Aside from extrinsic and intrinsic motivators–effective mentoring is one of the most affective ways to engage and retain great people.
I have experienced first hand the benefits of having a mentor. In my professional career, I can think of several successful managers and executives who have taken the time to mentor me. I can attribute my success, in part, to those relationships and learning experiences–of which I am grateful for.
Not all of the companies that I have worked for have had a formal mentorship program. In fact, most of my mentoring relationships have happened organically–those have generally been the most mutually rewarding experiences. There are benefits to having a formal mentoring program in place. However, as long as your organization supports and encourages mentoring, it is not necessary for these types of relationships to cultivate. The benefits of having a mentor are invaluable.
As a mentee, you will benefit by having an advocate within your organization or industry by expanding your network and therefore increasing your opportunities. You will also learn career related politics, increase your technical knowledge, and improve your skills, whether it be communication skills or other skills more specific to your work.
In addition to building your leadership and management skills, a mentor will also be aiding the organization in maintaining skilled and engaged talent. Mentored employees statistically perform better and are more loyal to the organization.
Mentoring uses the resources your company already has to improve employee satisfaction, develop leadership, and teach new skills. An Inc. article by Sarah Kessler provides some simple ways that your organization can start a mentoring program. Check out the article here http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/04/start-mentoring-program.html
Another Inc. article offers a perspective on the new world of open-source mentoring. Check it out here http://www.inc.com/magazine/201110/the-new-world-of-open-source-mentoring.html