Designing a Mentoring Program for Onboarding

August 06, 2019

Traditional onboarding programs can leave a lot to be desired. You’ve been there – the paperwork, the rushed office tour, the introductions.

You may feel like nothing was done besides the tax forms. You may be right, because 58% of organizations report their onboarding program consists only of processes and paperwork. With this approach, new hires struggle to catch up in their new roles and the company loses time and money.

 mentoring progrm for onboarding

Because a lot is lost with a poor approach to onboarding, a lot can be gained with a great approach. Hiring research shows that employee retention can be improved by 82% with a great onboarding program. This means that a more formalized onboarding process should be implemented.

To capitalize on the benefits of a great onboarding process, organizations should consider designing a mentoring program that improves onboarding.

What is Mentoring to Improve Onboarding

It’s important to note first that a mentoring program that improves onboarding is different than a buddy system. The main function of the mentor will differ depending on the business objectives.

Mentoring for onboarding should give the new hire the necessary tools to function well within the organization quickly. The mentor should also begin to promote a great employee experience early on. New hires that don’t have a positive experience during onboarding are twice as likely to start job searching immediately.

Engaging new hires and helping them become more productive should be the basis for designing a mentoring program that improves onboarding.

Benefits of Mentoring for Onboarding

When designed correctly, mentoring for onboarding has a ton of benefits for everyone involved. Here are a few examples:

Benefits for the Mentee

  • Successful integration with the existing organization
  • Increased self-confidence in their ability to fulfill a new job
  • Learn missing skills and through mentor knowledge and expertise
  • Ready for employee development

Benefits for the Mentor

  • Discover fresh ideas through the new hire
  • Receive positive recognition and reinforcement from new hire mentees

Benefits for the Organization

  • Adopt the new hire into the company culture
  • Inspire employee loyalty
  • Increase speed to productivity
  • Protect recruiting investment
  • Improve employee engagement

Steps to Designing Your Mentoring Program 

The onboarding process is critical for any organization. It’s important to plan ahead and be prepared before the new hire walks through the door.

So how do you go about designing a mentoring program that will improve onboarding?

Here are 7 steps you can take:

1. Determine your onboarding objectives. There are many possible objectives for your organization’s onboarding. Some options include new employee guidance, increased retention, and decreased time to productivity. Lay out your goals and objectives early to guide you to the next steps. 

2. Choose a criterion to match your mentors and mentees. These criteria should align with your business objectives for onboarding. Some examples are number of years in the organization, business function, career level, skill and competencies, and location. 

3. Determine at what point during onboarding the mentor should be introduced. Not all business objectives require the mentor to be introduced as soon as the new hire arrives. For example, employee skill development could benefit from the introducing the mentor after the new hire has already started the job. This will give them time to get their feet wet and come up with questions. Other objectives, such as quick acclimation to company culture, need the mentor to be introduced at the beginning. This will provide necessary support from the start.

4. Consider group mentoring with mass onboarding. When there are many new hires, you can implement group mentoring to optimize the process. This means fewer mentors are needed, as groups can share similar experiences and questions with the mentor. New hires can also mentor each other, promoting team building with the group.

5. Make information accessible online. Online learning is very popular today. Providing some onboarding information online with mentoring software can help your new hires get started. It will ensure that the mentees are able to find information on their mentor. They will also have access to information about their new job role and their role as a mentee.

6. Gather information and feedback. It’s important to measure mentoring success. You want to compare your mentoring outcomes with your business objectives for the program. Using mentoring software to gather feedback will allow you report on results and track the success of your program. This information will be useful for you to show to stakeholders. 

7. Use mentoring software. Mentoring software can facilitate mentoring for onboarding. The right mentoring software…

  • Includes matching and pairing applications
  • Decreases the amount of time and labor required for program administration
  • Provides tools and resources for participants 


Insala is a leading global provider of mentoring, career development, and career transition solutions for organizations of all types and sizes. For more information, request a demo today.

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