How should you Structure your Mentor Program

Posted by Kim Wise on Fri, Jun 12, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” - Benjamin Franklin

Mentoring programs enable organizations to engage employees, create company diversity, aid recruitment and boost retention rates. They allow employers to tap into the knowledge and experience of existing employees and to leverage this to develop new employees.

There are multiple ways to structure a mentoring program. The right structure depends on your company culture and on the goals you want to achieve.

Program Goals

The first step is to isolate the objectives of your mentoring program. You may need to conduct a survey of your organization to define goals, but likely you already have a good idea of what you want to accomplish. Should the mentoring program focus on developing new leaders, assisting junior employees to be more productive or retaining existing talent? Maybe there are multiple goals you’d like to tackle?

For example, let’s say your company has taken on a new group of employees and there isn’t time for the company to send them to an outside training program to get them up to speed. A mentoring program can pair these new employees with more experienced professionals within the organization. Concurrent to working, employees can be shown the ropes and grooved in by professionals already experienced within the organization and talent can be boosted.

The program should have guidelines and procedures laying out goals and practices so everyone involved knows what to do.

Matching

This is the MOST important part of a mentoring program. You must be able to successfully match and pair up mentors with mentees so they are able to work well together. This is best done under the guidance of a professional experienced in mentoring. Carefully done, matching can lay the groundwork for an extremely successful mentoring program. Done wrong, and you could find yourself dealing with internal strife.

The wrong way to go about this is to take all program participants, simply upload their identities and some basic information on who they are and click a button hoping some algorithm matches everyone perfectly. To match well, several tools need to be applied. Mentors and mentees should fill out applications and surveys designed to isolate personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, demographics, etc. Using this information, the matching process is easy. Things can also be set up where employees participating in the program are given several options of a mentor and they can choose who they would like to work with.

Program Format

Like a 3 Act Play, mentoring programs should have three essential parts: a beginning, a middle and an end.

The first steps are the preparation phase. In this phase, mentors and mentees should discuss their goals, how long they intend their relationship to last and what each wants to gain from the program. Goals should be documented.

The middle steps consist of action. Here, mentors and mentees work together to achieve the goals laid out in the preparatory steps. This should be supervised by an admin to make sure all is well. Meetings should be frequently and regularly held. Mentors provide feedback to mentees on how they are doing, tasks performed and guides them along to ensure all goals are set.

The end of the program should include an exit survey for each participant who finished the program. This information can be used to further develop employees and also used to tweak the mentoring program so it is even more effective in the future. Mentors and mentees should discuss what they each achieved and what the next steps should be.

Monitoring

Mentoring Programs need to be monitored. Software (like Wisdom Share provided by Mentor Resources) makes running a mentor program simple, but there will always need to be a human admin overseeing the program.

Software gives the admin the ability to see how many goals are being achieved, how satisfied participants are with interactions, how often mentors are meeting with mentees, etc. Surveys can also be used on a regular basis to check in on people and get their feedback mid the program. If there are points of stress or unhappiness these can be corrected. Conversely, positive factors gleaned from these surveys can be re-enforced throughout the program to boost results.

Analytics and measurements are also vital. For example, if one of the mentoring programs goals was to increase retention rates then the program needs proper analytics to ensure things are improving.

Mentor Resources can help any company to leverage technology to create tailored career development programs that are cost-effective. Our mentoring software - Wisdom Share is a cloud-based program that is simple and comes with guided workflows. Included are tools for administrators to attract, enroll, connect and guide participants. We also provide analytics to ensure you can monitor your employee development program and easily see ROI metrics.

Reach out to us today for Free Demonstration of our software.

 

Topics: Mentoring Best Practices, Mentoring, Mentoring and Engagement