Dale Carnegie of Orange County | Improving Leadership Effectiveness

Building Organizational Diversity: Identifying Mentors

Want to increase the diversity in your organization? The younger generations of workers are more diverse than ever. With a global economy and the ability to work remotely, they can come from any country, race, religion, gender, etc. These young workers also bring with them a diversity of viewpoints that can help generate an atmosphere that encourages innovation and drives bottom-line results.

How do organizations attract and retain these young diverse workers? One of the most motivating factors for the younger generations is being mentored. In order to attract and retain the best workers from these younger generations, it is therefore important to show them you have a mentorship program in place. This will demonstrate to them that your organization takes their development seriously and there is room for movement within the organization. Mentor programs also help workers feel connected and give them a sense of belonging. All of these things result in workers feeling more engaged as well as increasing retention and productivity.

Your mentors will help drive the success of your diversity initiative or destroy it. So, when developing a mentorship program, it is critical to find individuals that have the right characteristics. This will create a better success rate in the retention of diverse employees. Here is a list of some of the most important characteristics mentors should possess.

  1. Mentors connect with others and build strong relationships. Relationships are important to younger workers. Make sure you identify people in your organization that have good interpersonal skills and connect with others.
  2. Mentors build on one’s potential and bring out the best in people. Bringing out the best in others is a valuable skill. Identify people who build others up as opposed to tearing them down.
  3. Mentors are trustworthy and can build trust. These are the people in your organization that “walk-the-walk.” They are the example for others of the organization’s values.
  4. Mentors are open-minded and respect differences. This goes without saying if you are trying to attract diversity to your organization.
  5. Mentors are good communicators. One of the most important skills on any level is the ability to communicate. This skill is magnified the more diverse your workforce becomes because of nuances in cultural and generational communication.
  6. Mentors are exceptional listeners. Look for people that don’t just listen to respond but listen to understand. This helps mentors to empathize with a diverse work population and coach them to their goals.
  7. Mentors throw down challenges. Mentoring is not idle chit-chat or just giving answers. Mentors challenge and push people to be better than sometimes they even thought they could be.
  8. Mentors are resourceful and willing to share. Mentors often have a history of getting things done. They know how to gather resources and pull things together. Mentors are willing to share both physical resources and knowledge.
  9. Mentors hold people accountable. A good mentor is an accountability partner. They will call people to the carpet when they don’t follow through on their commitments (not in a bad way). This helps motivate people to set goals and accomplish them.

To build a culture of diversity, start by identifying the people in your organization that will be your greatest mentors. Then use these mentors to help build organizational diversity that continues to attract and retain a more diverse workforce.

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