Attracting mentors to your workplace mentoring program can be a challenge. There are many different reasons why mentors don’t sign up right away. Some may feel they don’t have the time, while others are concerned they don’t have the right skills.
However, research has shown that having a mentor at work leads to a host of benefits. One survey found that 90 percent of employees who have a mentor say they are happier in their jobs. And 89 percent feel valued at their workplace.
Mentorship holds many benefits for participants, including mentors. But attracting them to your program may require some creative explanations on how they stand to benefit. This article will break down everything you need to know about the thorny topic of mentor recruitment.
What is mentor recruitment?
Mentor recruitment refers to the process of promoting your mentoring program to potential mentors. It involves creating a strategy to attract participants who can help guide mentees.
Why don’t mentors always want to join your program?
- Employees may be reluctant to become mentors because they don’t feel qualified. This is called the imposter syndrome.
- Other employees are more interested in being a mentee to learn from others.
To attract mentors, you’ll need to consider why employees may be reluctant to be involved and help them overcome their fears. More on this later.
Mentorship program admins from The United Nations and The Forum unpack how to run world-class mentoring programs. Watch the full panel discussion.
Why is it important to recruit mentors?
The success of your mentoring program relies significantly on the quality of your mentors. When mentees receive quality advice and guidance, it makes all the difference. And this can reflect on your mentoring program.
Your mentoring program gets more credibility whenever a mentee gets encouraged or directed on the right path. In other words, mentees who succeed in gaining skills and confidence to reach their goals make your workplace mentoring program more attractive to others. It demonstrates that what you have created works.
Having skilled leaders who know how to develop talent in others is essential for your mentoring program. Yet, they may be slow to join because of the time commitment. Mentorships can last anywhere from a few months to a year. Busy employees will be inclined to turn down participating because they don’t want to add to their workload.
As a mentoring program administrator, it can be challenging to encourage potential mentors to get involved. Yet, it is a challenge worth overcoming. If mentees know that they will be paired with quality mentors and leaders at your organization, it will attract more participants who want to learn from these mentors.
However, if you don’t have enough mentors for the mentees in your program, it can be detrimental to your mentoring program. Not having enough mentors to make matches for mentees will negatively impact your workplace mentoring program. And this will be hard to overcome.
How do you announce a mentoring program?
Attracting mentors to your program requires you to consider your approach. Start with the announcement of the mentoring program in your organization. Here are some ways you can start to get employees excited about getting involved.
Throw a party, offer free food and drinks, and invite your employees for the announcement. Setting a positive atmosphere can get everyone excited about the announcement. It also puts your employees at ease and in a good mood if they’re offered free snacks and drinks.
For organizations with employee intranet, consider using that channel to let employees know about the program. Link the announcement to a webpage or article that can tell them more about what to expect from a mentoring opportunity.
Sending a personalized email can motivate employees to get involved. It will indicate that they’ve been signalled out as a qualified mentor. Be sure to add a great call to action at the end to encourage readers to click through and join.
While this is a much slower process, you can ask department leaders to announce at team meetings. One of the advantages of this approach is that it shows that company leadership is supportive of the mentoring program.
How do you recruit more mentors to your mentorship program?
You can use different strategies to recruit mentors to your mentorship program. They include:
It makes sense on several levels to recruit mentors early. You don’t want to wind up with lots of mentees registered and only one or two mentors. It will result in disappointment for the mentees. It will also put the mentoring program administrator in a tough spot of having to pick between mentees.
Opening up registration early for mentors also allows you to get the word out and stir up some excitement over the program in your organization. The mentors who join the program can also help spread the word and advocate for it. Moreover, you’ll be able to attract mentees by advertising who they could be matched up with.
Develop a formal promotion strategy to help get the message out about your workplace mentoring program. Consider the various channels you could use and hone your message to each. This is when you have to think like a marketer and use all the tools you can think of, such as:
- Email announcements
- Team apps like Slack
- Create a webpage dedicated to your mentoring program
- Encourage managers to spread the news
- Develop presentations for upcoming meetings or employee gatherings
- Post it on your organization’s social media accounts
- Create posters to hang around the office
It may feel like too much, but the truth is that employees will need to see the message about your mentoring program several times and in different formats, before they’ll start to consider getting involved. You don’t want to miss out on participants. Be sure to promote your mentoring program on every channel that you can think of.
Build a team of advocates for your mentoring program. Be sure to include some on the leadership team so that employees know the organization is behind it. You may also want to share stores of successful mentorships that can inspire others to participate.
Prepare for objections
You’ll likely run into potential mentors who have several excuses not to get involved. Plan what you’re going to say to them in advance to help them overcome their objections. See below for some ideas.
Offer support and encouragement to mentors, so they know they’re not on their own. This can be in the way of resources, like agendas, to assist them in planning mentorship meetings. You may also want to offer them some guidance on best mentoring practices or address questions they may have.
Together offers a variety of resources that you can use, from templates to our blog to our FAQ page. Our platform also makes it easy to for mentors and mentees to schedule times with one another. If you do't use Together, that are other platforms that act as a booking system available.
How to overcome common objections from mentors
After leaders start to see that a mentoring program is in the works and are encouraged to join, some will push back. There’s a myriad of objections they can use, such as:
- “I’m too busy.”
- “I’ll invest all this time, and I won’t really get anything out of it.”
- “I’m not qualified to mentor someone else.”
- “Employees don’t need mentors.”
- “Mentorship should happen “organically,” not through a formal program.”
- “A mentorship program won’t improve our bottom line.”
Some of these objections are frustrating, while others we can empathize with. Let’s look at how to respond to each one:
Ready to run a world-class mentoring program?
This article dove deep into some of the most pressing challenges People Leaders, L&D teams, HR managers, and DEIB professionals face when starting a mentorship program.
It’s a challenging job to have. It requires getting multiple stakeholders involved and onboard. At Together, it’s our mission to help organizations build career-changing mentorship programs.
That’s why we have a whole platform built to make everything from registration to pairing to reporting to scaling your mentoring program easy.
If you’re using a spreadsheet to pair dozens of employees, you need to check out how we can make your life a whole lot easier.