How to start a mentoring program

 

Did you know that 70% of U.S. employees are “somewhat likely” to leave their current organization for one that invests in their career development? This shows that employee expectations are changing.

Employees want career development support and they want it from their employers. 

Many organizations are recognizing the value of investing in mentoring programs to develop their employees' careers. In fact, the majority of fortune 500 companies use mentoring programs to develop their workforce. Implementing a mentoring program is a great place to give employees what they are looking for.

 

Types of mentoring programs

 

When you begin planning to offer mentoring, it’s important to determine what type of program you will offer. Mentoring programs come in a variety of styles and their effectiveness depends on how you use them.

Traditional mentoring matches an experienced mentor to act as a guide to a less experienced mentee. Generally, mentors are senior employee than their mentee, but not always – modern forms of mentoring focus on experience rather than seniority.

However you choose to structure your mentoring program, make sure that it has a specific focus to achieve success. It’s important to determine the needs, goals and purposes of your organization’s mentoring program to choose the right type. Consider one of these popular types of mentoring programs:

  • Virtual – More employees are working remotely than ever before. With remote teams, organizations have a unique opportunity to offer a mentoring program supported by technology. Virtual mentoring programs enable flexibility in mentor and mentee relationships while building technological competencies as well.

  • Reverse – Like traditional mentoring, the mentor and mentee establish a relationship focused on reaching personal and professional benchmarks. However, in this type of mentoring, the mentor and mentee roles are reversed. The senior employee takes on the role of the mentee while the junior becomes the mentor. Reversing these roles empowers mentees to share expertise in areas like technology while the mentee learns closes their own skill gaps.

  • Diversity – Diversity mentoring is another powerful development tool for the workplace. Mentors and mentees can be matched by gender, ethnicity, or specific skills across the organization. This offers more options for relationship building, collaboration and interdepartmental knowledge sharing.

  • Career Development – All mentoring programs offer career development benefits, but this program identifies areas of improvement while tracking career goals. Mentors help mentees assess current competencies and help them develop skill sets to progress towards their next step.

 

Steps to create a mentoring program

 

Mentoring programs are a great asset to organizations. However, some organizations are deterred by implementing a formal mentoring program, because they do not know how to plan their program. We have you covered. Follow these 9 steps to create a mentoring program.

  1. Connect your program to organizational goals. Staying on track with the overall company vision is essential to creating a mentoring program that truly benefits the business. To create a mentoring program, you will need to align your program goals with the goals of your organization. For example, if your goal is to develop high-potential employees, you should launch a mentoring program for leadership development.
  1. Find an executive champion. You need a senior level executive to increase buy-in from stakeholders. This leader should sponsor, participate in, and promote your mentoring program to help increase participation and enthusiasm.
  1. Identify participants. Once you have identified your mentors, determine whether your program will be offered to specific participants, or more inclusive. You will want to decide on the type of participants to help you determine matching criteria.
  1. Promote your Mentoring Program. Now is the time to start thinking like a marketer. Craft a message to your organization and distribute it. This message should announce your program and generate excitement from potential participants. 
  1. Build your pool of qualified mentors. Once you have identified participants, you will need to get mentors signed up for your program. You can recruit mentors in several ways, including nominations from management, a request for volunteers, or an addition to manager responsibilities. Find your mentors first, to allow mentees to join a program that is already filled with mentors.
  1. Match your mentees and mentors. This is a critical step in the planning process and an area where the right software can improve your matches. Based on the criteria you established in the previous step, mentor and mentee matching should follow those guidelines. This increases the likelihood that their relationship will be successful.
  1. Train your participants. Once your participant have been matched, it’s important that you offer you offer them training. The training sessions should help your mentors and mentees understand their role, align program goals and objectives, and help participants become familiar with any tools or resources made available.
  1. Set Goals and Establish a Way to Track Program Success. You will need to track the success of your program, both at an organization level and at an individual level. Thought the program, you will need to measure how well your mentors and mentees are achieving the goals they set.
  1. Implement Mentoring Software. Utilizing technology to manage your mentoring program increases the likelihood of program success and reduces administrative headaches. Implement a mentoring software solution that allows you to streamline your processes and includes all the features your administrators and participants need to thrive.

 

Creating a mentoring program will impact and influence your people, and the organization as a whole. With mentoring program software, you can boost the success of your mentoring program from the start.

 

Ready to implement a mentoring program in your organization? Talk to one of our experts and schedule a demo today.

 

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