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Mentorship Programs in Shared Services


A basic definition of a mentorship program is to match people with skills and knowledge acquired over time with people who have less experience who will benefit from insights from the more senior employees.   The mentor can be a trusted counselor helping the less experienced employee plan their career and set development plans that can accelerate the growth of their skills and their ability to positively impact their job performance.  Both parties, the mentor and the mentee, can find the relationship rewarding, with meaningful benefits likely for both. 

Company Experience

A recent PeercastTM in our Shared Services leadership research area featured a global company with over $50B in annual revenue discussing their approach to creating and administering a mentoring program for their North American Shared Services organization.  The Shared Services mentoring program uses a formal approach to mentoring with leadership from a Mentoring Council created to both define and monitor the strategy for mentoring, and then operationalize the program with a robust implementation with ongoing program oversight. 

For the featured company, mentoring is defined as “a structured relationship in which a more senior leader or manager is formally assigned to advise, counsel and support an individual or a small group of individuals outside of a reporting relationship, for a specific period of time (usually 1 year) for development and retention purposes”. 

Some of the objectives of the program include employee development, employee retention, fostering inclusion and acceptance, preparing people for new roles, expanding professional networks, and supporting individuals acclimating to the culture.

Techniques discussed in detail include “speed mentoring”, “hot topics”, “mentoring circles”, and “one-on-one pairing”.  

The feature company presentation and a recording of the PeercastTM discussion are available for Peeriosity member companies and their teams in the member’s area of the Peeriosity website.

iPollingTM Results Review

Peeriosity’s iPollingTM was used to provide insights into the approach Peeriosity member companies were taking with regard to mentoring programs.  The use of a formal mentoring program was reported by 37% of Peeriosity member companies with an additional 11% indicating that they have implemented an informal mentoring program.  11% are currently evaluating, with 41% indicating they haven’t considered the idea.

status of having a mentorship program for employees

The second polling question asked about the level of success achieved for companies with mentoring programs, with 27% indicating their mentoring program was very successful, is widely utilized, and has significantly improved the development of employees.  An additional 37% indicated the program was moderately successful, with the balance of responses ranging from limited success to “too early to tell”.  Interestingly, when you look at the relationship between how companies responded to the first question and how they responded to the second, every single company who reported having a very successful or a moderately successful program indicated that they had implemented a formal mentoring program.   Here are the details:

level of success you have had with a mentorship program

A few of the comments from members include:

  • People can either request a mentor by name or ask for a mentor to be assigned. Those that ‘opt in’ to the mentoring program are generally more satisfied with their career.
  • We have a companywide Mentoring program…but specifically in SSC, we have not carved out mentoring as a separate program.
  • We started the formal mentoring program this year with a total of 10 new hires (before mentoring was very informal). Giving it structure helped mentors manage their mentoring time more effectively and focus on areas they identified of concern, work with their leaders on setting actions and own their mentee’s performance until the end of the program. For mentees a great onboarding experience and for mentors a way to add value / a growth experience.
  • We have a mentoring element as part of our Shared Services leadership development program, so formal mentoring is only available to a portion of shared services employees. So far it has been successful and well received, but it is only in its first year, so difficult to fully assess its impact and value at this stage.

Closing Summary

As companies look to invest in training and development to ensure employees are able to increase their skills and contributions to the company, and at the same time achieve personal job enrichment objectives, one approach that is often overlooked is to have a robust and formal mentoring program in place to allow more experienced employees to guide the development of employees who are earlier in their careers.  With a modest investment, results can be significant, for both the mentor and the mentee. 

Does your Shared Services organization have a formal mentoring program in place?  If you don’t currently have a program, what companies can you contact for advice so that you can leverage methods that are proven to be successful for your peers?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

Peeriosity members are invited to log into to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.

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