Mentoring as an HRD approach: Effects on employee attitudes and contributions independent of core self-evaluation



Mentoring as a form of strategic human resource management is an interesting addition to the HRD literature because it provides a mechanism of change for individual employees. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of mentoring to both the employee and the firm; yet, a recent review of mentoring research argues that mentoring has less effect on important job-related outcomes than some characteristics of the individual being mentored. While individual characteristics such as personality and core self-evaluation are good predictors of job-related attitudes and performance, they can't be acted on in an HRD capacity. The firm can, however, improve the quality of its human resources by taking actions that foster an environment for mentoring to flourish. The current research developed a model to examine whether efforts to reduce barriers and encourage mentoring can, in fact, lead to individual and organizational benefits like greater job, career, and coworker satisfaction; more organizational commitment; and higher performance and competency, and if these effects are independent of core self-evaluations. Data from 121 supervisors and 632 employees in a Fortune 500 insurance firm were subjected to linear structural relations (LISREL) analysis. Results demonstrated that while both mentoring and core self-evaluation had positive and independent relationships with job and organizational attitudes, only mentoring had a statistically reliable relationship with supervisors' reports of employee contributions. The findings suggest that the individual and organizational benefits of mentoring are important outcomes of a strong strategic HRD system.