Creating a strong mentor program can improve retention of top candidates and make your company more attractive to job seekers. PrideStaff Financial explains how to get started.
Lay the foundation.
When putting together a mentoring program, managers and HR staff should define what the objective of the program will be. If you are aiming for higher retention rates, your program will be structured differently than if you are trying to develop leaders, teach a specific skill or welcome millennials to the company. Lay your foundation first; then figure out what the goals of the program will be before taking the next step.
Styles of mentoring.
Some companies use group mentoring, others use peer mentoring. No matter what type of mentoring program you want to build, always consider bringing in an expert to facilitate the program. There are multiple options for partnering mentors and mentees. You can pull together lower-level employees to teach higher-level employees in reverse mentoring, use what’s called “flash” mentoring or simply use one-to-one mentoring—which is also the most common. If a pair doesn't click, set up a way for people to opt out of the mentoring relationship without burning bridges or hurting feelings. One way to do this is to set up an evaluation period after the mentor partnership begins. Have some backup mentors in the wings, in case people need to be repaired.
Explain and manage expectations.
For your new program to work, you must explain what mentoring is, how it is going to work and make sure you have buy-in from those you are asking commitment from. Leaders in your company need to make it clear they think the program is important, and make sure they participate in the program themselves as well as encouraging other people to participate. Find people in your company who are willing to share mentoring experiences that have made a positive impact on their careers. Also make sure mentor and mentee set up short-term and long-term goals; what skills specifically the mentee wants to work on; use a journal for documentation; and build in some role-playing and feedback sessions.
When you set goals, find a way to measure whether the program is making progress towards those goals. Ask mentors and mentees how their experiences are going. Look at productivity and measurable improvement in the areas the program was targeting for your company.
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