This post is the second of a 2 part series on mentorship programs. If you missed the first one, you can read it by clicking here.
In our first post, we talked about the positive impact mentorship programs can have on an organization and its people. With that said, it may seem like a daunting task to start a program like this- after all, you are putting together a program to effectively enhance the overall employee experience and support organizational growth. Not to worry though, there are some fairly straightforward steps you can take to get started, and while there are lots of options when it comes to these programs in terms of technology and consultants, starting one doesn't have to be overly complex.
1.) Organize Initial Mentors & Mentees - If you're just starting out, the first step would be to find out who, within your organization, would be interested in mentoring employees. It's important for these mentors to understand that there is a commitment involved and there are mentees counting on them. Once you have your first round of mentors on the roster, you're going to want to set up a way for your employees to apply, register, etc. for this program. After you have your list of mentors and mentees set up, you can pair them. This is easier said than done. There are a lot of factors that go into this but keep it simple at first. As we noted in the last post, mentorship is a two-way street so it should be mutually beneficial for both. The information shared, questions asked, advice given/sought should line up to the expectations and the goals of the program.
2.) Establish Goals - A mentor is someone that is going to push someone to be their best self, accentuate strengths, and help build self-awareness around areas for improvement. Mentees can bring new perspectives to established ideas, process, etc. Both parties should find value in the relationship and having general goals outlined to help hone in on what's important to both. What this meeting should NOT turn into is a "touch-base" which simply checks the box for both parties. There should be topics of the discussion agreed to beforehand- just coming in to chat usually turns into a waste of time and when that happens, you're going to get complaints from mentors and mentees. Goals help keep everyone on track and accountable.
3.) Meeting Cadence - The regular cadence of contact should not be taken lightly. These mentor/mentee relationships should be a priority for both. It's very easy to send an email asking to reschedule, but it's something that should be a very last resort. The purpose of creating this program is to take your human capital to the next level - to invest in the future. If that investment isn't being made or is being delayed, it's only doing your organization a disservice.
4.) Let it Happen Organically too - The reality is that mentorship is probably happening naturally on a daily basis, and that's a good thing! Sometimes mentors and mentees find each other without a formal program. Some of your mentors and mentees from your formal program will continue the conversation long after the program is complete. These are all great things that are going to make your organization exponentially stronger.
We hope this blog series has been helpful to you in taking the first steps towards getting a mentorship program in place or possibly enhancing something existing! If you have any thoughts or comments, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our contact form here
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