Onboarding

How to build a mentorship program for new employees

Mentorship for new employees is essential. Up to a third of their salary can be spent attracting and recruiting them. Make sure that when they do join your team they're set up for success. In this article, we break down how to start a mentorship program for new hires.

Ryan Carruthers

November 22, 2021

There is a lot of time, money, and effort put into the hiring process for organizations. However, all of that can be lost if your onboarding process fails and your new employees leave. Research by Gallup found that over 70% of new hires feel unprepared for their new role, even after the onboarding process. 

New hiring mentoring programs are the key to overcoming this. Statistics show that 77% of organizations with mentoring programs increased their retention rates. Mentoring can also inspire your employees. 95% of young adults with formal mentoring relationships noted the experiences helped them grow their careers


Why new employees need mentorship  

Research has found that employees need friendships at work to flourish. Those with close relationships with peers are 50% happier. They are also seven times more likely to be engaged in their work. New hire mentoring starts your employees off right. It builds connections and helps them cultivate deep relationships with others in the workplace. 

Mentorship programs for new hires can help employees feel like part of the team right off the bat. With a mentor, new employees are part of a buddy system that helps them orient themselves to the company culture. Mentors help them understand how they fit in with the team. This can be especially key for remote or hybrid workplaces. 

New hires will feel more confident in their positions with the help of a mentor. They will also be given an opportunity to learn new skills through their mentor’s expertise and knowledge. This will further increase their confidence in their current position and their hope to grow with the company. On a macro-scale, this supports retention and employee engagement.

Mentoring your new employees can also bring them up to speed with their job and responsibilities quicker. It means they’ll be able to reach their potential within your organization faster. 


The benefits of an onboarding mentorship program 

An onboarding mentorship program has a lot of advantages for organizations, including:

  • Introduction to company culture. New hires need to develop an understanding of your company culture. Having a mentor enables them to gain this understanding. New employees without a mentor will need to try and figure it out on their own. This takes time and effort, which could be better spent focused on their job. 
  • Improved retention. Research has shown that employees with mentors are more likely to stay with their current employer for longer. A Gallup survey found that 66% of Millennials expect to leave their jobs within four years. They also found that 94% of survey participants appreciated having a mentor at work. Their findings show that mentorship is a powerful tool for keeping employees fulfilled at work.
  • Inspired loyalty. New hires already feel special that they were selected to join your organization. Using mentorship in the onboarding process can build on these feelings. It demonstrates to your new employee your willingness to invest in them and help them grow. 
  • Increased speed to productivity. New employee mentorship programs can also help new hires get up to speed in their jobs quicker. Having someone to show them the ropes will prevent them from floundering. They’ll have someone they can rely on as they orient themselves. Likewise, having someone they can ask questions means they’ll be able to spend more time on important tasks like the role’s responsibilities.

Decide how to structure your onboarding mentorship program

One of the first steps in building a mentoring program for new hires is to think through the structure. There are several ways you can design your onboarding mentorship program, such as:

  • Traditional 1-on-1.  Traditional mentorship pairs a senior employee with a junior one. The focus is on employee development and growth. 
  • Group mentoring. In a group mentoring experience, there may be one or more mentors and several mentees. Group mentoring is particularly good for new hires as it allows them to develop their skills while connecting with peers.   
  • Peer mentoring.  Pairing your new employee with someone in a similar position who has more company experience is considered a form of peer mentoring. It can be ideal for new hires as they’ll learn the ropes from someone who understands what they may be experiencing. Peer mentoring for new hires is also another way to build friendships among your employees.  
  • Reverse mentoring. 1-on-1 mentorships can be beneficial for your more senior employees just as much as the more junior ones. In a reverse mentoring experience, the roles are switched. A more senior employee will learn from the newer hire. It is particularly helpful to boost tech skills among your managers and executives. As technology continues to evolve, younger workers are often more familiar with the ins and outs of new developments.  
  • Virtual. Many organizations are developing remote or hybrid workplaces. This offers flexibility for mentorships. Any of the above styles can be used for a virtual mentoring program. Remote mentoring also fits well into a global organization where participants are unable to meet in person, but you still want to build meaningful connections among your employees


How to build a mentorship program

When you’re ready to start building a mentorship program for your new hires, here are some easy steps to get you going. 

