Together Mentorship Platform

Healthcare mentorship programs: 7 steps to designing your program with Together

Here are 7 steps to launching a healthcare mentorship program on Together's Platform.

Together Team

Published on 

February 24, 2023

Updated on 

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The last five years have been a rocky period for the healthcare industry; in fact, the average hospital turned over 100.5% of its employees. Turnover rates cannot be lowered across the board overnight – however, individual organizations can take matters into their own hands through effective retention strategies—namely, mentorship. 

Mentorship programs are one of the strongest and cost effective means in a healthcare organization's arsenal when it comes to retaining employees. 

  • Senior Preceptors can mentor newer nurses; 
  • physicians can mentor medical students; 
  • support staff can be mentored by more experienced workers. 

These programs provide employees with an opportunity to learn from their peers and develop skills that will help them to succeed in their roles.

Ready to get started? Let's walk through seven key steps you can take to implement a successful healthcare mentorship program within your organization using Together

Why do you want to start a healthcare mentoring program?

While turnover is certainly a prominent issue within healthcare, retention is just one of many goals mentorship can help you reach. 

Organizations may start a program with the goal of helping clinical staff advance their careers by developing non-clinical skills like interpersonal communication skills or conflict management. Mentors can play a critical role in growing soft skills that build better relationships with colleagues and broaden professional networks.

Identifying a shortlist of objectives will help you create an effective program that meets the needs of your employees and organization. It's important to remember that mentoring programs are not one-size-fits-all; what works for one healthcare organization may not work for another. 

Some of the most popular use cases for mentorship programs within the healthcare industry include:

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion – giving staff across all backgrounds the opportunity to understand the nuances of their positions and advance their careers
  • Professional development – helping employees develop new skills, gain confidence and build better relationships 
  • Leadership training – teaching staff how to lead teams effectively 
  • Career advice – providing guidance on career opportunities, developing resumes and cover letters, or interviewing tips 
  • Retention – providing employees with a sense of community and connection that encourages them to stay 
  • Workplace well-being – helping employees to manage stress and overcome challenges 

Understanding what you're trying to achieve will help you create a successful healthcare mentorship program. From there, follow the below steps. 

Step 1: Decide on a 1-on-1 or group program

Mentorship programs are highly versatile – they can be tailored to fit the needs of your organization. We've built two options into our Together platform. 

1-on-1 pairings

Whether clinical or non-clinical mentoring programs, 1-on-1 mentoring relationships are the most common pairing arrangement. Usually, organizations will encourage more senior healthcare practitioners to pair with more junior ones within their same unit or department. For example, it’s more common to have a senior radiologist paired with a mentee earlier in their career rather than a different specialization like cardiology. That’s because mentors can offer more value to those within their specialty. That being said, there is value in pairing mentors and mentees cross-functionally. Doing so opens opportunities for knowledge transfer between units which can break down silos.

Group programs

The nature of healthcare organizations, like hospitals or clinics, is that you will often have group intakes of new staff, students or interns. In this case, a group program can be the most efficient way to provide mentorship. Group programs involve assigning a mentor to a group of mentees and providing them with guidance on their individual goals as well as developing skills that benefit the team overall.

Choose the best option for your needs and make the selection within our Together platform, like so:

Pairing format | Together's Mentorship Platform

Step 2: Decide on a Cohort or Evergreen program

At Together, we find it helpful to make a distinction between two types of mentoring programs: Cohort or Evergreen

A Cohort program is so-called because it allows a group of mentees to move through the program as a unit. For example, Brightview, an addiction treatment organization, launched their New Hire Leadership Mentoring program using a cohort model so that new hires would graduate as a team. Mentees had a fixed period of time to register, and then participate in the program for a pre-determined amount of time.

An Evergreen program, on the other hand, is open to new members at any point in time and has no set end date. Participants can choose to register at any time; they can also determine the duration of their pairing with their mentor. Teledoc Health, for example, has a mentee led mentorship experience that supports employees to seek out mentors across the organization who can help them reach their career goals.

Although Cohort programs tend to fit in with onboarding schedules better, Evergreen programs require much less maintenance and admin, making them a popular choice in the healthcare sector. 

Once you've decided on the type of program, you can select it within our Together platform:

Cohort vs Evergreen | Together's Mentorship Platform

Step 3: Name your program and add details

A name might seem superfluous, but it communicates your ultimate goal, and it helps to create a sense of connection and unity among the participants. It's best to choose a name that is descriptive, meaningful, and memorable. 

For instance, here are a few program name ideas for an organization called 'GreenGrass Healthcare':

  • 'GreenGrass Healthcare's Team-Building Program' – emphasizes the goal of unity and support
  • 'Advance Your Skills At GreenGrass' – tells employees that the program will help them develop their skills
  • 'GreenGrass Healthcare Mentoring Program' – communicates the purpose of the program in a concise way 
  • 'GreenGrass Growth Program' – indicates a focus on career progression and growth

Put your name of choice into the platform along with a brief description. Participants will see this when they go to register, thereby being made aware of the purpose of the program, who it is for, and what to expect.

Step 4: Configure the registration questionnaire and matching rules

At Together, we've designed a platform that not only reduces administrative work, but also takes care of the entire pairing process. The secret? Our powerful algorithm. 

Pairing algorithm graphic | Together's Mentorship Platform

When you begin designing your program, you will build a registration questionnaire. The algorithm uses participant answers to match mentees and mentors together. 

By default, we provide the most common questions. However, you can edit the questions and add your own. 

