Mentorship is extremely valuable across all sectors. A good mentor provides the opportunity to learn from others, become more empowered to make decisions, develop communication skills and much more. Although employees can seek mentors outside your business, having an internal mentorship programme is very useful.
Where to Start
Before setting up your mentorship programme, it will be necessary to get executives and stakeholders on board with the plan. Think carefully about the goals of the programme and how it can benefit both the company and employees. Consider your outcomes and present them clearly to ensure that others understand how beneficial it will be.
You will need to develop a pairing strategy to decide who will be paired with whom. Rather than considering individuals, decide on a strategy that works across the board. For example, how will employees enter the programme – will there be a milestone/seniority level that they need to hit? Or will the programme be open to all? Which teams will be part of the programme? What level of seniority will the mentors need to be?
It can become a large job to manually pair mentees and mentors, so one good idea is to keep a record of roles that potential mentors have done so that mentees can be paired with someone relevant quickly and easily.
For your mentorship programme to be successful, you can’t just pair people off and leave them to it. It is important to have a plan in place to make sure that:
- Mentors and mentees meet frequently
- Mentors and mentees have the right conversations
Putting a handbook together to guide employees through the process is helpful here and ensure that you follow up with them regularly to make sure that everything is going smoothly. Remember that some pairings just won’t work – be open to changing pairings during the programme if necessary.
Without guidance surrounding the types of conversations that mentors and mentees should have, your mentorship programme will not be anywhere near as beneficial as it could be. Be sure to follow these steps:
- Encourage mentees to set goals which they can discuss with their mentors
- Provide a list of questions (for both mentors and mentees) to help guide discussions
- Ask mentees and mentors to agree actions to take before the next meeting
Putting Your Plan in Place
When you have an organised, comprehensive plan for your mentorship programme, you will need to find some advocates. These are people who will take part in the programme from the beginning and drive awareness of it throughout the company. Make sure that you review the programme periodically and gather (and listen to) feedback from anyone who has taken part.