Mentorship Programs

A Guide to Enterprise Mentoring Programs (+ Free Checklist)

Are you tasked with launching an enterprise mentoring program at your company? Don't be overwhelmed. Our quick start guide outlines how to get started in three easy steps and includes the tools and resources you need to succeed.

Together Team

Published on 

May 6, 2022

Updated on 

August 31, 2023

Time to Read

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In 2022, employees across industries received 62.4 hours of training. That’s slightly lower than the 64 hours of training they received in 2021. As for resources, 13% of companies decreased their training budget in 2022 and 43% kept it the same as 2021.

This shows that companies are unable to invest more resources in employee training. That’s because conventional training programs can disrupt work routines and potentially impact productivity. They can also prove to be costly due to factors like trainers' fees, materials, and infrastructure.

Enterprise mentoring programs do not suffer from such constraints. 

Enterprise mentorship programs complement technical training initiatives by addressing the practical application of skills, fostering holistic growth, and facilitating personalized guidance. That is why small and large organizations alike should use these programs to upskill their employees.

What is an enterprise mentoring program?

Enterprise mentoring is a structured process within an organization where experienced employees (mentors) share their knowledge, skills, expertise, and insights with less experienced employees (mentees) to support their professional and personal development. An enterprise mentoring program provides a framework for mentoring interactions, allowing for effective transfer of knowledge, skills, and insights from mentors to mentees.

The primary goal of enterprise mentoring programs is to help mentees enhance their skills, knowledge, and abilities, and to aid them in achieving their career goals within the context of the company.

Why enterprises need mentoring programs

Enterprises need mentoring programs to overcome the shortcomings of conventional training programs. While conventional training programs offer essential theoretical knowledge, mentorship goes further by providing real-world insights and helping employees navigate challenges specific to their roles and the organization.

Some of the major reasons why enterprises need mentoring programs include:

  • Succession planning and leadership development — Mentoring programs develop employees for leadership roles, enhance their skills, and contribute to their overall professional growth. When the time comes, the mentees are ready to step up and take on more responsibilities within the organization.
  • Higher employee engagement — Providing mentoring opportunities demonstrates a commitment to employees' development, leading to higher engagement and job satisfaction. Engaged employees are more likely to stay with the organization, reducing turnover rates.
  • A culture of learning — Mentoring encourages a learning culture, promoting continuous skill development and knowledge sharing. This, in turn, drives innovation, adaptability, and the organization's ability to thrive in a competitive environment.

Mentors offer context, advice, and soft skills development that are generally not covered in formal training. Additionally, mentorship creates a supportive environment for employees to ask questions, seek advice, and gain a deeper understanding of the company culture and industry dynamics. As a result, mentorship enhances the effectiveness of technical training, translating theoretical learning into actionable expertise and contributing to well-rounded professional development.

When it comes to matching criteria, the mentors and mentees can be from any level or department in the company, and the mentor/mentee relationship can be formal or informal. The key is that both parties should have something to offer and gain from the relationship.

Types of mentoring in an enterprise program

There are many moving parts in medium and large enterprises so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all style of mentoring program that can be implemented for everyone. When designing an enterprise mentoring program, you can go for:

  • One-to-one mentoring — The most traditional method of mentoring, in which one mentor and mentee enter a mentoring relationship with the aim of guidance and support that is typically in the area of the mentor’s expertise.
  • Group mentoring — When coaching and mentoring are needed to impact more mentees in a shorter time frame, group mentoring can be a more efficient way to go. Group mentoring also allows for social learning, as participants learn from one another in addition to their mentor.
  • Virtual mentoring — As many enterprises are now spread out over different locations, virtual mentoring can be a great way to connect employees who might not otherwise have the opportunity to meet. Virtual mentoring gives greater flexibility for both mentors and mentees.
  • Team mentoring — In team mentoring, teams of employees are mentored by a team leader or manager. This type of mentoring is often used to develop skills such as problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Reverse mentoring — Sometimes, a more senior employee is mentored by a junior-level employee in an area such as technology or social media. This can be a way to share knowledge and develop leadership skills in both employees.

