Mentoring programs in the workplace have a variety of benefits, from employee retention and career planning to workplace inclusivity and leadership development. While a successful mentorship program can benefit your organization, creating and successfully implementing one can be challenging. On the bright side, there is a tested path to creating a mentoring program in your firm that will benefit all involved.
8 Tips for Creating a Successful Mentoring Program
If you want to create a successful mentoring program, these tips will help you get started.
1. Define the program's goals and objectives
What do you want employees to get out of this program? A successful program starts with knowing the goal.
Whether you're looking to develop managers, improve onboarding, transfer knowledge, or boost retention – there's a way to structure your program to meet those goals. Gather the stakeholders involved in the program creation and come to a clear definition of what your mentorship program will accomplish.
2. Determine how employees will join the program
Now that you have your goals and objectives clearly defined, you can determine how to get employees involved. For example, will you have employees apply for the program? Do you want to limit membership to a specific group of employees?
While you consider this question, be sure to also think about the time requirements. Then, using the program's goals, objectives, and time requirements, you'll be able to come up with an appropriate list of employees that will benefit from being involved.
3. Decide if mentors and mentees will meet one-on-one or as a group
There are benefits to both one-on-one and group mentorship. This will, again, be influenced by the goals of your program. For example, if you're looking to create an employee onboarding mentorship program, you may find group meetings enable the onboarding process to be faster and more efficient.
On the other hand, if you're looking to create a management development mentorship program, it will be more beneficial to have one-on-one meetings where individual needs can be more thoroughly addressed.
4. Determine the frequency of meetings
You can choose to make these meetings weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually or in any other time segment.
When you evaluated how employees would join the program, one piece of consideration was the availability of all involved. This, as well as the desired length and outcome of the program, will help you determine how often meetings need to take place. For example, if you're looking to accelerate onboarding, you'll likely want meetings to be held weekly, at least. On the other hand, monthly or quarterly may be a better cadence if you're looking to boost employee retention.
5. Get buy-in from leadership and encourage participation
To get buy-in from leadership, you'll need to tie the program to your firm's goals. Show how the program will address a gap between leadership's vision for the firm and the current firm reality. These actions will help you show the value of creating a mentorship program.
Similarly, to encourage participation, you need to set clear expectations and explain the potential benefits to your employees. Tell them how they can gain new skills, cultivate a larger professional network, develop a better understanding of the working world and more. Market the program to your employees in a way that is benefits-oriented.
6. Determine how mentors and mentees will be matched
Will participants self-match, or will a facilitator match them? What criteria will matches be based on? The best matches will be based on the mentor's skills and needs of the mentee rather than personality traits or individual interests. If the matches are designed to reach a specific goal, keep that goal in mind when looking at mentees and their assigned (or chosen) mentors.
7. Train your mentors
Most professionals don't know how to formally mentor another person. When a mentor is ill-prepared for the role, the mentor/mentee relationship can fail.
Effectively training your mentors can ensure a successful outcome from the program. Ensure that your mentors are clear on the program's objectives and understand what they're getting out of the mentorship. Providing role profiles, defining phases of the relationship and providing tips and ideas for the mentoring relationship can help make the relationship successful.
8. Measure progress against goals
What metrics can you use to track progress and see whether the program is successful? A few metrics ideas include the number of active mentoring relationships, number of goals set/achieved, retention rates, and employee engagement/satisfaction.
Busy season is the perfect time for talent and HR leaders in your firm to work on creating a mentorship program. Once busy season is over, you'll be ready to launch the program successfully to the employees in your firm, who will have newfound time and energy to embrace the program.
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As a Project Manager for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Jacqueline plans, executes and manages the people, resources and scope of many of our firm’s projects, programs and events. Her primary focus is on managing projects for IT Consulting, Strategic Planning and Talent Consulting. In addition, Jacqueline works closely with leadership to oversee the company’s human resources by managing hiring, onboarding, training and development and overseeing our Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS). She also supports our Allyship for Diversity commitment at BCI, which seeks to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion within Boomer Consulting and the accounting profession. Jacqueline also works on the strategy and development of our eLearning initiatives.