Before starting (or reinvigorating) your mentoring program, it is a good idea to put a mentoring program proposal together. This proposal helps to outline the important elements of your mentoring program – and showcase to upper management and other colleagues the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of mentoring.
To give you a push in the right direction, here is our simple mentoring program proposal framework. This framework captures all of the detail needed to prove that your program is well thought out – and valuable for your organisation and people.
Section 1: WHY MENTORING?
When creating any proposal, the first thing you want to cover is the value proposition i.e what’s in it for me/us?
This value proposition serves to quickly and succinctly describes the purpose and benefits of the proposed activity.
Speaking to the value proposition of mentoring is easy, given the extensive and various studies which have showcased it’s consistent and reliable value in the workplace.
For inspiration, we compiled a list of 40 mentoring program benefits, and have already completed this section for you in the presentation template – which speaks to some highly convincing stats e.g:
- Managerial productivity increased by 88% when mentoring was involved, versus only 24% with training alone
- 71% of Fortune 500 companies run mentoring programs
- Retention rates have been much higher for mentees and mentors (72% and 69%) than for employees not involved in mentoring programs (49%)
Section 2: PROGRAM GOALS & OBJECTIVES
The next part of your proposal should cover the program goals and objectives. One of the natural questions that proposal readers are going to be asking is what are the objectives of this program? What can we hope to get out of it?
Some natural macro level program goals for mentoring programs are:
- Learning and development
- Diversity and inclusion
- Engagement and retention
- Succession planning/leadership development
- Employee onboarding
- Building a better culture (a culture of knowledge sharing)
Stating these macro goals is necessary – but not sufficient for satisfying upper management. They want to see measurable objectives tied to these goals e.g.:
- Promote 50% more managers internally over the next two years (which is tied closely to leadership development)
- Increase our share of minority managers by 10% over the next 2 years (tied to diversity and inclusion)
These goals help managers and ROI driven stakeholders to see the value of mentoring and feel comfortable in the notion that there will be tangible results.
Section 3: PROGRAM ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES
This section of your proposal is self-explanatory but incredibly important to getting your proposal across the line.
One of the first things people are worried about when you propose anything is “what do I have to do?”.
The sooner you can clear this up – the better. Let everyone know who will be taking care of and overseeing program administration and participant success.
But also make sure to state the divisions or groups of employees who are slated to be involved. What are the expectations on these mentors and mentees? What will they be responsible for doing?
Section 4: SELECTION CRITERIA & MATCHING METHOD
Now that you have covered the what and why – it’s time to dive into the how.
And the how starts with what employees, students, or members will be involved – and how they will be matched into their mentorships.
You will want to cover the size and scale of your program (is it for 100 people or 500 people?), and cover what criteria you are using for selecting suitable mentors and mentees:
- Is this program intended for sales people?
- Is the program intended for new hires?
- What types of mentors are you looking for?
Then briefly cover how and by what criteria people will be matched. Will you be matching people based on years of experience and skillset? Or based on interests and desired outcomes?
Describe the thought process behind the matching.
Section 5: PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION
This section of your proposal is pure logistics.
- When is the program going to begin?
- How long will the program run for?
- How much time and effort will be required on your part?
- Do you need a budget/some money? (if you’re using mentoring software etc.)
Make sure to clarify the stages of implementation – and any of the support or resources you will need a long the way.
Section 6: SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS & RESOURCES
This section of the proposal allows you to elaborate on your goals and showcase some of the resources which will help you get there.
Are you going to be incorporating goal-setting resources into the program? And meeting checklists? Or are supplemental training courses going to be involved?
This area helps to clarify how you will provide a great experience (and productive one) for your mentors and mentees.
Section 7: PROGRAM EVALUATION
All of this is great, but at the end of the day, management will want to know how they are going to be able to judge success and ROI.
If you are unsure as to how you will evaluate your mentoring program – we wrote a great article about some simple ways to track mentoring program success here.
While mentoring is a great initiative in theory i.e providing employees with a channel for developing their skills, confidence, and progress, it is extremely important to show management that you are thinking about this program in terms of ROI.
Every proposal you ever put together should be framed around:
This input (the proposed activity) = this output (and here is how we will evaluate it).
This way, you instantly avoid the obvious objections – and are more likely to push your program through to fruition.