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How to Improve Your Financial Services Mentoring Program without Increasing HR's Burden
Do you have a mentoring program in place, and do you think it’s going well? Perhaps your mentees appear to be happy with the program and mentors are committed. However, could you improve your mentoring program and is now the time to review how it’s going and make some positive changes?
If you have a mentoring program in your financial services company, there are several ways you can improve your current program without giving your HR team an extra burden.
Does the financial services mentoring program design work?
As a reminder, when you set up your finance mentoring scheme you considered the following factors:
- Program objectives and success metrics
- Timelines and administration of the program
- Communication and marketing plans
- Possible challenges and solutions for the company, mentees and mentors
- Ongoing support, evaluation and engagement
- How software can support the program
As you review your current program and seek to improve it, all these factors must be reevaluated. If you didn’t consider or include some of these areas at first, it’s important to make time at the review stage to do so!
Does your mentoring program meet your original objectives?
When you review your financial services mentoring program, it’s worth going back to your original objectives for starting the initiative. Why did you set up a mentoring program and what were you hoping it would achieve for the company, mentees, and mentors? Once you identify the original goals you can test how close you are to achieving them.
And remember, change takes time, so if after six months or your mentoring pilot ends, the program isn’t perfect or hasn’t become part of the company culture, that's okay. What matters most is that you understand what could be improved and put in place actions to do so.
Consider the mentoring process
There are many benefits of a successful financial services mentoring program, but anytime you introduce a new program into your company, you need to review it. Ideally, you decide in the planning stage when you will review it, but don’t wait too long. If there are process or matching issues, it’s better to find out sooner rather than later.
And remember, every mentor and mentee pairing and relationship is unique. While you can set up efficient processes and technology to manage the program and allow it to run smoothly, every mentoring participant will bring different knowledge, personalities, expectations, and backgrounds; which should be encouraged!
Use mentoring software to save time
If you decided not to use mentoring software when you launched the program, it’s worth considering whether this is something you should invest in now. The right mentoring software will keep track of participant profiles, mentoring matches, and allow you to match mentees and mentors quickly and easily by career level or other criteria.
Software will save you time on administration and keep all information in one place for individuals to access easily.
Gain mentoring program feedback
Stay in touch with program participants! You wouldn’t run a training program over and over without gaining feedback. The same applies to your financial services mentoring program. When you ask for feedback ask for the positive aspects of the program as well as what improvements could be made. You need to understand what is working well and what areas need review.
However, this can be a time-consuming process if HR is responsible for collecting all feedback, especially in a large financial services mentoring program. Mentoring software reduces this burden by automating feedback collection at key points throughout the program.
Tell others about the mentoring successes
When you have gained feedback from participants at the end of a mentoring pilot or trial period, use it to communicate your successes to the rest of the company. It doesn’t have to be a time-consuming job, but to continue to gain company, mentor, and mentee buy-in, update your people on the program so far.
This might be in your internal newsletter, intranet updates, town hall meetings, or all staff updates. Additionally, HR can include information about the program during onboarding so that new recruits learn about the program when they start, and it becomes part of your company culture.
Is your mentoring program reflective of workplace changes?
With the pandemic and the rise of hybrid working, this change in work pattern is also something to consider in your mentoring program. According to Gartner, financial services employees don’t necessarily want to return to the old work pattern of full time in the office and they found that 60% say that a lack of flexibility in their role would impact whether they remain with their organization.
So, if your current mentoring program only focuses on face-to-face mentoring, then how are you being inclusive of those who work remotely? When you review your program, make sure you’re supporting remote employees and not just those in an office.
Does the training for mentees and mentors work?
This is another aspect of feedback you need to receive to understand how effectively the program is working. Assess the training mentors are given at the start when they join the program and review whether the training is specific enough or could be amended.
If you don’t have any training in place, make sure you start! If nothing else, all individuals need to understand their role in the program, what is expected of them, and how and when they should provide feedback.
Mentoring is a powerful and effective way to grow, develop and retain your talent. But to be truly successful, you must review your program and assess where improvements or changes can be made. Mentees and mentors need to provide feedback on their experience of the program so far including the application process, matching and training. Such feedback will support your company in shaping the future of your financial services mentoring program.
Judy is the Director of Consulting and Mentoring at Insala. She has over 30 years of experience providing customized human resources consulting services to medium to large organizations across a variety of industries. In the area of mentoring, Judy has designed and delivered workshops, training, and a complete mentoring methodology. Judy’s mentoring process is the foundation of Insala’s mentoring solution we know today. Her thought leadership articles have been published in journals such as The Diversity Journal and Industrial and Commercial Training and she has spoken at many conferences throughout her career.
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