Over the years, I have observed that team members do better if they have a “sponsor.” By that, I mean someone senior to the team member who takes a special interest in the younger (or newer) person and their career.
So, why not adopt that as a standard practice? Assign someone senior to each new hire, to mentor and look out for them. Check out our October 13, 2014, post.
A buddy or mentor is someone safe; someone a new hire can go to and comfortably ask sensitive or even embarrassing questions. Senior team members can give their mentees tips, and talk about their own career. Our experience is that most buddies/mentors like the role.
If you decide to start a mentoring program, make sure you provide training to the mentors. Some people are naturals, but don’t assume everyone will know what to do.
p.s. My longtime mentor, Ken Kunkel, is still advising me.