Creating the registration questionnaire | Together's Mentorship Platform

Depending on the goals of your program, the questions that determine pairing will be different. 

For example, within a hospital-wide program, a nurse-focused mentoring program should ask questions like:

  • What is your current role and level of experience in nursing?
  • Are you pursuing further education to advance your career?
  • What are your areas of clinical expertise or interests?
  • What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
  • What do you hope to gain from participating in a mentorship program?
  • What type of mentorship are you looking for (e.g., clinical guidance, career development, emotional support)?
  • Are you willing to commit to regular meetings with your mentor?
  • Are there any specific qualities or characteristics you are looking for in a mentor?

The questions will look similar from program to program but adapted to the goals and audience. For example, a mentoring program designed to pair experienced doctors with doctors-in-training or students at medical schools may ask the following questions:

  • What is your current level of training (e.g., medical student, resident, fellow)?
  • What is your specialty or area of interest in medicine?
  • What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
  • What do you hope to gain from participating in this mentorship program?
  • How important is it to you that your mentor specializes in your field of interest?
  • Are you willing to commit to regular meetings with your mentor?
  • Are there any specific qualities or characteristics you are looking for in a mentor?

From there, you can also decide which questions are used for matchmaking and which are only for informational purposes on their profile. 

Customizing your pairing algorithm | Together's Mentorship Platform

You can also choose whether to rely solely on questionnaire information or to import data from an HRIS integration. 

Step 5: Prepare your program for launch

Once your program is underway, you'll have hardly any administrative work to take care of – but there are a few tasks to tick off before you launch. 

Review email notifications

Program participants will receive email updates and notifications if you choose, which can be edited and customized to suit your program. 

Editing emails to mentors and mentees | Together's Mentorship Platform

For instance, you may want to send out a welcome email when participants join, or an invitation for mentors and mentees to meet up in the platform for their first session. Download our templates to help you craft the perfect message. 

Set rules for who can participate in your program

When launching your first mentorship program, it’s less common to see hospital-wide programs. Instead, administrators launch pilot programs within specific departments or units, whether clinical or administrative. When creating these programs, you can use Together’s platform to set rules so that only allow participants who are eligible to join.

If you’re running a mentorship program that connects senior surgeons with more junior ones, you can leverage your organization’s HRIS data to only admit participants who are surgeons. 

This setting is available on our platform under Program Access on the Registration page. You'll have the option to list certain users as eligible or ineligible, or you can set rules that automatically determine (based on CSV data) who is eligible to join the program. 

Manage integrations

Healthcare organizations work with a number of tools and programs. We understand this – and we've added a series of integrations to make your life easier. For mentoring programs that connect participants virtually, participants can choose to link with:

  • Meeting tools (Zoom, Meet, Webex, Teams)
  • Calendar tools (Google, Office365)
  • HRIS (BambooHR, Oracle, ADP, and more)
  • Communication apps (Slack, Workspace, Teams)

Conversely, many healthcare mentoring programs for frontline workers happen in person. Likewise, hybrid mentorship, where some meetings are in-person, whereas other as virtual, are becoming more common as it offers more flexibility.

Set up the pairing process

To help you keep track of your progress before launch, we create a Pairing Readiness Report, which you can view before you go live. This report lists all registrants and gives a summary like so:

Reporting tools | Together's Mentorship Platform

You'll also get an indication of how many participants are likely to be paired, as well as options for making further adjustments. 

Review program content

Your final step before launch is to review the actual contents of your program. Navigate through the following pages within the platform:

  • Resources. Here, you can see a selection of pre-added content or add your organization's resources button. Include any training programs within your LMS or content you’ve produced for the program.
  • Agendas. Together provides templated meeting agendas, but you should customize them to fit your specific program. Include agendas on the topics of career development, work-life balance, and best practices for patient care. Consider what the goals of your program are. If increasing retention is an objective, consider crafting agendas around what participants want in their roles that would bring more fulfillment. 
  • Tasks. On this page, you can add tasks for mentors and mentees to complete after being paired. Some tasks are auto-added, like 'Book your next session,' but you can also add tasks and choose who sees them. 

That's it – you're ready to launch!

Step 6: Launch pairing

All that's left to do now is click 'Turn on pairing' and allow the algorithm to do its thing. When you're ready, you can begin inviting participants – and this process will depend on which pairing option you choose. 

  • Admin-led pairing means you go through each user manually and choose their pair from a list of suggestions. 
  • User-led pairing allows users to submit preferences and request a mentor. You can choose whether to auto-approve these requests or review them manually. 

A common fear at this stage of the process is not being able to turn off or pause the process – but at any stage, you can simply navigate to Pairing and select Turn Off Pairing. 

You may also worry about emails being sent out during manual pairing; however, the Staging process allows you to essentially 'draft' pairs before anyone is notified. Emails are not sent out unless you expressly choose to do so. 

Step 7: Monitor and report on your program

To run a successful program, you need to monitor engagement within the program and outcomes after participants graduate. 

The pandemic pressures on the healthcare system left many workers burnt out. During this time and after, turnover rates spiked

Within your mentoring program, use our survey functionality to ask participants during and after the program how they feel about their well-being and if having a mentor helped. 

Additionally, our platform includes the following reporting features:

Check these reports regularly. They’ll reveal pertinent feedback from mentors and mentees. 


Your team is now ready to launch a successful healthcare mentorship program! 

With the Together platform, you have all the tools necessary to create, monitor and report on your program. And if something doesn't quite work out as planned, you can always make changes until it does. 

Our team is on hand to offer support, advice, and resources along the way.

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