How to Successfully Implement a Mentoring Program in Your Company

A good mentoring relationship brings a host of benefits to both the mentor and the mentee. This explains why businesses are trying to expand mentoring in their organizations. However, an effective mentoring program requires more than a commitment from the mentors and the mentees. Let’s discuss how to successfully implement a mentoring program in your company.

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Know What Your Company Expects to Get Out of Mentoring

Good corporate mentoring programs have a clearly defined purpose for both the company and the participants. A good place to start is to identify skills gaps in the business. Then look for people willing to mentor and train those who need to develop those skills. Another approach is using mentoring to transfer knowledge across departments and teams. This creates true cross-functional communication and leadership. This overarching goal will determine who is recruited as a mentor and who is assigned a mentor.

Have Specific Goals for Participants

Set clear and measurable objectives for both mentoring pairs and the company. It might be improving sales figures for mentees, seeing higher customer satisfaction ratings for service personnel or improved productivity for team members. When a mentee has met these objectives, they can graduate from the mentoring relationship. Whether they become a mentor or the mentor moves on to the next student, depends on them. On a corporate level, set goals such as increased retention, higher productivity, and better cultivation of in-house talent that will eventually be promoted.

Be Careful Matching Mentors and Mentees

This is a complex area, and it often creates problems. Don’t match people based only on skill sets and skill deficits. Try to match people with similar interests, compatible personalities, and complementary skills. Whether the organization assigns mentors or mentees choose their own, give people as much information as possible so they can find a compatible match.

Communicate Your Expectations for the Mentoring Relationship to Participants

A mentoring relationship is a relationship in all senses of the word. Set expectations for the mentors and the students at the start of the program. How often are mentors and mentees supposed to meet? How often will you collect feedback from participants? What are the recommended channels of communications for mentors and mentees? What will the mentorship relationship focus on when teaching a particular skill or cultivating soft skills? Is it for a specific time frame, a particular project or a day to day relationship until someone is ready to be promoted?

All parties involved need to know what is expected of them. You can also avoid bitterness and resentment when mentees know that the mentoring relationship teaches them leadership skills but doesn’t guarantee a promotion.

What Gets Measured Gets Managed

You cannot manage what you do not measure, and you have no way of gauging performance unless you’re tracking metrics. Study the metrics of those who are being mentored. Data analysis could determine who your best mentors are and allow you to determine best practices that could be replicated across the organization.

You also need to gauge the mentoring relationships themselves. Seek regular feedback from participants to determine how they feel about the mentors throughout the relationship. Better yet, have someone in charge of the mentoring program that all parties know will listen if they report issues.

Conclusion

These tips can help you set up an effective, successful mentoring program. This will improve the productivity, morale, and employee retention in the organization for relatively little cost.

Adam Torkildson