Establishing A Mentoring Program That Works

Business process management automation workflowWhat exactly is a mentor in business these days? Mentoring at work is an effective way of helping people to progress further in their chosen careers. It is a partnership between two people, the mentor and the mentee. Usually, the two people work in a similar field or share similar experiences. It is a helpful relationship based upon mutual trust, respect and understanding.

Organisations that put their employees top of the agenda are increasingly seeing the benefits of instigating more formal mentoring programs.

Whereas informal mentoring tends to focus on generic assistance dictated by the situation team members are facing currently, more formal programs emphasise more specific objectives and aim at more measurable impacts, like employee engagement and reducing staff turnover.

It doesn’t have to be a large program, and it can be limited in time, but the greater formality gives it more importance in people’s eyes.

Such programs typically aim to support team members who are new to their role or have a specialised part to play in a company. Especially if you feel the employee has a greater part to play in the success of the company in the future, a mentoring program can assist in the development of team members as they are fast-tracked to higher positions.

What are some of the factors needed to make a mentor program succeed?

Here are some tips:

  1. Develop simple criteria for eligibility to participate in such a program
  2. Designate the best number of mentees per mentor
  3. Agree whether mentees should choose their mentors or vice versa
  4. Establish the ground rules so everyone is aware of their responsibilities
  5. Set time limits, so everyone is working towards specific goals
  6. Put a program together to train mentors on their roles and responsibilities

What actions need to take place for a mentoring program to take shape and work effectively?

  1. Mentors should assist in developing specific goals for the mentorship with the mentee
  2. Create agreements between the mentor and the line manager as to the session timings and duration
  3. Identify the role that the mentor will play in the sessions and choose which would be most effective at which time
  4. The mentor could be a coach, motivator, guide, counsellor, role model and networker
  5. Arrange specific meeting times and stick to them as rigorously as possible. Cancelling meetings diminishes the importance of the mentee’s career prospects
  6. Ensure each meeting has a specific goal, is recorded and is used as a motivational session for both mentor and mentee

It’s important that any mentor program is structured effectively to meet the requirements of both the mentee and the company. As old-fashioned hierarchical systems are being eroded, the idea and concept fo mentorships are gaining popularity, and the benefits you will see gained will help all facets of development.

By setting short and long-term goals for mentees, you show the value you place on them for their future and encourage them to be more engaged as they see your company offering opportunities for their career advancement that might not be available in other companies

Thanks again

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training | Management Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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