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How to create a successful mentoring program

By 17/02/2017September 20th, 2021Management

Introducing a successful mentoring program into your company is an excellent way to enhance the performance of your employees and boost the collective skills of the workforce to create a more driven and efficient team. With successful mentoring programs in place employee satisfaction is heightened and there is a higher number of retention rates, meaning you spend less on training new staff, you also gain the opportunity to create future managers and leaders, shaping their attributes to suit your company. This results in your company having more experts in the workforce and the team collaborating to work effectively and efficiency, driving the success of the business forwards.

Creating a successful mentoring program

To create a mentoring program that is effective in reaching out to your employees follow these steps:

Step One: Evaluate your business: ask yourself, “why am I starting this program?” and “what will success look like for my company and those completing the program?” so that you fully understand how a mentoring program can be used to enhance the success of your company and staff. While you are answering these questions, you need to think about the people who are going to be enrolling onto your program, their motivation for completing the program and their development needs. A good idea is to hold conversations with your target audience to find out what they would like to see in a program of this kind and what they would hope to achieve from it. Understanding their goals can help you in creating a program that will place workers on a path to accomplishing those goals.

Step Two: Preparation stage: to implement a successful mentoring program you need to have tools in place, this includes a well-defined purpose, in addition to a team who understands the goals of the program and is trained in how to deliver the program. You will need to establish the criteria for measuring the success or failure of your enrollees, while also evaluating if you need any additional resources.

Step Three: Designing the program: before you can create the mentoring program, you need to plan it out, things you need to consider here are how long you would like the program to last (with 12 months being the longest). Also, what kind of mentoring will you use, for example, one-on-one mentoring, group mentoring, e-mentoring, peer mentoring, or a combination of two or more of these mentoring options.

Step Four: Attracting mentors and mentees: marketing and recruiting for the mentoring process is perhaps the most difficult part of the entire operation as your program cannot succeed without plenty of mentors and mentees. Remember, not everyone knows what a mentoring program is, what it entails or what benefits there are from participating in one, therefore, you need to convince them why they should apply for the program. To attract mentors, you need to provide solid training and you should always understand the objectives of both the mentors and the mentees. A good idea is to start communicating about the program before it becomes available, talking about its objectives, its progress in development and always welcoming feedback, raising awareness of the program and gaining support from potential mentors/mentees.

Step Five: Matching mentors to mentees: there are many ways in which you can match mentors and mentees, such as self-matching, admin-matching or even through the use of matching algorithms. This stage can often be the most complicated and time-consuming, so if possible try to use self-matching as there is little admin work involved in this, saving time and money.

Step Six: Supporting mentoring relationships: though some mentors may take to the role well and thrive, others may struggle, especially if they have never mentored before. For this reason, it is important to provide on-going support and a solid structure for the program. It is a good idea to implement goals for mentors, an on-going checklist, to help them to focus their mentoring and understand what they are trying to achieve next. It is also a good idea to provide your mentors with helpful resources that they can turn to if they are struggling, want advice or need direction.

Step Seven: Evaluating the program: it is incredibly important that you evaluate how successful the mentoring program was, so that you can continue to develop and enhance it to make it more attractive. Through the use of surveys, events and even things as simple as a telephone call, you can gain invaluable feedback from mentees and mentors, regarding what they did and didn’t like about the program, changes they would make and how it could be improved. Making these on-going changes and improvements is critical to ensuring the success of your program and helping your mentors and mentees to achieve their goals.

The future of your successful mentoring program

If you implement a strong and attractive mentoring program you will find that your company becomes much more attractive to job seekers, a higher number of applicants means a wider choice and potentially, a higher caliber of employees. There is an interesting ripple effect that comes along with mentoring, when an individual has benefitted from a successful mentoring program, they are likely to become motivated to become a mentor themselves. With more mentors, you can take more mentees and the program becomes widely used. With consistent evaluating and ensuring the program is meeting its goals, while those participating within it are happy, the mentoring program could be incredibly successful in creating leaders of the future.

Though creating and implementing a successful mentoring program may seem time consuming and lengthy, the benefits of having this program in place will certainly be worth the work you have put into it. With more satisfied workers, higher staff retention rates and more leaders from within, your business will continue to become more successful.