Learning and developing within a business or organisation should be constant. This is why mentoring has become a fundamental part of growth and an essential tool when it comes to managing an efficient and proactive team. Unlike many other training methods, mentoring has more of a one-on-one and personalised approach, making it an extremely effective and engaging process. For instance, studies have indicated that workers are 77% more likely to commit to their jobs if they are in a mentoring relationship.
Problems arise, however, went mentoring is introduced too eagerly without ensuring that your company has the structure and the means to carry out the programme correctly. It usually starts with shared enthusiasm which soon fizzles out due to lack of preparation and poor support.
The good news is that with just a little strategizing and pre-planning, a mentoring programme that’s successful and gives the results you were hoping for is completely possible.
Our suggestion is to run through the following 5 key points before you launch:
- Make Sure You Have the Support of Upper Management and Key Stakeholders
Having the support from the guys right at the top is vital. If the leaders are key advocates of mentoring and mentorship training, then the rest of the workforce is more likely to follow in the footsteps of their superiors. If the enthusiasm isn’t there, however, then don’t feel despondent. At this point, you can start compiling information and data on the advantages of mentoring and perhaps you can sell them on the case. In other words, you can create the hype!
By reviewing past performance reviews and exit interviews, you can determine which skill sets were lacking or were in need of development. Investigate which learning method would lead to the best improvements and if mentoring fits the bill, then you have some substantial points to take to key stakeholders. The more “evidence” you can supply them with, the more likely you are to win them over so that they will have your back 100%.
- Can Your Organisational Environment Accommodate Mentoring?
Once the guys at the top have given you sign-off, the next step is to determine whether your working environment is equipped enough to carry out the type of mentoring programme you have in mind. Will the employees welcome mentoring with open arms? Do they even know what mentoring is? What will be expected of the mentors as well as the mentees and are your goals attainable? Do you have a sufficient HR system in place to support this type of infrastructure?
Doing this type of groundwork will help you to prepare for answers that your team might have and it will also encourage you to form solutions to problems before they arise. It’s at this point that you might also want to try and round up some focus groups or informal groups sessions so that you can form an awareness of mentoring and its potential. Use the feedback you get to assess what preparation you can reinforce before going ahead. This is also a casual way to start whipping up enthusiasm for the programme and in essence, you will already have gotten the ball rolling.
- Have You Put Mentoring Objectives in Place?
You cannot make progress if you don’t know where you are heading. Mentoring objectives or attainable goals are of the utmost importance and if you don’t have them, your programme is likely to fall to the wayside very soon after implementation. Use the data you have collected to develop and communicate clear goals for your mentoring programme.
One very effective solution is to ask managers and lower level employees what they would like to see happen within the company. People are more likely to oblige and show enthusiasm in a project when they have helped to put the goals in place. If the workforce has a clear indication on why they are doing mentoring, there is a much better chance of attaining the results you had hoped for.
- Do Your Mentors Have Sufficient Training?
We’re not all natural teachers and we cannot assume that people will automatically know what is expected from them as a mentor. This means that one of the very first steps is to make sure that your managers are trained so that they can lead effectively. Bring in external reinforcements who can run workshops or if you’re on a budget, tap into online resources. The training does not need to be expensive or time-consuming, it simply needs to give individuals the tools and techniques they will need to follow through with their mentorship role accurately and confidently.
- How Do You Know If Your Mentoring Programme Is Working?
One part of a mentorship programme is to continuously make sure that you are moving closer to your goals and not losing the plot altogether. Once you have seen the progress you will also want to evaluate the effectiveness of your team’s achievements. This means that you need some accurate feedback and data to work with.
We suggest that you put an HR software system in place – if you do not already have one. While HR software is mainly designed to keep track of retention rates, performance rates, career moves, and the likes, you can also use it to log information that will give you an overall impression of the effectiveness of your mentorship programme.
Encourage mentees to complete a learning log so that they can monitor their own progress, highlighting which news skills have been developed and which ones are trickier to teach. Organise mini-meetings with managers too and make note of their feedback and grievances. An integration of factual and anecdotal verifications will help give you the evidence you need to show key stakeholders of the effectiveness of your training method, encouraging them to keep your programme running or to implement new ones once the first set of goals have been attained.
- Six Strategies For Building A Mentoring Program That Benefits People And Organizations. Forbes
- Being a mentee – How to Get The Most From Mentoring. Imperial College of Science, technology, and Medicine