Offering a mentoring program in your organization can have an extremely positive impact in your business. Mentoring may boost employee satisfaction and retention, enhance new-employee initiation, make your company more appealing to potential employees, increase diversity and train your next generation of leaders.
And the numbers don’t lie. According to the Association for Talent Development1, corporate mentoring is on the rise with 71 per cent of Fortune 500 companies offering professional mentoring programs to their employees.
So, what makes a mentoring program successful and how can you ensure that success?
This one is common sense. Determine why your organization is doing a mentoring program and what you want to get out of it. This should be aligned with your organization mission, vision, goals, values and overall strategy. For SRC, our mentoring program’s why is connected directly to our Mission of embracing “our safe, creative and diverse work environment, which enables us to excel personally and professionally.”
This needs to come from various people: management, employees, external stakeholders, partners, program mentors and mentees. Support and commitment can lag over time, but new faces and fresh ideas and can help the program stay exciting and keep people engaged and committed.
Intentional Program Design
Every aspect of your program should align with your strategic purpose. Consider things like:
- What does success look like for participants and the organization?
- What is your end goal? Is it employee retention, a more diverse and inclusive employee base, employee engagement, recruitment?
- Who should be involved in the program?
Strong Guidance & Communication
Communication is the foundation of any strong relationship – including mentoring relationships. The Program Manager should be involved in helping matches create goals and action plans, offer regular training and team building opportunities and communicate frequently with participants at regular checkpoints throughout the life of the program. Offer ideas for mentoring activities and suggest additional training through webinars, podcasts and white papers.
Early Targeted Training
Providing this to both the mentors and the mentees sets expectations from day one. It provides them with the basic tools they will need to have a successful mentoring relationship. Training should ensure participants understand the purpose, needs, benefits and outlook for the program, along with their respective roles and responsibilities.
For SRC’s mentoring program, we’ve focused our promotion on three main ideas: working with program champions or ambassadors, highlighting the mentoring successes that have come from our program and offering our participants something others cannot. Narrowing the focus of our promotion down to three strategic ideas has allowed our program to successfully reach our target audience in a short amount of time.
Ensuring a strong match between mentors and mentees is integral to the success of a program, but matching is also often one of the most challenging aspects of a program. A match should be based on the skills of the mentor and the needs of the mentee. You can’t do this unless you get to know your potential matches. The more you know about your participants, the better chance your participants will have for a great fit and a happy, productive mentoring relationship. SRC’s program has included both our potential mentors and mentees in the matching process, resulting in better aligned matches and more engaged participants.
It’s important to monitor, track and measure the results of the program against the program objectives. Measurement and improvement should be an ongoing part of the program. Some questions to consider:
- Are you meeting your overall program goals?
- What percentage of goals set during the mentorships have been achieved?
And perhaps most importantly, what changes need to take place to ensure continued success?
About SRC’s Aboriginal Mentorship Program (AMP)
SRC is proactively recruiting students for our Aboriginal Mentorship Program (AMP). The program aims to connect Aboriginal post-secondary students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines with SRC mentors in the same or similar disciplines to help them take their education and experience to the next level.
AMP includes mentoring throughout the school year to help set students up for success, along with meaningful summer employment and opportunities to help students develop skills and gain work experience that will help them in their studies and future careers.
For more information, visit the AMP webpage.
Read more about our mentorship program from the perspective of former students:
- How Mentorship Provided the Next Level of Learning for an Engineering Student
- Plugging into AMP: Best Summer Job I've Ever Had
- The AMP Experience: Putting my academic knowledge to work
Source 1: Chronus Mentoring and Talent Development Solutions (SRC does not endorse or use this product.)