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Just How Important Are Sponsorships in the Workplace?

Just How Important Are Sponsorships in the Workplace
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Research has shown that mentorship and having influential sponsors are crucial for an employee’s career advancement in an organization.   

According to a study conducted by PayScale, sponsored employees earn 11.6% more than their colleagues. An interesting point that needs to be highlighted is that for men, the sponsorship rate is higher at 12.3 percent compared to women at 10.2 percent.  

Identifying high-performing employees suitable for leadership positions improves retention and boosts the company’s productivity. This, in turn, improves profit, employer branding, and attractiveness to potential hires.   

What are sponsorship programs? 

Sponsorship programs connect leaders across the company with high-potential employees to accelerate their career development. These programs usually focus on helping employees from underrepresented backgrounds. This contrasts with high-potential programs that groom exceptional employees for leadership positions.   

What is a sponsor’s role? 

Sponsors play an active role in facilitating their protege’s career advancement. Sponsors not only invest in the employee’s professional development but also advocate for them, using their reputation and personal brand to drive their growth.   

In sponsorship programs, an executive sponsors underrepresented employees by opening new vistas for them, connecting them with influential people, or assigning them to high-profile projects.  

In addition, sponsors also provide mentorship and coaching to help the employees grow the skills they need to advance. There are key differences between mentorship and sponsorship, but they both focus on fast-tracking an employee’s growth.  

Finding the right sponsor is important for an employee because the sponsor’s ability to provide clarity of purpose and nurture talents makes them valuable assets in their career growth.  

Why is it important to sponsor employees from diverse backgrounds? 

Some may argue that sponsorship programs are facilitating favoritism. But this is not the case. Sponsorship programs are a way to provide equal opportunities to all well-performing employees.  

It is a fact those non-male employees and employees of color face significantly more barriers to their career advancement than their white and male colleagues. Prejudice, discrimination, bias, and stereotypes are still common barriers to workplace diversity.   

Creating a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) isn’t just about recruiting people from diverse backgrounds. It’s about using sponsorship programs to train and set them up for success in their careers and roles.  

Sponsorships are important in closing the gender inequality gap.

How do sponsorship programs benefit the organization? 

From a layman’s perspective, sponsorship programs might seem like a one-way street where only the recipients of sponsorship and their sponsors benefit. However, the organization as a whole also gains a lot from starting sponsorship programs.  

Research has revealed that sponsorship programs produce more effective leaders and teams in the workplace. There was also an increase in job satisfaction, employee retention, and overall commitment to the organization. From this, we can safely say that sponsorship programs strengthen talent, and improve engagement and company culture. 

About the author

Varsha Pednekar

With over 6 years as a content contributor for various media houses and budding companies, Varsha has created a niche for herself with her well-researched pieces. She loves to write about current events, public policy, healthcare, finance, and many other genres. A trained artist and curator, she also dabbles in writing concept notes and creating profiles for upcoming local artists.