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Necessary Initial Steps for Setting Up a Mentoring Program for Your Organization

Have you been charged with setting up a mentoring program for your organization? There is a lot to think about when you undertake such an initiative. I have seen mentoring programs that aren’t successful because there was never any communication within the organization as to the purpose of the mentoring program. Like any other well-run program, there is some up front work which needs to be done to ensure the success of the program.

Take the time to do the up-front due diligence.  Here are some steps to take to get yourself started on rolling out a mentoring program within your organization:

  • Capture and share with others the objectives of the mentoring program.
    • There are likely stakeholders who charged you with setting up a mentoring program – who are they? What do they want to see as the outcome of the mentoring program? What are their ultimate goals?  Capture their objectives along with thoughts from potential mentors and mentees and business unit/department heads.
  • List the benefits of the mentoring program for the mentors, the participants (mentees) and the organization as a whole.
  • How will you conduct the mentoring program? Think about the purpose of the mentoring program and what suits the mentors and mentees.
    • One-on-one mentoring
    • Group mentoring
    • Via a virtual platform (works well if you have a global organization and you want mentors and mentees to be paired up from different geographical locations)
  • Have a plan in place for the following:
    • Criteria to be used to select mentors
      • Will there be a nomination or another application process?
      • Will selection be made by executives in the organization?
    • Criteria to be used to select mentees
      • Will there be a nomination or another application process?
      • Will their immediate managers select them?
    • Criteria to be used to match mentees with mentors
    • What support is needed by the mentees’ immediate managers in the mentoring program
    • What support is needed by Human Resources
    • An orientation program for mentors, mentees and their immediate managers to discuss the objectives of the mentoring program and answer any questions/concerns they may have about the program or their participation
    • An evaluation plan to follow up on progress, include frequently – weekly? monthly? quarterly?
      • Surveys
      • Questionnaires
      • One-on-one interviews
    • A recognition and reward plan for mentors and mentees
  • How will you roll out the program to the organization, including providing information on how they might participate in the program?
    • Company intranet site/portal
    • Newsletter
    • Email
    • Webinar
    • Virtual session
    • “lunch and learn” session
  • How will support be provided to the participants (mentors and mentees) in the program?
    • Program guidelines
    • Weekly meetings
    • Collaboration portal
    • Leadership council
  • What positions/opportunities are available for mentees to help them grow within the organization?
    • Is there enough available for growth?
    • Is there an option for new opportunities to be created?
    • Is there an option for global movement?
  • How will you gauge the effect of the program on mentors and mentees?
    • Effect on attitude? Effect on behavior? Accomplishments attributable to mentoring program?
  • How will you gauge the benefits to the organization that is attributable to the mentoring program?
    • Increase in productivity?
    • Increase in retention rate?
    • Reduction in costs?
    • Improved client satisfaction?
    • Improved morale?
    • Improved employee engagement?
    • Other measures?

The above provides you some initial questions to be asked and plans to consider developing prior to the roll out of the mentoring program.  The more up-front planning done, the likely you are to roll out a program that is well thought out and meets the needs of the organization, the mentors and the mentees – and will be successful!

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