How to Start a Mentoring Program for Your Organization

Mentoring programs have become an essential part of an organization's talent development strategy. The benefits of implementing a mentoring program, including the potential ROI, are enticing organization's around the world to take a closer look at how to start a mentoring program. The best place to start is by building a mentoring plan.

Planning is an important part of starting any new business strategy within your organization, including a mentoring program. There have been many organizations in the past that have started a mentoring program with no plan and more times than not, these programs have been unsuccessful.

If you are looking to implement a long-term, successful mentoring program for your organization, we encourage you to follow these 6 steps.

Step 1: Determine Your Organizations Objectives

You must figure out what your organization’s objectives are for your mentoring program. One of the best ways to do this is to choose a group of leaders within your organization to determine what needs you have for this program. When discussing your potential objectives, some of the questions you should ask include:

  • Are you looking to improve your succession pipeline?

  • Are you trying to increase employee retention?

  • Is employee engagement slowly declining?

These are all valid reasons to implement a mentoring program and they also tell you what the focus of that program should be. Once you figure out what your organization needs, your objectives will fall into place. These objectives will need to be at the forefront of every decision you make throughout this process.

Step 2: Choose a Mentoring Program

Before implementing a mentoring program, you must choose what type of program is right for your organization.

Choosing your mentoring program will be based on the objectives that you have defined in Step 1. If your objectives were to increase retention rates you would likely be interested in a mentoring program to develop your employee’s careers. If you want to focus on improving your succession pipeline you would need mentoring that is focused on developing your leaders.

Aside from finding the focus of the program, you will also need to decide how mentoring will take place. Your organizations capabilities will determine whether you should choose to take the more traditional approach with face-to-face mentoring or a more modern approach with virtual mentoring. Doing some research on different ways to implement mentoring will help your participants be successful.

Read our blog on Creating a Mentoring Program for Career Development.

Step 3: Identify Who Will Participate

Based on the type of mentoring program you choose, it will either be inclusive or exclusive.

Having an inclusive program may seem like more work, but it allows all your employees to have the opportunity to be a part of the mentoring program. It also gives you a bigger pool to match from.

An exclusive program, such as leadership development, it is best to have your team of leaders decide who will be invited to participate. The team will need to create a list of competencies and determine who they believe will succeed in developing these competencies.

Step 4: Choose the Mentor Matching Method

After choosing who will be participating in the program, you must decide how your mentors and mentees will be matched. The matching approach taken is usually determined by:

  • The number of mentors and mentees enrolled

  • The type of participants involved

  • The overall objectives of the mentoring relationships

Three examples of types of matching are Mentee Self-Matching, Hybrid Matching, and Administration Lead Matching.

While Mentee Self-Matching is the most common, there are instances when another form of matching is better suited for an organization. Matching should be facilitated through mentor matching software.

Step 5: Define Expectations for All Participants

Don't assume that your participants will know exactly how mentoring works, because that’s usually not the case. It's important that you take the time to define the expectations of the program as well as the expectations for each role. This can be best done by training your mentors, mentees, and their managers.

Mentor and mentee training will increase the success rate of the mentoring relationships. This is why is important to ensure that everyone involved is full prepared.

Step 6: Develop a Long-Term Communication Plan

A long-term communications plan is essential to the success of your program. With this plan in place you are assured that you will be communicating with participant before and throughout their relationship. This continued communication is especially important as it will increase accountability for participants.

A great way to establish long-term communication is to create checkpoints throughout the program. Through these checkpoints you can engage participants and access how their relationship is progressing. The information gathered will give you an idea of who needs continued training to develop a successful mentoring relationship.

We Are Here to Help You

At Insala, we are not only able to help you start a mentoring program, but we can also provide you with the tools to make it successful.Our web-based mentoring software is interactive, user-friendly, and cutting-edge. By implementing this mentoring software, you are able to:

  • Streamline all of your administrative tasks within a single system

  • Enhance the experience of the mentors and mentees in your program

  • Gain access to our state-of-the-art mentoring reporting tool

Success Stories

Insala helped address some of the key challenges we faced at Unilever, which is virtual mentoring, as many of our mentees and mentors are not in the same geographic location. Insala's mentoring consultant, Judy Corner, is a true mentoring specialist and a highly engaging individual.

