How to Build a Mentoring Program
By Aiesha Bristol
Successful businesses prioritize measuring the return of investment on their time, human resources, and dollars spent. From years of engaging with and developing mentoring programs, we know about the far-reaching, long-lasting positive impact mentorship can have within an organization. While mentorship requires some upfront work, learning how to build a mentoring program is worth the personal and professional rewards this unique development style pays.
In support of fostering mentorship best practices and bringing awareness to this meaningful model of professional development, we are proud to share the approaches to facilitating authentic connections and collaborations within your workplace.
How Do I Start a Mentorship Program?
1. Understand Your Company’s Needs
Look at your organization’s strategic plan to understand how mentorship can serve your short- and long-term goals. First, decide your key objectives, such as leadership development or improved workplace communication, and this frame of reference will help anchor your mentorship program, regardless of how it grows. When structured properly, mentorship can address these foundational business goals, whether you are looking to foster skill-building or raise company morale and retention.
2. Ensure Participants are Invested in Mentorship
To stir up enthusiastic participation within your mentorship program, it’s important your team members genuinely want to take part. By ensuring you understand what individuals see as meaningful and communicating how mentorship will help them achieve those personal and shared goals, you will increase the likelihood that your mentorship program will be successful.
3. Define the Goals of the Mentorship Program
If you truly understand why you are creating a mentorship program, it will be much easier to determine how fully it has delivered on those goals. For example, if employee satisfaction is your top concern, you can conduct a pre-and post-program survey to garner how participation influences morale. Alternatively, if your key area of focus is skill building, you can set up a measurement program with KPIs that reflect this to look at how mentorship influenced learning. Strategic measurement will allow you to clearly see how effective your programming is, so you can adapt toward improvement and communicate success to further increase participation.
Designing & Implementing your Mentorship Program
Structure Your Program to Align with the Company Culture
After you have established the goals of your mentorship program and have a firm grasp of how best to communicate its appeal, you can get into the nuts and bolts of building the structure of your initiative. When doing this, ensure the program aligns with your company culture and reflects your current operational model. If your company is fairly flexible and your team members engage in a hybrid work model, it only makes sense that they will also be able to participate in a virtual mentorship program that flexes around their schedules and interests.
Match Mentors and Mentees
Designing your mentorship program will also require a clear understanding of how best to match participants. Again, gaining feedback on preferences could be useful here. Weighing your organizational goals against your workplace culture and preferred methods of engagement will reveal to you whether a “speed dating” model of mentorship, group mentorship or the traditional one-on-one model of mentorship may be best.
Communicate Expectations of the Mentorship Program
However you decide to approach your company’s mentorship program, be sure to communicate your expectations with your team members clearly. Ensuring they understand the time commitment, goals and expectations will be key in attracting people to the program and increasing the likelihood they follow through with the engagement.
Partner with Learn2 to Develop a Successful Mentorship Program
Rather than guessing which approaches will best serve your company’s strategic goals and align with your culture, work with our team at Learn2 to pull from decades of professional development experience. Our leadership specialists can not only advise you on how best to align expectations, but we can take care of all the most time-consuming components of building and promoting the program. This will allow your leadership team to focus on everything else that keeps you busy without sacrificing the quality of your new/renewed approach to mentorship.
Reach out to our Learn2 professional development coaches today, and let’s establish how best to bring the powerful positivity of mentoring into your workplace. Together, we can revitalize your team members and encourage creativity, critical thinking and upward mobility.
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