In the August issue of our employer newsletter, we brought to light a recent incident regarding the 2012 Summer Olympic Games and what that incident could teach about workforce management.

Workforce management, of course, is about more than just finding and hiring the right people in the most expeditious way possible. It’s also about retaining the great employees you already have and making sure that those employees continue to broaden their knowledge base and sharpen their skills.

A great way to accomplish this goal is through the use of a mentoring program.

A mentoring program allows older, more tenured employees to transfer their knowledge to younger, more inexperienced ones. As that knowledge transfer occurs, employees become stronger assets, contributing more value to the work they do and to the company’s bottom line.

As a bonus, they’re also more likely to stay with the company longer, continuing to make greater contributions as they grow.

There are two main types of mentoring programs—formal and informal. A formal one has an official structure within the company, most likely with a set of written guidelines and a system for the tracking of goals.

An informal mentoring program, by contrast, is one that doesn’t involve much in the way of documentation, but it exists nonetheless. Instead, it relies on the people directly involved to be proactive in their pursuit of an endeavor that will enhance their value as employees.

Does it matter which program a company chooses? It does not. One is not inherently better than the other. You just have to determine which one is a better fit for everybody involved.

Regardless of which mentoring program is utilized, it’s important that team leaders participate as much as they can. Doing so will let employees know that they’re valued and that management has a desire to invest in them—both keys to greater levels of retention.

Does your company have a mentoring program in place, regardless of what form it takes? If it doesn’t, should it? How much does retaining your company’s best employees fit into its overall plans for workforce management?