How to Create & Sustain a Mentorship Program

Employers: I highly recommend working on a strategy now to retain the employees you have and hire top talent from the classes in the future. My suggestion? Start a mentorship program. It may seem like a daunting task to start up a new program, but ultimately, a mentorship program is a cost-effective way to make your employees more comfortable, productive and engaged.

Here’s how to get started:

Begin with the end in mind. What is your intent? You should have measurable goals in mind before starting your program. You also need organizational commitment from the top.

Decide who the participants will be. Who will be the mentors? The mentees? Will mid-level employees be mentoring interns? Senior level mentoring entry-level?

What will the nature of the interaction be?

  • Single leader mentoring circle: one leader and many mentees
  • Mixed level mentoring circle: a mixed group of mentors and mentees
  • Peer mentoring: each member of the group is on the same professional level
  • E-mentoring: use phone and e-mail to interact with participants
  • Reverse mentoring: junior employees mentor senior staff

How will you review the program? What will deem your mentorship program “successful”? What measures do you have in place? Have you committed yourself to a process of continual improvement?

The first 90-120 days is important to determining both short- and long-term success for new employees, and with a mentorship program in place they can start to better understand the culture, their fit within the organization, their associates and the commitment of the organization as a whole to their success. And, over time, a level of trust and candor develops where the mentor can tell the mentee “things they don’t want to hear” (otherwise known as tough love).

By developing a mentorship program, you will have a better grasp on attracting and retaining new employees. With an increased organizational commitment, employees will likely see that and feel that they can grow with your organization.Other benefits of a mentorship program include:

  • Employees gain better understanding of organization through mentoring relationships
  • Employees create trusting relationships resulting in a more comfortable environment
  • Mentees learn from mentors
  • Mentors learn from mentees
  • Helps on-board new entry-level employees to new organizations and the quality of the new hire experience
  • Organization benefits from increased retention, engagement levels and overall effectiveness of their employees
  • Creates a foundation for success

I have several mentors, and I’m always on the hunt for more! I have mentors in my industry, as well as outside of it. Without them, I doubt I would be where I am today, as their guidance has truly been priceless.

Does your organization offer a mentorship program or something similar? How beneficial do you feel such a program would have been when you were first starting out?

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