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How to Start an Employee Mentoring Program In the Healthcare Industry
‘The key to the development of leaders for the healthcare professions is mentoring. Both leaders and mentors need to develop their own self-knowledge, strategic visions for their own careers, engage in risk-taking, express creativity through all aspects of their lives, feel inspired and inspire others.’
Every industry has been affected by the pandemic, but the healthcare industry has been constantly tested, has seen a lot of change, and will continue to be challenged by the pandemic long after it winds down. Those in the healthcare industry have undoubtedly experienced stress, financial and emotional strain during COVID 19, and in the US, 55% of frontline healthcare workers have reported burnout. Healthcare companies must continue motivating and rewarding their people and fighting to retain talent.
Could an employee mentoring program in your healthcare company be a way to improve the employee experience and engage your people?
Why is employee mentoring important in healthcare?
Mentoring is a brilliant way to develop the next generation of healthcare workers. Mentors can share their experience, ethics, values and learnings, and act as role models in a healthcare mentoring program. In addition, they can encourage their mentees and offer them the empathy and emotional support they may require in challenging times.
A successful mentoring program in healthcare can play a pivotal part in enhancing your workforce by providing multidisciplinary collaboration and engagement, learning and development opportunities, and skill development. And it’s not just carried out to help mentees develop professionally and personally; it also benefits healthcare mentors as it allows them to share their experience and develop others.
Where to begin when starting a mentoring program in the healthcare industry
If mentoring is something you want to implement at your healthcare company, there are some ways to do this well. Before you launch headfirst into an all singing and all dancing program, you need to consider some basics at the first stage:
+ What are you trying to achieve?
Make sure you understand what you want your mentoring program to achieve as a healthcare business. Consider the goals and objectives of the program and how it will serve the company (for example, are you trying to develop high potentials or new managers in the program or is it less specific?). A strategic plan will be catered to business needs, and there’s a high correlation between high planning and high success.
+ Assign a mentoring champion/s
Identify someone in the senior leadership team who is involved and committed to the program. They will be able to increase buy-in from others. Communication is central to a positive mentoring program, so the champion must be someone who has the time and enthusiasm to commit to the scheme and will actively engage others.
+ How will you measure success?
Consider how you will measure the program’s success by identifying success measures and how they will tell you if you’ve met the original program objectives. Ideally, use both quantitative and qualitative measures.
+ Do you have a budget?
A mentoring program doesn’t have to cost a lot, but it does cost in time as you will need people to volunteer to be mentors and mentees, and it will take time to plan, organize, implement, and evaluate the program. Consider your budget before you start because if you invest in technology to help run the program, you will save time on HR members having to do all the work that technology can do instead.
Review employee mentoring software options as the right technology can improve your matches. Mentoring experts should work with you to build a mentoring platform aligned to your business goals and tailored to your organization’s brand. Specific software (e.g., HRIS data feeds) can also speed up enrollment and improve the user experience.
+ Can you speak to others?
If you network in your industry (who doesn’t?), you can speak to other healthcare companies that run a mentoring program to see what has worked for them (and perhaps what hasn’t worked so well). And it doesn’t have to be in the same industry; if you have contacts in different sectors with successful programs, find out how they started.
+ Find your mentors
Ideally, identify who your mentors are and gain commitment from them before you find mentees. In your planning stage, you will have decided how to recruit mentors, for example, volunteers, nominations, certain levels of management etc. You can then select the mentees and begin the matching process based on the criteria you established in the planning stage.
+ How do you communicate the program?
You’ve planned the program thoroughly, but don’t forget to tell your people about it! Consider ways to communicate and market the program: what it offers, when it starts, and who will be involved. Try and use different forms of internal communication channels, including email, the intranet, Slack channels etc.
+ Train participants
After the matching process, ensure that all participants receive program training to know what to expect and have consistent messages. Training should include an overview of the program goals and objectives and introduce the timelines, tools and technology.
Once the program is at full speed, don’t forget to check how it’s going! How often you review the program will have been included in the planning stage, and you can also assess if this is the suitable timeframe for the mentoring program. You can track progress through specific software and review success at an individual mentoring partnership and company level.
The feedback and review stage can take a lot of work if you have an extensive program; that’s why software can be a time-saver to track, collate and assess progress.
Once you've reviewed the program and made the relevant changes or updates, the program should run without too much interaction from HR. However, this will depend on the software you use to track and manage the mentoring program and whether you use software at all! The right software will reduce administration tasks, keep information in one place that many individuals can access, and streamline the processes.
There are many reasons to start a mentoring program in the healthcare industry, and there are steps that you can follow to ensure you plan and implement the best possible program. Mentoring in healthcare provides mentees with guidance on effectively developing the skills required for the healthcare environment and develop future leaders. A successful mentoring program at your healthcare company helps retain and attract talent and is an excellent way to update individuals about developments and the latest updates in the healthcare sector.
For more information and ideas, check out our employee mentoring program software.
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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