One-to-one mentoring is more feasible for startups and small businesses, while large enterprises may often have to opt for team mentoring. The key difference between small business mentoring and enterprise mentoring is that of scale. With so many employees, medium and large enterprises need to have a system in place to manage and monitor mentoring relationships. Without a system, it’s impossible to scale a mentorship program. This can make the process too daunting for some managers, but the effort is well worth the rewards.

Small business vs enterprise mentoring

92 percent of small business owners attribute their growth to mentorship-related factors, and 61 percent of SMB owners are mentors themselves. This shows that small businesses primarily rely on mentorship when it comes to employee development.

What about enterprises, though? 

The key difference between small business mentoring and enterprise mentoring is simply scale. With so many employees, enterprises need to have a system in place to manage and monitor mentoring relationships. Without a system, it’s impossible to scale a mentorship program. This can make the process too daunting for some managers, but the effort is well worth it.

How to introduce an enterprise mentoring program at your company

It's not impossible to create your own enterprise mentoring program, but there's a lot of time to be saved by using our mentorship program platform. It's why we exist – to make the process of launching a world-class mentorship program less daunting for HR and L&D professionals.

Let's run through a quick how-to guide for introducing an enterprise mentoring program at your company.

1. What metric are you trying to impact?

Every endeavor should start with clear goals and objectives. This is especially important within enterprises, where you may be pursuing multiple goals at once. When introducing a mentoring program, you should have a specific metric in mind that you want to impact.

Some common objectives of enterprise mentoring programs are skill development, career growth, reduced employee turnover, and innovation. Choose the goal that is most important to your company and focus your efforts there.

To do this, try answering the following questions of your enterprise or department:

  • What skills do we want our employees to develop?
  • What career paths are available for our employees?
  • What is our talent pool like for future hires?
  • How can we reduce employee turnover?
  • Is any of our talent currently underrepresented?
  • How can we increase innovation within our company?

Once your objectives are clear, you can start to design your program around them. For instance, if you want to focus on skill development, you might require that all mentors have a certain level of expertise in the skill they are teaching.

2. How will you match employees?

Matching employees manually is manageable if there are >25 employees participating. But when you have 50-100+ you can’t match employees with any real consideration. It’d be random at best – and what employee would want a randomly selected mentor? They want relevant mentors. 

To make sure every employee has a meaningful mentor (at scale) you need a mentor matching tool. Our Together platform has a powerful pairing algorithm that takes into account employee skills, experience, and goals to make near-perfect mentor-mentee pairings. (No pairing can ever be perfect, but they can come close with the right tool!)

3. Resource to support mentoring relationships  

Breaking the ice can be awkward. Developing a deep and focused relationship on growth can be even harder. A successful mentoring program includes meeting agendas that act as a guide for mentoring pairs. They include discussion questions, articles, videos, and activities. 

Activities like these keep the conversions on track and lead to better outcomes. And, with the right discussion topics, mentors and mentees can hit it off whilst learning more about one another and their professional goals.

Step-by-Step Checklist For Enterprise Mentoring Programs

How to quickly launch your enterprise mentoring program

Feeling overwhelmed? That's understandable. Considering all the things you need to do in order to start a mentoring program, it can be daunting. But don't worry – we at Together are here to help.

Our platform makes it easy for enterprises to get started with mentoring. We provide everything you need, from matching employees to providing resources for mentors and mentees.

How does Together’s mentorship platform work?

The process for launching your program with Together is super simple:

1. You (the HR manager) load up your list of participating employees, before inviting them via email to register as either a mentor or mentee on our secure platform. Some enterprises give their employees the choice, while others predetermine who will mentor and who will be mentored.

2. Once they’ve registered, our algorithm can automatically match them with a suitable mentor or mentee, taking into account their skills, experience, and goals. 

3. Pairs will then receive prompts to schedule a meetup with their mentor using our simple and completely integrable calendar. 

4. Finally, your pairs are left to run with what they've been given. It's easy to keep an eye on pairings via our monitoring tools; you can access feedback from each session, session scores, learning outcomes, and more. This data helps your pairings stay healthy – and it increases your chance of getting buy-in for future mentoring programs.

If you are working on an enterprise mentoring program, make sure you download our free checklist. It will help you build a highly effective program for your organization.

Ready to scale your mentoring initiatives? Book a demo

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