Although some people may use the words goal or objective to mean the same thing, they don’t. In fact, how you define goals and objectives for a workplace mentoring program can impact the success you have with your program.
According to Hubspot, goals are bigger, more general aims that you want to achieve. It is the big-picture view of your initiative. Objectives, on the other hand, are much more specific and can be measured. For example, your organization’s goal may be to reduce employee turnover with a mentorship program. In this case, an objective might be to see a 10 percent drop in the number of employees quitting their jobs within the first year.
Goals and objectives can also be different within the workplace when it comes to mentoring. The organizational may have overarching goals and objectives concerning a workplace mentoring program. Furthermore, each mentor-mentee match may also define their own goals and objectives within the mentorship. For example, an organization may want to see higher employee engagement. Leadership would then create objectives and a strategy so they could determine if they are successful or not. In the same organization, a mentee may have the goal of getting a promotion in the company. The mentor would help the mentee define objectives to help them get there.
Let’s look further at the differences between goals and objectives.
When an organization creates or changes their workplace mentoring program they often do so to achieve different goals. Before you begin a program or revamp one, take some time to develop a strategy. Look at the bigger picture to see what it is you would like to change within your organization.
Some of the more popular goals include reducing turnover, improving employee engagement and productivity and developing skills among new employees.
Setting program goals is a team effort and should include leadership as well as the mentoring program manager. It is also important to be realistic when defining goals for the program. Use the SMART goal setting technique, that is, make goals specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive.
Workplace mentoring programs that are well-defined and structured can be successful at changing many elements of an organization’s atmosphere. Creating a more positive place, improving diversity in your workforce and enhancing teamwork are all ways that mentoring programs can help an organization. They can even help you attract new, highly-skilled talent. But, you won’t be able to achieve that unless you have a plan and define your goals.
In addition to the goals set for the mentoring program by the organization, each mentor-mentee pair should define goals at the beginning of their relationship. These goals are going to be more mentee-specific and revolve around what the participants expect to give and receive from the mentorship.
It is important that mentees are clear about what they want to gain from the mentorship. Some goals could be professional development, access to networking opportunities, and new employee integration. When mentees define their goals for the mentorship it helps to set the tone and agenda for meetings. However, mentors can offer their support and advice around goal setting.
Having defined goals for the mentorship can help the mentor-mentee see if they have been successful or not. That is why it is recommended to use goals that are measurable and specific. The goals should guide the mentoring relationship. In fact, when a mentee has shared their goals with a mentor it makes them more likely to achieve the goal as they feel more accountable. Moreover, when goals have been reached, the mentorship comes to a natural end and the organization can gauge how successful the program has been.
Objectives for a mentoring program are usually the action-based steps that need to be taken to achieve the goals for the program. One way to know if you are dealing with a goal or objective is to see if it is measurable. How do you know if you have accomplished it? Defining objectives before making a mentor-mentee match is key to letting participants know what is expected from them in the mentorship. This is true even if each mentor-mentee match creates its own goals and objectives.
When developing objectives for a workplace mentoring program, it is important to be clear on what the measurement tool is so you know how to track progress. For example, if your goal is to improve diversity in your workplace, you need to define what that will look like. Do you want to see a 10 percent increase in minorities in management positions? Perhaps your objective could be to hire five more female managers? It is important when defining an objective that it also be time-sensitive. That means, set a deadline for when you want the objective to be achieved.
Communication around the goals and objectives for a mentoring program is also important to help participants see the impact their efforts are having. Mentees who are looking to develop new skills or knowledge may not see how that can play into the organizational goal of improving productivity or reducing employee turnover. It is up to the mentoring program manager to help mentors and mentees see how their participation contributes to the mentoring program's success.
Whether your organization is looking to develop a workplace mentoring program or if you already have one, defining goals and objectives are the keys to success. It is important to have goals before you develop a mentoring program. This helps leaders and employees know why the program is worth investing in and what they can expect to see as a result. Measurable steps to achieving the goals are the program objectives. They are just as important as the goals. An objective needs to be something measurable so that the organization can see if they are achieving their goals with the mentoring program.
Mentoring software can help track and report the progress of workplace mentoring goals and objectives. Together is able to monitor mentor-mentee meeting schedules and simplify communication. It has also been designed to create program reports that are customized to the goals and objectives of each organization. Click here for a software demo and see how Together can help your organization reach its goals and objectives.