Mentoring is a great option for those who are looking to promote cultural and commercial growth. It taps directly into and then inspires the further development and sharing of relevant expertise and experience that can already exist in an organisation. Those companies who invest in mentoring find that they see improvements in employee retention and satisfaction, interpersonal skills, communication skills and transfer of knowledge, amongst other benefits. Many mentors agree that there are 5 pillars of mentorship, so let’s take a look at them.
The program is championed from the top
In this pillar, the mentoring program is championed by those in leadership positions within the company, they endorse and embrace it. They themselves have mentors, and they also mentor others. They also believe that mentoring is important for both personal and professional development.
These individuals play an important role within the enterprise mentoring program and give their weight to:
- ensuring the program is seen as a priority – they understand the benefits and want to share this
- legitimise the program by lending a sense of respect to it.
- Being available for any key events and engaging with all employees during the program. They also speak out about ROI in the program.
The program is planned strategically
Good initiatives don’t just happen. They are carefully planned out and have measurable and specific outcomes. There should be a robust planning process to make certain that the effort and energy within the program is maintained over the years rather than fizzling out over a matter of months. This planning should also account for the seamless running of the program across the company.
The program should be measured and defined
You need to work out what measures matter to your organisation. Any outcomes must be articulated clearly so that an ROI can be measured across the organisation. Some measures are calculable and empirical, whilst the rest will be anecdotal by nature.
You need to have a system that will capture and then report on these measures to help refine the process whenever there are new participants in the program. This will help with regular reviews.
Training for participants
Mentoring programs often fail because it is believed that pairing a mentor and a mentee is enough. It is important to ensure that you provide introductory and then ongoing skill development to both parties. When they have the proper training, this gives everyone:
- A message of commitment
- A consistency of approach
- A quality of delivery
- Enhanced relational capability
- Very clear expectations.
The program should be supported by processes and systems
Within the HR of many companies, you will find frameworks, processes and tools which can capture and then support employee development needs. These are things that can be used within any mentoring program in order to ensure that there is no isolation and that there is efficiency in the way individuals are processed and the program is deployed.
The right tools, procedures and policies can assist in reducing cost and time within your program and help improve the mentorship experience.