One obstacle managers face with starting a mentoring program is getting leadership buy-in. Coming up with a convincing budget and a mentoring program proposal is even more tasking.
That is why at Together, we want to help you find your feet and launch a successful mentorship program in your organization. We have helped hundreds of companies start and scale mentoring programs for their employees. In our experience, successfully pitching a mentoring program is a major step to getting it right.
In this article, you’re going to get the support you need. We will cover everything you should have in your mentoring program proposal, plus a downloadable template you can use.
Let’s get started!
Leadership buy-in requires a strong mentoring program proposal
Getting buy-in for your mentorship program is crucial for two key reasons:
- Your mentors will likely come from senior executives in your organization. To attract executives to your mentorship program, they need to believe in it.
- You will need sufficient resources and budget for a successful launch and subsequent management of the mentorship program. You might require commitment from employees or a budget to support learning resources or mentoring software. All these can’t be done without leadership support.
Getting buy-in for any project requires a clear proposal. It’s no different for a mentorship program. To learn more about getting buy-in for mentoring software, specifically, check out our guide to pitching your mentoring program.
The challenges of getting buy-in from leadership
If you are in an organization that is slow to recognize and embrace positive innovation, it's difficult to get leaders on board with your mentorship program. You need to expect challenges and nip them in the bud. Here are some challenges to look out for in organizing a mentorship program:
- Structural inertia: some companies search for employees that can fit into their existing company culture. They don't want employees that challenge the norm or want to introduce new things, however beneficial.
- Restricted changes: this has to do with a change that occurs in a subsection of the organization but doesn’t reflect on the whole company. Other sections of the organization resist changes to a part.
- Group inertia: this refers to a group resisting changes even when some employees believe it will bring good. They resist it because of the norms already in place.
- Threat to experts: here, experts in the organization resist changes because it threatens their job security.
- Threat to power or authority: usually there is a chain of authority or power in workplaces. Those in power might resist changes that delegate power to others or give teams self-sufficiency at their expense.
- Threat to allocation of resources: sections of the organization controlling a significant portion of the resources might resist change if they feel it threatens their control of resources.
Transparency and effective communication are two ways to overcome organizational resistance. No one is their right mind would oppose change if it is in their best interest.
For a long-standing change like a mentorship program, you need to explain in simple terms how it will benefit everybody. Take a personal approach in discussing its benefits. Everyone wants personal development and career growth in less time, mentorship will give them that.
How to pitch your leadership team [sample mentoring program proposal]
One of the key desires of a company is to attract and keep talent. Having a mentorship program makes that easy, because every employee craves career and professional advancement. Explain the benefits to individuals and the organization, don't forget to discuss how you will implement it too.
Reinforce the importance of mentorship
Employees have paid attention to engagement and wellbeing since the 2000s, according to this study. You can’t blame them, since they spend most of their time in the workplace. Everyone wants to feel a sense of stability and belonging and not have to job hop often.
Which brings us to the important point of creating a diverse and inclusive organization. Having a mentorship program where everyone has equal access regardless of their background is essential to creating a diverse culture in the workplace. People are free to share their knowledge and experience with the assurance that they can progress if they work hard.
Tie mentorship back to organizational goals
What is in it for the organization? This is a good place to state some statistics, research, and studies confirming the benefits of mentoring for organizations. Some benefits of mentorship for the organization are developing leaders, making the onboarding process for new employees faster, improving company culture, and retaining employees (a major headache solved for HR).
Word spreads and before you know it, your company earns the reputation of being a desirable place to work at. You attract top talent and your organization moves forward. Here is a resource on objectives and goals for workplace mentoring with real-life results.
Outline roles and responsibilities of the program administrators
Here’s where you talk about who does what when building the mentoring program. If it is only one person doing the planning, outline to leaders how you will make it a success. It might be hard to get them to believe one person can do the work. You can introduce mentoring software that will make planning and management easy for you (more on that later).
Outline how you will generate employee engagement
The first step you need to outline is creating awareness about the mentorship program. Have the company buzz with excitement by getting leaders to endorse and support the program. This will give more credibility to the program.
Next is highlighting the benefits for participants (mentors and mentees). Share success stories to motivate employees to join. Then, keep it top of their mind by sending reminder emails. You can have a launch party that will include information sessions for employees to have their questions answered. Showcase willing mentors and give incentives such as gift cards, cash prizes or extra holidays to participants.
How you will match employees
Pitch a mentoring software like Together, which has a pairing algorithm that helps you match mentees to mentors based on mutual goals, skills and interests. We support all forms of mentoring with our pairing software. Traditional one-on-one, group mentoring, peer-to-peer reverse mentoring, speed mentoring, etc.
We also have calendar integrations for scheduling meetings, and monitoring participants as the administrator.
Provide an overview of the timeline
At Together, we have an insight into how a successful mentoring program should progress. You should have an overview of when the program will start, how long it will run, and the time and effort you are putting into it.
You should also put the size, main outcome and next steps into the equation. We call this the Crawl, Walk, Run framework
Outline how you will track and measure success
Establishing the metrics to measure success is very important. How else will you defend the project or make other potential participants see how effective it is? Every proposal should include input (how it will be done) and output (the result and how you will measure it).
Here is where mentoring software will again come in handy. Together, mentoring software can give you reports on sign-ups, participation rates, goal completion, session feedback, pairing relevancy and lots more. You don’t have to do the back and forth of monitoring or recruiting people to do that for you. Everyone has enough work to do. Additionally, how do you monitor 20 people at a time?
Final thoughts: Build your mentorship program on Together
Here is a step-by-step guide to starting a mentoring program to get started. Together makes achieving all the milestones listed in your proposal easy.
Building your program on Together is the best way to run a successful mentoring program. Picture giving a report of success at the end of your first cohort. It is indeed achievable!