Last week, we talked about 5 ways to start a mentorship program, and how companies are now fiercely competing to attract and keep the very best talent. We wanted to follow up with 3 quick and useful tips on how to ensure your program gets off to a successful start.
Here they are:
Market the benefits of your mentoring program consistently.
Even the most well-received mentorship program needs to be marketed consistently to its employees, to keep them engaged in the process. When programs are first launched, there tends to be a lot of enthusiasm around them, and both mentors and mentees are excited to partake. As time moves on, however, mentors may find it difficult to keep up with their added responsibilities and mentees may feel the same with the new commitments. A mentorship program, while exciting, is still new to everyone, so promoting its benefits with consistent messaging in and around your office is key. Invest in gauging whether your workforce is interested through email surveys and feedback sessions. The key is to convince your people that participating is worth their time and effort, so make sure your leaders are educated on the value of your program.
Choose your mentors wisely and equip them with the right tools.
Make sure you’re aware of what your mentors require in order to build successful relationships with their mentees. Having a solid base of mentors is what will keep your workforce engaged and motivated, so it’s important to work on recognizing the challenges and needs of your mentors, and how you can support them so that your program runs smoothly. Meet with your mentors regularly to understand their successes and struggles with their mentees. In many cases, you’ll find that mentors may have trouble due to limited time. Step-in to get a better understanding of how they can be more efficient, and think about implementing a recognition or rewards strategy that can act as a motivator.
Trust your mentees, too.
For your program to be productive, you have to remember that it may take longer than expected for things to ramp-up and really get going. Building trust in your mentors is important, but building that same level of confidence in your mentees is also crucial to ongoing success. Encourage mentees to get involved in the actual work it takes to keep the program running smoothly. When mentees feel like they are a part of the process, and play a role in scheduling or aligning on goals, they’ll become more inclined to meet mentors halfway. This will also encourage them to put work into building a great program that is beneficial to both sides. Ultimately, you’ll be inspiring mentees to build ongoing relationships with their management, which will have a positive impact – both immediately and in the longer term.
With the workplace dynamic constantly evolving, employers are finally being given the chance to tap into their team members to help transform it from the inside out. These valuable insights from the people that know you best will be highly beneficial to your business’ growth, so be sure to keep employees engaged consistently by marketing the benefits of your mentorship program and asking for employee feedback.