Building a successful mentoring program isn’t a walk in the park. It requires a significant amount of coordination, a clear framework, and the right concoction of ingredients. To ensure that you have all of these ingredients covered, here is your pre-launch mentoring program checklist.
I have condensed this checklist into a handy one-sheet here, if you would prefer to skip the reading today and reference something as you move along and build your program.
1. Define purpose of the program and create objectives
Launching a mentoring program is no different to launching a marketing campaign or recruitment push. You must define the purpose of your efforts and create clear objectives:
*Learning and development → Help your employees better reach their personal development goals
*Diversity and inclusion → Increase female representation by 10% over the next 2 years at the management and executive level
*Succession planning → Promote 20% more internal employees over the next year – rather than hire outside personnel
*Retention → Increase retention rates by 10% over the next 2 years
Now that you have outlined a purpose and attached objectives to that purpose – you can run pre-program surveys and reports and measure against them at the end of your program – proving program outcomes.
2. Create clear criteria for mentor-mentee matching
What makes a good mentor-mentee match? That depends on your objectives outlined above. If you are looking to improve succession planning, then matching based on current skills and levels of experience makes sense (i.e connecting employees who have strategic planning skills and 3 years experience with employees who have strategic planning skills and 15 years of experience); if you are matching to improve culture and internal knowledge share, then you will want to match people with different skillsets in different divisions.
You can create effective and productive matches based on any criteria – but make sure you know what these criteria are going into the matching process.
3. Create and collate supporting resources and content
Many of your employees haven’t ever been involved in a formal mentorship, which means they don’t really know what to expect, nor how to get the most out of the experience. This is where content and resources play a huge role in success. Providing mentors and mentees with contextual content enable them to improve their mentoring experiences and achieve better outcomes.
Download the Mentorloop goal-setting framework here to see how contextual and informative resources can help.
4. Demo mentoring software
No matter how big or small your program and program budget is, or how central mentoring is to your overall strategic goals, you should should look into how mentoring software can help you. It can make all of these steps far easier; reduce the admin burden and effort of program coordination 10-fold; and improve employee outcomes and the effectiveness of the entire program. You can request a demo of Mentorloop here to see the benefits of mentoring software first-hand.
5. Create program measurement and reporting tools
If you choose not to use a software platform for coordinating your program, you will have to construct more manual methods of measuring and reporting on program outcomes. You can use online survey tools to run pre-launch and post-launch participant surveys, as well as keep tabs on the number of in-face meetings employees conduct to roughly measure engagement.
However you choose to go about keeping tabs on the program and employee engagement, don’t just start and end the program with no means of knowing whether it was a failure or success.
6. Decide on the method of dissemination of these materials
All of the supporting materials, content, surveys, reports, and your communication to employees is going to have to go through a communication channel. Some organisations use their company intranets; some use email; some use Google docs; and all of our clients use efficient mentoring software. Whatever you choose, keep it consistent and structured.
7. Generate awareness via internal marketing resources
Once you have all of these steps ‘figured out’ and ready to implement, it’s time to draw attention to the fact that you are running your mentoring program – and to inspire your employees to get involved. After all, your mentoring program won’t be very successful if your employees aren’t excited about it – or worse – don’t even know about it.
We have some great internal marketing resources to gauge and increase program participation. Contact me if you would like to discuss some proven solutions.
Ready or not, here launch comes.
Even if you run an always-on company mentoring program, it is good practice to re-visit all of these steps to ensure that your program has the right infrastructure, purpose, and measurable outcomes.
And as more and more employees focus on personal development and career progression i.e 75% of millennials deem mentoring critical to their success, you may just find that refreshing your program and running an internal marketing campaign may make it possible to scale your program beyond the traditional 100 people or 200 people cohort – and make mentoring and integral part of your culture.
Still not sure what a great mentoring program looks like? Check out some of the best mentoring programs in the business including Intel, KPMG and Zynga.
Again, here is the checklist in one-sheet format for your reference.
Best of luck! And don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any help along the way.