When it comes to creating a successful workplace mentorship program, identifying the purpose of the program is an essential first step. An organization’s leadership should ask themselves what they're hoping to accomplish with a mentoring program or what problems they’d like to resolve. By defining the goals of mentorship, it will be easier to determine how to measure results and keep the program on track for success.
To determine the objectives of the program, there should be an assessment of the goals the organization wants to meet and the goals of the mentor and mentee. As you define these objectives, use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) goal setting to develop a well-thought-out framework.
Mentorship programs can also be reputation-building opportunities for organizations. Through initiatives like workplace mentorship or additional training for employees, a company demonstrates their commitment and value placed on their people. As a result, companies often see a link between their organizational values and mission and the objectives of a workplace mentoring program.
Perhaps you’re working on OKRs (objectives and key results) or goal setting for your organization and want to know how mentorship can help with your company strategy. While the outcomes of a workplace mentoring program can vary from one organization to another, some of the most common goals are:
Once an organization has defined their goals, and they have launched a mentorship program in the workplace, leadership can also identify some key performance indicators. These indicators will convey how the mentoring program is being measured. Therefore, numbers should be attached to these indicators. For example, if the goal is to improve the turnover rate, then a company should have a process or tool for measuring the retention rate. It’s wise to track these numbers over time, including a baseline assessment of the measures before the mentorship program began.
Company leadership may also want to look at the cost-value ratio. To do this, define how much a mentoring program will cost the organization and compare it to the potential cost savings. This can especially apply to employee retention. For those organizations with a high rate of turnover, reducing the number of employees leaving can save thousands of dollars. It’s been estimated to cost about six to nine months’ salary to replace an employee when they leave the organization.
There will also need to be a timeline set for the program. Most mentoring programs last between one to two years in a workplace setting. Determine what the right amount of time is based on the goals of the organization, mentee, and mentor. It’s also important to pick the right kind of mentoring program manager. A good mentor program can appear to run itself, but that is usually due to the skill of the program manager. Consider how committed the manager is to the success of the program. Leadership should also look for a program manager who believes in mentorship as a way to further organizational goals. The more passion the manager has for mentoring, the more likely they will be able to sell the idea to others, including employees and leadership.
An important note: When selecting a manager to operate the day-to-day running of a workplace mentoring program, choose someone who’s not already inundated with job-related tasks. Mentoring managers need to have the time and energy to devote to growing the program.
New participants will need some training to get started. Mentors and mentees who are just getting into the program will need guidance to successfully navigate their way through the relationship. This training can include communication techniques, goal setting, and leadership skills. Employees may also need some advice on setting boundaries and how they should help the mentor-mentee relationship progress.
Consider mentoring software to help refine and streamline your workplace mentorship program. Organizations who are looking for a simplified way to run their mentoring program can consider software, like Together. Mentoring software can help with registration and matching, as well as guide the scheduling and development process. A good software program will also be able to track and compile data about the program and mentor-mentee interaction, which simplifies reporting and measuring. Whether you are just getting started with your mentorship plans or are looking to revitalize a faltering workplace mentorship program, mentoring software can make the job easier.
Don’t be afraid to adjust as needed. Some workplace mentoring programs will need to be modified as they grow. It’s important to avoid being tied to one way of doing things. Rather, management should allow for some flexibility to allow for changes to a mentorship program in the workplace over time, as needed.
Whether your organization already has a workplace mentoring program or if they are still defining what they hope to achieve, clarifying a vision and goals are the keys to success. As with any endeavor, a company should define objectives clearly and have applicable key performance indicators established to measure success of the mentorship program.