Katherine Ray

Our pilot Mentoring programme using the Insala platform has been well received by our participants and has given our Mentees the tools to chose an appropriate Mentor to meet their own specific development and career needs. Organisationally the portal is encouraging networking and collaboration across both business lines and functions and locations. The Insala team are professional, pragmatic and agile and have worked closely with us to deliver our pilot programme to meet our business needs

Julie Aspinall
Societe Generale

I worked with Judy Corner of Insala to develop a customized mentoring program for International Paper. Judy provided a degree of confidence to the Chairman's Diversity Council as she presented a pragmatic, visionary, long term perspective on the benefits to be gained from Insala's program. Following the M.O.R.E. workshop, participants were surveyed on session effectiveness and Insala received a 100% favorable rating on the value of the day. I highly recommend Insala and believe they offer a distinct advantage to companies looking to advance their position in the ongoing war for talent.

Cheryl Kern

As part of a talent management initiative, United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU), partnered with Insala to provide high potential/high performing staff with a structured vehicle to develop their career goals. From the onset, the Insala team provided exceptional client service, ensuring UNFCU had knowledgeable technical resources at its disposal throughout the implementation of its Career Development portal. Insala's partnership with UNFCU has directly impacted its ability to solidify an effective succession planning program and retain our high potential/high performing talent.

Carlene Alexander

Insala provided a global online solution which helped align our business strategy with our management needs for the future. With their product, we were able to understand our skill gaps and develop our future leaders with the findings. This solution took one hour for an employee to complete, eliminated drawers of paperwork, and provided upper management instant visibility on our progress.

Rick Huntley

ACCA aims to provide our 110,000 members and 260,000 students with direct access to the most exciting and rewarding job opportunities currently available in the world of business and finance. Our online Career Management Resources, available through ACCA Careers, is powered by EmploymentTalk™ and allows our members, students and affiliates to use their time both efficiently and effectively on critical career development activities, while EmploymentTalk™ organizes and plans the route to career success.

Heather Morris

Our partnership with Insala has allowed us to offer an entirely new service to our job seekers, which helps prepare them for getting their next job. The assessments and career advice tools offered through our site continue to be successful, and the seamless support provided has proven very efficient. Insala consistently responds in a swift fashion whenever we need assistance, and continues to provide us with a very professional service.

Marcy Richardson

This past winter was definitely remarkable. We found that the E-mail Broadcaster function is the easiest and fastest way to reach all our candidates to inform them of any changes in our office hours - including having to close due to inclement weather, delayed openings, or early closure. Additionally, we use this function to promote our seminars and workshops, and the career coaches can reach all of their candidates in one simple email. This tool is a tremendous asset.

Antoinette Murray
The Schegg Group

We first started using EmploymentTalk™ in our practice in 2001, and have stuck with it ever since. What spurred us to stay on was both the professionalism and responsiveness of the Insala team, as well as the regular software upgrades we received, which ensured we had a cutting edge tool at any given time. Today, EmploymentTalk™ enables us to deliver a longer duration of outplacement services and thereby exceed our clients' expectations. As more and more organizations look to provide cost-effective, efficient and high-impact outplacement, we are able to meet their needs.

Len Rishkofski

This is a fantastic product that will really help our workforce. The Insala team has done a great job maximizing the application capabilities and tailoring it to help our diverse workforce in transition. They've demonstrated a true partnership in providing us with expert assistance, met our special needs, and done so in a timely and cost effective manner.

Len Martinez
Kaiser-Hill Company, LLC

Insala has excelled as a global technology partner to our organization. Insala is not only a provider and implementer of superior career management technology, but a constant and reliable source of ideas and best practices in our industry. Having Insala as a strategic partner has enabled our organization to provide superior, seamless career management and transition services to corporate clients worldwide, and has positioned OI Partners as a global leader in the delivery of career transition services.

Joy Reed Belt, Ph.D.
OI Partners, Americas

Our candidates are just blown away by the amount of research they get on specific companies and industries. Their ability to get REALLY good information, and MUCH MORE information than they typically could get on their own, and have it presented so quickly and effectively, is very powerful. It gives us a big sales and marketing advantage.

Kathleen Brown
King & Bishop

Insala performed very well in creating our new corporate website. I was really pleased with the design options they offered. In addition, Insala representatives were wonderful to work with, responding quickly to our needs and delivering solutions in a very timely manner.

Dr. Pamela Johnson
Nia Consulting & Development

One way in which we demonstrate our commitment to employees is to provide opportunities for them to develop; mentoring is an important component of employee development in North America. Insala supported us in leveraging formal mechanisms and provided us best practices to launch a sustainable mentor program. The MORE Workshop was our pivotal starting point, strategizing with stakeholders to build a practical plan for implementation including communication, training, metrics, and more. The outcome has been a clear benefit for participants and for Solvay.

Kelly Bessler


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