11 Essential Tips to Facilitate Onboarding Mentorship

Onboarding is key to retaining new employees. Read these expert tips on using mentoring to transition new hires, shorten their time to productivity and build lasting relationships.

Heli Nehama Ozery

Founder and CEO of Artemis OD

Published on 

August 24, 2023

Updated on 

Time to Read

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It’s a well-known fact that a positive onboarding experience sets new hires up for success in their role. Every new hire benefits from having an onboarding buddy, and if that “buddy” is a mentor, it makes the deal even sweeter. After all, new hires likely have lots of questions, and are eager to prove themselves. A mentor, or a group mentorship program, can shorten the time-to-productivity by removing blockers and helping new hires feel connected and supported. 

Here are 11 valuable insights to assist you in crafting a robust onboarding mentorship initiative tailored to the corporate landscape:

1. Identify organizational need

Commence by identifying a specific organizational unit grappling with onboarding challenges. Opt for a department with elevated turnover rates and an extended training period. Often, managers are more inclined to participate when they acknowledge the need for transformation.

2. Engage managers

Present a comparative analysis featuring data from comparable organizations that have achieved enhanced business outcomes through effective onboarding strategies. Collaborate with stakeholders to define program objectives and establish quantifiable success metrics.

3. Designate a mentorship manager

The success of the initiative hinges on appointing a dedicated individual within the organization to spearhead and oversee the mentorship program. This person should guide forum activities, drive initiation, and provide ongoing support in the field.

4. Define the onboarding process

Clearly outline the essential competencies and skills requisite for the position. Develop a comprehensive checklist for mentors and new hires to follow during the process. 

Download this free checklist to stay on track with your onboarding mentorship initiative

5. Recognize beyond monetary incentives

Consider implementing evaluation and acknowledgment mechanisms for mentors. These can include specialized training, identification of exceptional mentors, public commendation, and other forms of recognition.

6. Select mentors thoughtfully

Collaborate with management to establish criteria for mentor selection. Remember, beyond professional aptitude, the choice of mentors should reflect employees with a strong drive to teach, excellent communication skills, and a pronounced sense of connectivity. Seek individuals with potential for advancement within the organization.

7. Craft a brand and communication strategy

Develop a unique brand identity for the mentorship program. Articulate the selection criteria and invite employees to express their interest. Transparency is fostered by publishing the list of selected mentors.

8. Provide mentor training

Mentor training should encompass essential concepts and tools vital for effective mentoring, outlining the mentor's role, the mentoring process, expectation setting, active instructional techniques, feedback delivery, and the mentor-mentee-manager triad. Periodic peer-learning sessions can help reinforce knowledge and cultivate a dynamic mentor community.

9. Prepare mentees

While mentor training is pivotal, don't disregard the mentees' perspective. They often lack insight into their roles and responsibilities within the learning process. Equip them with the tools and knowledge to effectively engage with the mentors.

10. Provide ongoing mentor support

Continuous mentorship support substantially impact the program's success. Observe mentors in action, provide constructive feedback, address queries, conduct quarterly peer learning sessions.

11. Apply learnings

Evaluate the program's effectiveness. Estimate whether the initial objectives were met and gather feedback from both mentors and mentees. Adapt and refine the initiative based on the insights gained.

In reality, organizations may not strictly follow each step. Many begin by providing mentor training and then use mentor feedback to encourage managers to adopt the development of a meaningful program. As Sheryl Sandberg wisely stated, "Done is better than perfect." 

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About the Author

Heli Nehama Ozery is the founder and CEO of Artemis OD, an innovative consulting firm headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley that focuses on leadership development and organizational success.

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