How to Ensure a Successful Corporate Mentoring Program

January 18, 2011
Today, best-in-class organizations understand the benefits of corporate mentoring programs, but many organizations get “cold feet” when they think about how to manage a program successfully. As mentoring is a seemingly abstract activity within the ever-abstract realm of employee development, how do HR and other business leaders ensure that your valuable mentoring programs are truly as successful as they can be?

Judy Corner, Mentoring Subject Matter Expert at Insala, offers these suggestions on how to do it:

  1. Define specific measurements for program success
    As the old saying goes, “if you can’t measure something, you can’t manage it.” In order to set proper success measurements, it’s critical to understand exactly what your organization’s objectives are, and exactly how your mentoring program will be instrumental in accomplishing one or more of those objectives. Then, very importantly - document program metrics from the point of view of three separate stakeholders: the mentees, the mentors, and your organization overall. This way, when your mentees and mentors are successful, you know that your organization will also be successful. For organizations that are really serious about gleaning the benefits of mentoring, building a strong business case for mentoring is critical. At Insala, our mentoring readiness workshop assists your organization in defining appropriate metrics and setting your programs up for success.

  2. Obtain qualified and well-trained mentors
    Good mentors are naturally the bread and butter of your mentoring program. But what makes a mentor “good”? Two things - qualification and training. First, create a role profile outlining a mentor’s required competencies and the responsibilities she will take on. Next, qualify and select suitable mentors based on the competency profile you create. Third, provide competency assessments to your mentors to identify their areas of expertise, which they can then impart onto their mentees. Finally, provide mentoring training that prepares both mentors for the role they will play in the program and partnership.

  3. Ensure the best possible mentor-mentee matches
    Last but not least – your mentoring program will be well on its way to success if your participant pairs work seamlessly together to achieve personal and program goals. To generate effective mentor-mentee matches, you’ll need to pair individuals based on at least 3-4 key criteria such as job function, location, and skills/competencies that can be exchanged. If you’re planning a smaller mentoring program, you should be fine matching and pairing by hand or using a spreadsheet. But if you have a program with 100 participants or over, implement a technology tool that automates and accelerates the matching process – enabling you to save valuable time while enhancing program capacity and pairing success. Insala provides mentoring software that facilitates efficient and ideal matching and pairing for larger mentoring programs.

To learn more about how to ensure a successful mentoring program at your organization, view our mentoring webinars.

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