An employee mentoring program has many advantages to it. It differs from a traditional mentoring program as it's made of your internal and current employees. Many companies have yet to implement such a program into their culture as they feel like it might be too costly or take too much time. What they might not realize is that by creating an employee mentoring program they will actually be making an investment that will end up saving them more time and money. It's even been shown to increase transparency and retention rates.
An employee mentor program allows companies to utilize the resources they already have. It helps to save on cost rather than exhausting those resources to create or implement an external training program. In fact, a mentorship can build a healthy culture among employees and can be more efficient than some training programs. Some programs might be built to cover a wider range of tools rather than the trainee being able to have a more personalized introduction to the culture.
Starting an employee mentoring program is a lot simpler than it sounds. Let's break it down.
The first step is to establish what the end result to look like. What do you or your team hope to achieve? Will you have more efficient teams, new skills, increased accomplishments of individual projects? Determining the goal should require decision makers to look at different aspects of the big picture.
- What are the business goals?
- What's the current employee landscape?
- Where are the gaps?
- What employees have what skills?
- Who can work with who?
- What's your culture like?
- How can mentors help achieve goals?
- How will you measure success?
If the company has a more formal and structured environment you would want to implement deadlines, have a time limit set for mentoring partnerships etc and set up stricter guidelines. You need to cater the program specifically to what you are trying to accomplish. If you are teaching a specific set of skills you will have a different program than if you are trying to create new leaders. Try brainstorming a curriculum for the team to accomplish and have them set goals for what they want to see at the end of the partnership. Document everything so that employees and mentors know exactly what's expected.
Know Your Team
The second step would be to find suitable people to fit into the mentor role. You're creating future leaders for the company and some employees might be resentful of new hires. What you want them to understand is that these new hires are not there to take their jobs and they are not training their replacement. They will help the company grow, making projects more efficient, potentially having a lighter workload and even a faster track to promotion.
Before putting a mentoring program into gear, get the current leaders on board. By having the top dogs on board you help them to understand the benefits of such a program it would set the tone for the entire company. However, with that in mind, try to pick mentors that have volunteered for the position or who can fit comfortably into the role. Yes, your star employee might be your first initial choice, but you want to ask him/her if being a mentor is actually a role they want to fill.
Look for good Mentor Qualities
Keep in mind that there is a wide range of personalities across the board so when pairing these relationships up try to match accordingly. Many companies are starting to implement personality tests into their interview process, so a personality test could be a great way to start.
Look for mentors in people that are good at communication, have patience, are willing to let their mentees be hands-on, and are good listeners. Another thing to keep in mind when explaining new procedures to the current employees is to make sure there is an understanding that becoming a mentor does not make them a substitute boss, nor does it give them an excuse to do a poor job. Being a mentor is to pass on their excellence to the next person.
Another idea to keep in mind is to match up a team where both sides can learn from each other. While it may seem beneficial to link up like minds there is also much to gain from two people that have very different ideas. By having many ideas thrown onto the table there will be more creative brainstorming. A new and younger hire may have fresh ideas that a more seasoned employee might not have thought of.
Evaluate. Evaluate. Evaluate.
The third step is to constantly evaluate the progress and the end result. Will there be a formal time period for the relationship to end? Or would it be when all parties involved feel comfortable that they have learned what they could? Or will this be an informal lasting relationship? You also want to monitor the progress each team has achieved. Are they getting along? What can be improved? Take a look at metrics like the retention rate and the efficiency of the tasks they are currently working on. Ask each team to evaluate their experiences and to give feedback to each other.
Mentoring programs have so many benefits to them. New hires will be able to adapt to the company culture so much better than they would in a formal training program. By creating such a program for your company you will see an increase of confidence among your team of both entry level and senior employees. You will also see a higher standard being implemented as mentors will want to perform at their best for their mentees. A Vestrics study looked at the responses from 830 mentees and about 700 mentors involved in Sun Microsystems mentoring program. Retention increased greatly on both sides; 69% for the mentors and 72% for the mentees over the course of 7 years. It also resulted in savings of 6.7 billion.
For any additional questions or training options, you can request a demo on here or ask to speak a specialist. What are you waiting for? Get out that drawing board and start brainstorming your company’s new mentoring program!
Isabella Ang is a content marketing specialist at ProSky, a company that gives you the ability to innovatively evaluate candidates and develop employees through succession pathways, so you can recruit, hire, and retain the best diverse talent & culture fit. When she's not working on her next or ongoing projects for ProSky; she spends her days rock climbing, practicing yoga, completing her degree in Computer Science, and tutoring writing skills.