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How to design a great mentoring program

 

Mentoring programs within companies have been proved to be a powerful tool to transmit valuable information to their employees and to make a significant impact, always with the purpose of retaining them.

The idea is to help your employees navigate through the company, boost their careers and therefore increase their participation and commitment towards the organization.

 

There are 5 stages that will help you structure a successful mentoring program:
1. Format design 
2. Select and match participants
3. Workflow definition
4. Follow up and measuring impact
5. End

Firstly, it’s important to determine the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of what you want to achieve with this mentoring program, and properly communicate its benefits to the organization. Keep in mind that it should cause an impact! Therefore it’s important to really know your target: what are their motivations? Where do they want to go? What are they improvement areas? And make them active participants by asking for their ideas and opinions.

The next most challenging aspect is to find the right mentor for each mentee and getting them onboard. A mentor should be someone that’s ready to teach (because they are usually busy people), with an open mind, experienced, flexible and most importantly trustworthy. Keep in mind that this person will be having open conversations with its mentee and therefore there shouldn’t be any retaliations.

Once you have your mentors trained, with its mentees matched, it’s when the real work begins.

Mentoring is all about exchange of information, ideas, experiences and advice, as well as setting up achievable challenges and goals within a specific time frame. For that reason, in order to have a productive program, the key action point that will help the mentoring program achieve its objective is to define how frequent the mentor and the mentee will be in contact. Make it part of their routines!

Consequently, planning is key, so design a diagram that shows a detail action plan, key activities and resources. Mentees and mentors must get together and compare results at least once a week or once a month (depending on the workflow) to evaluate the program and its achievements, as well as to propose adjustments in case it’s necessary.

As a follow up and expectations alignment, some of the questions that could be brought to the table are:
What benefits are we getting?
How is the mentor helping?
What changes have the mentor observed?
What changes have the mentee detected?
Are readjustments necessary?


As part of the mentoring program, there is the possibility that all mentees could be brought together in one or more sessions to share their experience and knowledge. There could even be a session where mentees encourage new ones to join the next one.

Lastly, successful mentoring programs should have a formal process of closure. It’s the perfect moment to make an honest and objective reflection on the accomplished, to discuss next careers steps within the organization, and to receive feedback from both mentor and mentee. This could be achieved through an open conversation or through a survey. This will help improve the program and make it a worthwhile common practice.

Writen by Corina Badell

 


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