Goals

Define the goals or objectives for your program. This will involve determining the skills of your new hires and aligning new employees’ development with their interests. Knowing your mentorship program goals also means ensuring they connect with organizational objectives. 

Pairing

The pairing process is one of the most important factors in creating a great experience for mentors and mentees. You’ll need to determine a strategy that determines who gets matched with whom. 

There are different ways of getting a good match, but you first need to know what defines a good match for your program. 

  • Are you looking to connect a new hire with a mentor who has the skills or experience that the new employee wants? 
  • Should the mentor and mentee have certain similarities, such as communication style, interests or career background? 
  • What are the expectations of participants? 
  • What are their ideas on how to build a successful mentorship

Taking in all these considerations can become a lot of work as a program grows to include many employees. For that reason, many mentoring programs use mentor-matching software to determine the best possible matches for each employee.

Agendas

Assist the mentoring relationship by giving mentors and mentees resources. You can provide articles, TED talks, sample questions, or even ideas for discussion topics to guide their sessions. This can help break the ice as well as make sure each session has lots to talk about. For example, mentoring programs on Together have template agendas on various topics like problem-solving, goal setting, and career development. 

Encourage your mentors to create development plans with new hires to help guide the relationship. Together’s mentoring programs encourage participants to draw up a mentoring agreement. This document allows the mentor and mentee to agree on logistics like when they’ll meet and how they can prepare for each session. It also outlines expectations for the mentorship, such as who will ask questions and what they expect to learn. 

Check-ins

If you’re starting a mentorship program your job doesn’t end once everyone is paried. Develop a plan to connect with participants at the beginning of a mentorship, at the end of the relationship, and throughout the experience. 

Ask for feedback from participants about their experience. Finding out what worked and what didn’t can help you refine your onboarding mentoring program. It’s also important that mentoring program managers be ready to solve problems that may come up like a mentee who would like a different mentor. 

Reporting

Having a defined process for reporting is vital to building a solid onboarding mentorship program. There are some key metrics you’ll need to track, including

  • Signups. How many registrations you’re receiving signals the demand for your organization’s mentoring program. It can also indicate the balance you have between mentors and mentees. You don’t want to have too many mentees and not enough mentors. If this happens, you’ll need to focus on recruiting more mentors. 
  • Mentee and mentor goals. Mentorships are built around mentee goals and equipping your new hire to reach those goals. Encourage your pairs to develop a mentorship agreement that outlines these goals. 
  • Anecdotal feedback. Program managers need to reach out to mentees at different stages of the program and seek some feedback. This feedback is key. It lets you know how participants feel about the program and whether it is living up to expectations. 
  • Session feedback. Together’s software encourages mentors and mentees to offer feedback following each session. Information like this can lead to insights about the program. It’s also something that can be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the program to executives. 
  • Business outcomes. It’s essential to demonstrate how the onboarding mentoring program is contributing to business objectives. You may need to show company leadership the connection between a healthy mentoring program for new hires and the growth or strength of the business. 


Using software to run your mentorship program

Matching, tracking and reporting are crucial elements of a new hire mentoring program. They measure the health and success of your efforts. But it can be a time-consuming process. And manual efforts to gauge the effectiveness of your onboarding program for new employees may not accurately reflect what is happening. 

Using mentoring software to run your workplace mentoring program can help overcome these issues. 

Together awarded for best ease of use by Capterra
Together has been awarded for its ease of use by Capterra

Together’s algorithm can quickly pair participants based on the criteria you set. Our software is also adept at tracking and monitoring mentorships throughout the various stages.

You’ll be able to create reports that accurately reflect how successful and effective your onboarding mentoring program is. 

Level up your onboarding program with mentorship. Connect with us for 30 minutes today to learn more about starting a world-class mentoring program. You’ll join the likes of Randstad, Discovery Channel, Kellogg's and more.

close button

Want incredible results from your mentorship program? Then download our comprehensive list of best practices.

We draw these best practices from the first-hand experience of program managers like you and our own expertise. This white paper is a comprehensive guide that will be your roadmap to building a world-class mentoring program.