find a mentor who can help them develop their careers over the next twelve months. Mentees will be given a year’s free access to the Finding Ada Network online mentorship and knowledge sharing network, including our world class online mentorship platform and exclusive content covering careers advice, personal and professional development, plus HR policy and advocacy advice.

We have decades of evidence that mentoring helps women succeed, that mentees improve their soft skills, confidence, and communications skills, and develop better ways to process feedback and solve problems. Crucially, mentee’s career prospects are improved too, as they are more likely to be promoted, enjoying on average a five times higher rate of promotion compared to non-mentees.

This project becomes even more essential now – as COVID-19 makes life more challenging, women especially need additional help and support. And because the Finding Ada Network allows mentors and mentees to manage their mentoring relationship entirely online, it is an ideal way to access that help and support.

To apply for this scheme, please complete the short form below.

Ada Lovelace Day Live! 2020 cancelled due to COVID-19

I am sad to announce that I have, with the agreement of my Advisory Council, taken the difficult decision to cancel the Ada Lovelace Day Live! 2020 event at The IET on 13 October.

This was not an easy decision to take, but I believe that it is the most responsible one.

At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic it is impossible to plan ahead to October and say for sure that we will be able to travel freely – we may well find ourselves dipping in and out of lockdowns for months to come. Even if we aren’t in lockdown, it may be inadvisable for people to congregate in large groups until we have widespread vaccination. It is our duty to consider the safety and health not just of our audience but also our speakers and those who work at the venue, so we believe that cancellation is the right decision.

We will still find ways to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day online, and will be taking the next couple of months to look at what that celebration might look like. We will let you know what our plans are as soon as we have worked them out.

For now, our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected, and our gratitude goes to all the staff of the NHS and other frontline health workers around the world, and all the essential workers who are keeping society going whilst the rest of us stay at home. These are difficult times, but we will get through them by working together and supporting each other.

– Suw Charman-Anderson, Founder, Ada Lovelace Day

Support your female staff with our mentoring network

Women are the powerhouse of the economy.

Companies with more women in senior roles are measurably more profitable and more innovative than male-dominated businesses. Women-led businesses outperform, by up to three times, those companies led by men. They are more productive, make better decisions, and have more engaged, happier employees who stay in their jobs for longer.

Women are not just the powerhouse of the STEM economy, they create healthier, fairer and more successful companies.

Leaving in droves

Despite their superior performance, women are leaving STEM in droves. Over half of women in science, engineering and technology careers will leave their industry in mid-career, despite loving their jobs. Why? Because they can’t see a future.

Companies that don’t hire and promote sufficient female talent are not just leaving money on the table, they’re spending unnecessarily: Replacing a single employee costs £30,000, mostly money lost on getting the new recruit up to speed.

The female advantage

Companies that take equality seriously, that nurture and promote female talent, will be most successful in the 2020s and beyond. They will have a gender-balanced workforce, better gender pay gap data, higher profits, better products, and lower staff churn and lower recruitment costs. They will also have a happier workforce that is more productive and innovative. And in a world where publicly traded companies last only ten years on average, you need every bit of advantage you can get.

The Finding Ada Network

The Finding Ada Network, a new mentoring and knowledge sharing network for women in STEM, provides a best-in-class mentoring platform and supports women with exclusive content and private member’s forum.

Members benefit from a structured mentoring plan, with regular check-ins to keep them on track. They will also enjoy a mobile app, profiles, automatic matching, meeting scheduling, goal setting, task lists and more.

And exclusive content covering careers advice, personal growth, and professional development ensures that women have access to the information they need to improve their leadership and soft skills.

Make mentorship work for your business

Decades of evidence shows that mentoring is effective at increasing staff promotion and retention rates, as well as increasing job satisfaction and productivity. Both mentors and mentees are more likely to be promoted and to stay in their jobs. Indeed, mentorship provides a 5x higher rate of promotion for mentees, a 6x higher rate of promotion for mentors, and a 30% improvement in staff retention.

And with the Finding Ada Network, we can rapidly onboard groups large or small, getting your staff invited and on board in a matter of minutes. This means that if you want to dip your toe into mentoring, we can spin up a pilot and get you going fast! If you’re already convinced that mentoring is the way to go, then our program gives you more than any other mentorship network.

So if your business is based in the United Kingdom or New Zealand, and you want to provide mentoring for the women on your staff, get in touch with me here on LinkedIn or by email at suw@findingada.com.

If you’re a woman in STEM, or a small business who’d like to bring up to five women on to the network, you can sign up right now.

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