7 Things You Wish You had Known Before Starting a Corporate Mentoring Program

February 01, 2011
Does your organization currently have a mentoring program in place and would like to improve it? Or are you thinking about starting a mentoring program at your organization – but perhaps concerned about the pitfalls? Judy Corner, Mentoring Subject Matter Expert at Insala, makes the following 7 practical and critical mentoring program recommendations that will propel your corporate mentoring program in the right direction:
  1. Do create a well-defined plan before implementing your mentoring program.
    Creating a comprehensive, results-oriented program plan will steer you mentoring program in the right direction from the very start. Within the plan, it is important to answer key questions such as why mentoring is critical for a particular employee audience within your organization, and how the program will help achieve business goals. Do develop the most effective plan possible, we recommend you conduct a Mentoring Readiness Workshop within your organization.
  2. Do define specific and relevant measurements of program success.
    To ensure your mentoring program achieves particular goals, take the time to identify a list of key success metrics that you can track throughout the life of the program. Metrics should correspond to mentor activities, mentee activities and development, and overarching organizational goals.
  3. Don’t just let anyone participate in your program.
    Having the best mentoring program means having the best mentor-mentee pairs to fulfil program goals. Make sure to target the specific audience that will contribute to and benefit from the program at hand. This means defining key criteria for ideal mentors and mentees in your program, and putting a process in place to select a group of desired participants from a larger applicant pool. Implementing a mentoring software solution can facilitate this process.
  4. Do ensure that program participation is voluntary.
    The simplest and most essential way to generate lasting, productive mentoring partnerships is to keep program participation voluntary. This way, mentors are motivated for the right reasons, and mentees experience the full benefits of the program. To keep voluntary participation while still reaching a wide audience of potential mentors and mentees, make sure to roll-out a well-planned internal marketing campaign for your program – something which mentoring software can easily facilitate.
  5. Don’t skip on training for mentors, mentees and managers.
    No matter what your organization needs or what kind of mentoring program you would like to implement, making sure that everyone involved is fully prepared for the program is vital. At Insala, our experts provide mentoring training for mentors, mentees, managers and administrators alike, so that everyone involved can get the most out of the mentoring program.
  6. Do enforce mentee-driven partnerships in your program.
    A common misperception within many organizations is that mentors should drive meetings and conversations. Mentees that are motivated to drive their own development will benefit much more from the program than mentees that rely on their mentors to tell them how to develop.
  7. Do adapt program management practices as your mentoring program’s needs change.
    As your mentoring program grows and evolves, monitor the program regularly to note whether you need to change or improve certain aspects. For example – if your program has grown quickly and there are too many participants to manage manually, consider using mentoring software to facilitate the program, automate processes and save time.
To view and hear stories of real companies and individuals who learned these valuable lessons from experience, view a recording of our previous webinar, “7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Mentoring Program", at www.mentoringtalent.com/webinars.

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