You may be reading this and thinking, “nobody at our business has time for mentoring.” You may have a mentoring program and be saying to yourself, “we have something that works just fine; we don’t need to change it.” Or you could be writing off mentoring because “we tried a mentorship program and nobody participated.”
If any of this sounds like you, read on, because mentoring has changed in recent years as a new generation of workers has come into the workforce. Mentorship is no longer just a nice thing to offer your employees—it is crucial to attracting top talent and convincing them to stick around. Employees want development opportunities now more than ever and your mentorship program must compete with other organizations that take this to heart.
In my experience as a learning program manager, a formal mentorship program can have a positive influence on employee engagement, resulting in improved employee retention, more successful recruiting and even increased company performance. A good mentorship program touches all aspects of your business. It affects your culture, productivity, innovation and, eventually, your bottom line.
I ask you to strongly consider building a mentorship program or taking a look at how you can enhance the one you have. Here are seven things to keep in mind as you do.
When creating and implementing your mentorship program, you’ll want to keep your organization’s mission, vision and goals top-of-mind. The strategy of your mentorship program should be to develop the behavior in your participants that produces the results your company is working toward. All mentorship activities should support this strategy.
For instance, if your company’s mission is to “design the most innovative and reliable mobile devices on the market,” your mentorship program and action plans should include activities that allow mentees to take part in innovative thinking, creativity, attention to detail and calculated risk-taking. This way, you are mentoring your employee to be even more successful at contributing to your core business.
If you want to nurture a culture of transparency, for example, your mentorship program should reflect that transparency through essentials like open discussions, shared experiences and open door environments.
A good mentor is someone who is strong in the skills necessary for success in both your industry and your company. For instance, if you own a chain of car dealerships, a great mentor may be someone who is skilled with sales, knowledgeable about the product and passionate about developing others.
Mentorship models can be formal, such as one-on-one meetings that happen at prescribed intervals over a certain period of time (sometimes up to a year) or they can be done more informally, in a group setting or for a very brief period.
Make sure you check in regularly with participants and even offer some incentives for both the mentor and the mentee (a small gift card or a lunch celebration, for example) for meeting their mentoring goals.
Renowned business training expert Donald Kirkpatrick recommends four levels of evaluation in order to gain a full assessment of a program. You can implement these four levels in the following way.
If you have questions about how to get started in creating a winning mentorship program that allows you to take your company to the next level, your HR services provider can help.
This communication is for informational purposes only; it is not legal, tax or accounting advice; and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance.
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