A company that focuses on the needs and growth of their employees is one that is more likely to retain quality people. One way many companies are looking to invest in their employees is with a mentoring program. When done correctly, designing and implementing such a program is a proven technique to increase job satisfaction.
Benefits of an effective mentoring program include:
- Increases in organizational commitment
- Increased job commitment
- Greater company loyalty
- Improved job performance
If starting an effective mentoring program is on your to-do list, then there are a few basic things that need to happen to get you started.
Establish the Purpose of your Mentoring Program
While it may seem like an easy solution to just pair people off and cross your fingers, there’s a great deal of planning that should go into an effective mentoring program. First, a reason or purpose for the mentoring program should be established. In order for employees to actively participate, they need to understand why the program is in place and how it benefits them and the company. When employees see the value in the program, they are much more likely to invest in it.
Purpose Driven Results
Have a goal in mind for your mentoring program that benefits mentor, mentee and the company at large. A purpose driven or goal-oriented program has a much higher chance of success because everyone will be working toward that same goal. The boat ride is smoother when we all row together in the same direction.
In an effective mentoring program, it’s important to know your employees’ strengths and personalities in order to pair or group them effectively. Two marketing wizards won’t necessarily make the best mentor/mentee relationship, as they may not have much to learn from one another. But if there’s too large of a gap between the mentor knows and what the mentee needs to learn, both can become fatigued with the process before the desired results are achieved.
Also, make a decision early on whether or not participation in a mentoring program is optional for new or existing employees. An unwilling participant can negatively impact the whole process.
It’s important to stress that the mentoring program is reciprocal in nature. No “expert” truly exists. Instead, two people with different strengths share what they can with one another so that they both can gain training in different areas. No one wants to be condescended to by being the perpetual mentee; allow the process to ebb and flow as needed for various projects.
Pairs to consider:
- Established employee and new hire
- Millennials and Gen Xers (or any generational gap)
- Interdepartmental pairs
- Cross-departmental pairs
- Customer service representative and non-customer relations employees
The possibilities are truly endless, but will require some forethought and planning. This pairing for the best outcome is a step that simply cannot be glazed over.
Here’s a link that explains which relationships work the best in a mentoring relationship and why: We Studied 100 Mentor-Mentee Matches — Here’s What Makes Mentorship Work.
Preparation is Key
Mentoring programs don’t just happen and should not be started haphazardly. A significant investment in training, designing, and implementing is needed for success. Although it may seem daunting, the results when done well are well worth the effort.
For more detailed information about how to start a mentoring program, see the links below:
- How to Start a High-Impact Mentoring Program
- Implementing a Mentoring Program at Your Office: The Basics, by Caroline Whitney
- How to Build a Successful Employee Mentoring Program, by Rick Gibbs
And for a comprehensive list of benefits for individuals from mentoring, check out this link: 25 Benefits of Mentoring.