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Want to Improve Your Onboarding Experience? Try Mentoring

August 24, 2022
Frances Campbell

Key Learnings: 

  1. By setting up a mentoring program for employee onboarding you can: nip talent churn in the bud; reduce time to competency for new hires; and improve employee engagement
  2. Mentoring throughout the onboarding process can help make your organisation more inclusive
  3. Mentors benefit too from wider networks and perspectives, as well as the opportunity to positively impact company culture. 

We know the feeling; your fantastic new hire has just signed their contract. Time to sit back and relax, right? 

Well… not quite. You might think the hard part’s over but, actually, this is just the beginning. The first 6 months of any new job can determine the success of your hire in the long run. As part of your ongoing talent retention strategy, companies should be focusing not just on hiring but on how they onboard talent. 

Studies have shown that organisations with a formal onboarding program experience 50% better new hire retention than those without. And for good reason, the onboarding process is a crucial step in getting your new hire up to speed and showing them what your company culture is really like. 

So, how do you improve your employee onboarding? Well, that’s where mentoring can help. 

How is mentoring used for onboarding?  

Make the most of mentoring by matching up new hires with experienced, trusted team members to act as mentors throughout the first 6 months in their new role. 

Similar to a buddying system, the goal is to help new hires get up to speed with company culture and ways of working. By talking to a mentor, you can accelerate the learning and growth of new hires from the start of their journey. The mentor will also take pressure off line managers and create wider networks in the business.

There are many benefits to introducing mentoring early on in your employee journey. Below we break down some of the top problems organisations face when onboarding new hires and how mentoring can help:

Nip talent churn in the bud 🌱

On average, a third of new hires leave within the first 6 months of starting a new role and the cost of re-hiring can be 1.5 or even 2 times the person’s salary

The good news is that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with their company for 3 years if they had a positive onboarding experience. Mentoring helps new talent to integrate faster, learn more and see that the company cares about their wellbeing and progression. This leads to better retention, money saved and fewer headaches for your HR team. 

Reduce time to competency 🙌

At Google, new hires paired with a mentor became fully effective 25% faster than those without. Mentors don’t just teach you how to do your job but how to navigate the wider working culture. 

Getting your people up to speed on everything from the software you use to the unspoken rules of the office, will get them to the point of full efficacy faster. Meaning that you’ll benefit from greater productivity earlier on.

Improve employee engagement 💭

Employee engagement is a key factor in retaining talent long-term. Mentoring builds relationships and trust across teams, creating more empathetic workplace cultures and ultimately, more engaged employees.

When your people feel seen, heard and valued at work, they are more likely to stay engaged in their work and company culture. The majority of those with mentors will also go on to become mentors themselves, proving the high levels of engagement that mentoring has.

📖 Find out more about increasing employee engagement in our guide. 📖

Why does mentoring improve onboarding? 

Mentoring is all about harnessing the power of human connections for learning and development. Humans are social beings and mentoring is a fantastic way to build trusting relationships that help us to feel connected to one another in the workplace.

By introducing mentoring in the onboarding phase, both mentor and mentee are given a safe space to learn and grow together. This sets up a culture of mentoring and social learning from the start of the employee experience that will last way beyond the onboarding process. 

A well-structured mentoring for onboarding program can… 

  • Make people feel valued
  • Get them up to speed
  • Help them feel part of the team
  • Show your culture in action 

💡 Remember: Mentors benefit too!
The best part of using mentoring for onboarding is that mentors benefit too. They can impart wisdom and feel that they are actively participating in creating a good workplace culture, as well as gaining fresh ideas from new employees and a wider perspective. 

Guider mentoring software banner to find out more
Find out more about Guider's mentoring software

Can mentoring make onboarding more inclusive?

Absolutely! A key factor in any successful onboarding program is making sure you're creating an inclusive environment for new hires. By setting every employee up for success regardless of their background, they are more likely to feel connected to your organisation because they have a sense of belonging there. 

There are many ways that incorporating mentoring into your onboarding process can lead to greater inclusivity. Below we highlight 3 of the tops ways that mentoring makes onboarding more inclusive: 

Widening networks 👥

Mentoring for onboarding helps new hires widen their networks in the business from the start. An important factor in inclusion is seeing role models around you and finding allies within the business. Through mentoring, you can connect new hires with a community. 

You can also run events and create a cohort of new hires and mentors to maximise the opportunity for networking within the business and to create community. 

Improving cultural competency 🙌

Through mentoring, both mentors and mentees can improve cultural competency. This is the ability to understand, appreciate and interact with people from cultures different to your own. 

Through exposure to new perspectives, we can gain insight into how others think and what their values are. This helps foster an understanding and inclusive environment. By introducing mentoring from the start, new hires will be ingratiated into a more inclusive company culture. 

Building equality 🤝

Through incorporating a structured system for mentoring in your onboarding process, you can give all new hires the same opportunity to connect with and learn from their peers. Mentors will often become champions of their mentees later on. 

You’ll boost the chances of your new hire integrating and thriving by matching them up with the right mentors from the get-go. And as mentoring can happen virtually, you can connect and support your people from wherever they’re based. 

Two people shaking hands in equality
Building equality through mentoring

How do I set up employee mentoring for onboarding? 

There are several factors to consider in planning a successful mentoring program for employee onboarding. With some careful planning, you can ensure that your mentoring program works hard to support your onboarding efforts. 

1. Remember pre-boarding

Pre-boarding is the word for that in-between stage when your new hire has signed the contract but hasn’t started. This is the time to focus on building excitement and showing your new hire what your company culture is all about.  

Now’s the time to introduce your mentoring program for new hires. Whether you put mentors and mentees in touch in this phase or simply let them know that this support will be provided, you can build excitement for your mentoring program and their new role.

2. Start matching mentors and mentees

The matching phase is important in mentoring for onboarding. It’s a good idea to build a pool of trusted mentors to draw from so that you know new hires are being connected with the right people. 

The goal of the mentor is to provide additional support outside of line management, so make sure that mentors have enough time and experience to be able to support with a range of topics and skill development. With a lot of information to retain; a mentor that’s been through the process can keep new hires engaged, show that they are valued and help them to feel included. 

3. Create a cohort 

Bringing together your new hires and mentors in a cohort is a great way to not only maximise the networking opportunity of mentoring but to help people share stories and advice. Bring your cohort together for events and encourage them to share experiences.

When people feel a part of a community, they are more likely to feel supported, know where to go for help and integrate more quickly into their new organisation. 

4. Check-in regularly

Onboarding is not an overnight process, in fact, we often forget how long it can take to fully learn a new role. Factoring strategic check-in points with your mentors and mentees will help you to gauge how well your program is working and identify any areas of improvement. 

Planning surveys at the 1, 3 and 6-month mark will help you to keep your program on track and ensure that new hires are engaging in their new role. 

5. Sign-post onwards

Mentoring has benefits way beyond onboarding. Make sure you sign-post your cohort to your wider company mentoring programs so that they can keep benefiting from mentoring throughout their time at the company. 

All mentoring programs will help improve employee engagement, retention and inclusion. So, don’t forget to plan ahead and keep your new hires engaged in mentoring - you’ll thank yourself in the long run! 


Using these steps, you can leverage the expertise of your existing employees and improve the experience of new hires through mentoring. On top of this, mentoring supports an inclusive culture, so why not set new hires up right? 

Find out more about starting a mentoring program for onboarding by talking to our team today! Book a chat below👇


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