Starting a formal mentorship program can be a real boon to your employee engagement. Among other benefits, it shows your team members that you have a serious investment in their professional development; you’re eager for them to grow in skill and in confidence.
Yet not every workplace mentorship program achieves this end. As you design a formal mentoring structure, it’s important to do so thoughtfully and strategically. Here are some ways to do that.
Tips for Designing an Effective Mentorship Program
Look at the big picture. What are you actually trying to achieve through your mentorship program? And, what metrics will you use to evaluate your success? If you don’t answer these questions from the outset, it can be hard to maintain enthusiasm for your mentorship program—or to see it as a success. Some good, bottom-line business goals you might pursue: Increase employee engagement numbers; improve retention; or see an uptick in women and people of color advancing into leadership roles.
Focus on relationships. You’ll need positive mentor/mentee matches for your program to get results; that’s because having a trust-based relationship is central to the mentoring process. So how will you determine these matches? There are different schools of thought here, including self-matching (employees choose these relationships) and administrative matching (a manager or HR leader picks the groupings). There is no one right answer. It’s simply about picking the model that best fits your business. For instance, if your employees show a real interest in the program but want mentors who align with certain career goals, you’ll likely want to give them a say in the matching.
Provide training. Your mentors will need direction—some practical tools they can use to ensure they’re imparting value and knowledge. And, mentees will benefit from training, too, ensuring they know how to get the most out of the process. Make training one of the bedrocks of your mentorship program.
Market it. You can’t assume that people will line up for your mentorship program just because it’s there. You’ve got to pitch it to them. Market the program internally, clarifying what the program is and what you hope to achieve through it. Really play up the benefits of being a mentor or a mentee. Additionally, the mentorship program can be used as a recruiting tool to attract high caliber candidates.
Set Yourself Up for Successful Mentoring
There’s a lot to think about—but taking a strategic approach can ultimately be rewarding. And it’s not something you have to do alone; at Loeb Leadership Development Group, we’re advocates for mentorship programs, and would love to talk with you more about your program’s design needs. Reach out to us today to set up a consultation.