Increasing Diversity & Inclusion Through Mentoring

Introduction To Mentoring

Mentoring is a great way to help your employees develop their skills and career paths. Mentoring can also be used as part of your wider diversity and inclusion strategy, by helping you find ways to attract more diverse candidates into the workplace.

The mentoring process is adaptable and can be either a formal, or an informal process – where someone with more experience or knowledge guides someone who has less experience or knowledge through their career path. Mentors can be anyone from managers, peers or even customers/clients who have something valuable to share with those looking for guidance in their career development.

There are many benefits to mentoring including increased confidence in yourself as an employee – when you are given positive feedback from someone who knows what they’re talking about, it gives you confidence in yourself as an employee, which will help build up your self-esteem. This can lead onto other positive things such as increased productivity at work or even promotion opportunities.

We talk more about the general benefits of mentoring for mentors and mentees, in a previous blog post.

Steps for Establishing a Mentoring Programme

It can take time and effort to set up a mentoring programme. Thought needs to be taken to decide on who will manage the overall programme, such as administrators – the goals and intentions of the programme should also be clear.

Below, we touch briefly on the stages of designing a mentoring programme:

  1. Identifying potential mentors and mentees
  2. Setting goals and objectives
  3. Developing a mentoring plan
  4. Finding suitable mentors and mentees
  5. Implementing the programme


You may also want to consider how you will facilitate your programme – such as how will mentors and mentees communicate? That’s where an online mentoring platform like sfG MentorNet could come in handy!

You can view some advice on starting up a mentoring programme on our resource page, for free.


Benefits of Mentoring for Diverse Employees

Mentoring can be a powerful tool for increasing diversity in the workplace. Mentoring provides employees with opportunities to develop skills and gain knowledge, which can lead to increased job satisfaction, improved job performance, increased career advancement opportunities and increased confidence.

The benefits of mentoring are especially important for diverse employees because they often face barriers when trying to advance their careers or find jobs that match their experience level. A lack of mentorship may make it difficult for these workers to reach their full potential at work or even find employment in the first place (for example: if an employer is unwilling to provide opportunity to someone due to their lack of previous education – which may have been affected due to being from a disadvantaged background).


Challenges of Mentoring for Diverse Employees

There are a number of challenges that diverse employees face when seeking mentorship.

First, they may have a difficult time finding suitable mentors in their organisations.

Second, if they do find someone who fits the bill, there may not be enough resources available to support them through their mentoring relationship.

Thirdly (and perhaps most importantly), the lack of support from management can make it difficult for mentees to feel comfortable asking for help or advice from those who hold more power than them -even if those people happen to be their mentors.

Finally – cultural differences between mentor and mentee can also cause problems during these relationships.


Tips for Mentoring Diverse Employees

  •  Avoid assumptions about what’s appropriate for your mentee, and make sure to ask questions if you’re unsure of anything.
  •  Provide constructive feedback that’s specific, actionable, and timely- and don’t forget to celebrate victories along the way!
  • Create a safe and supportive environment. Mentors should create an environment where mentees feel comfortable asking questions and sharing their experiences, even if those experiences differ from the mentor’s own.
  • Be aware of cultural or individual differences. This includes considering how gender roles may differ from culture to culture, as well as how race and ethnicity affect people’s lives in different ways depending on where they live or grew up.

Mentors should ask open questions like –

What kinds of challenges do you face in your career?” and

How do you think we can help each other?”


Best Practices for Inclusive Mentoring Programmes

  • Involve management – The best mentoring programmes are those that involve the people who are most likely to be able to make a difference in their employees’ careers. That means it’s important for managers and supervisors to be involved in the process, whether it’s by helping create goals or giving feedback on progress.


  • Provide resources and support –  Mentors need materials and information about their mentees so they can provide useful guidance and advice during meetings or one-on-one sessions, and this includes things like company policies, training opportunities (such as workshops) and even job postings within the business if there are openings for which a mentee might be qualified but not yet aware of them because they havn’t been exposed enough yet within the workplace.



Mentoring is a powerful tool for creating a more diverse workplace. It can help you source and develop talent, build trust between employees and improve retention rates. Mentoring also helps businesses attract top candidates by showing them that your company cares about it’s people and is keen to help them grow and develop.

Mentoring is an effective way to create a more inclusive work environment because it gives employees access to valuable information from someone who has been there before them – someone who understands what they’re going through and can help them navigate challenges as they arise in their careers.

Mentors should be able to offer guidance on everything from networking strategies (like how best to approach networking events) all the way down to day-to-day tasks like setting up email accounts or learning how Word works at your company’s office space if this isn’t something they’ve done before!

When choosing mentors for diverse employees, look for someone who has experience working with people of different backgrounds/races/sexual orientations etc.

The key to a supportive mentor is making sure whoever ends up being chosen, understands what makes each individual unique.