Implementing a Mentoring Program

Question:

What is the purpose of a mentoring program and how would I go about implementing one?

Answer:

A mentoring program can be a great example of a situation that’s a win-win-win within your organization. Typically in a mentoring relationship, a more experienced employee is paired up with a newer or less-experienced employee to share experiences, knowledge, and skills. As we all know, a huge generation of Baby Boomers is approaching retirement and getting ready to take their vast years of know-how and experience with them. The question for many companies is what to do when this generation leaves the workforce. Mentoring can often be a viable solution to the expected “brain drain” that is predicted to occur.

The benefits of a mentoring a program are many. The novice employee benefits from the knowledge and years of experience on-the-job imparted to them by the more senior employee. But surprisingly, a by-product of this pairing is that the senior employee often ALSO learns from this experience as they work with the more technologically-savvy junior employee who may have more recent and up-to-date knowledge of the industry. The senior employee also tends to feel that they are more valued by their organization by being asked to take on such “an important” role as mentor. The company benefits by the internal sharing of knowledge and further development of its employees without engaging in costly outside training.

Implementing such a program does require some planning and commitment on behalf of all parties. The program should be structured for what best fits your organization. You’ll need to determine the goals and objectives of your mentoring program. Is it coaching? Leadership skill building? Networking within the organization? You’ll need to plan for a mentoring schedule that doesn’t conflict with productivity. Does the work schedule allow for daily job shadowing or is an established afternoon a week more feasible? Will the participants still be able to complete their regular job duties, or do some things need to be reassigned? Commitment to the program is key. Often, the intentions for such a program are there, but as soon as things get busy, the program goes by the wayside. That is a lost opportunity for all involved. The company and employees must make the mentoring program a recognized part of the organization’s culture in order to reap all the benefits and make the program a success.

Training and development of your employees is a key factor in remaining competitive. Not only does it allow you to keep up technologically with other companies that compete with your services or products, but it also gives you the edge when recruiting or retaining employees. A mentoring program is a great way to get started with an “informal” type of training curriculum. Strategic HR, inc. has experience being mentored, directly providing mentoring to others and developing mentoring programs that can help you provide the best experience for your employees. Visit our Training & Development page to learn how we can assist you with a mentoring program or other types of training and development.