You understand the power of mentoring and you know your company will benefit from a formalized mentoring program. Congratulations! You’re already ahead of the game.However, building a network that provides value and meaningful results can be challenging. Alleviating some of the most significant challenges that mentorship programs face today takes strategic preparation and planning.
Establishing guidelines, appropriately matching mentees with mentors, and tracking program results are major challenges professionals face when embarking on establishing a mentor network at their company.
So how do you build a mentoring program that will have a sustainable impact?
Here are 4 tips to guide you as you look to introduce a mentoring network at your company:
#1: Determine Your "Why"
What do you want to achieve through a mentorship network and what does success look like?
Maybe you want to create an online network to provide a place where young women in your organization serves can easily find and connect with senior-level women.
Starting with your “why” is critical as this will act as your compass for important decision making, like which tools to use, throughout the mentor network creation process.
#2: Recruit Enthusiastic and Diverse MentorS
For mentoring programs to thrive, you need solid mentor/mentee relationships. Identify and recruit target mentors who will be reliable, enthusiastic, and responsive. Selecting experts with a variety of backgrounds and skills will also help to better engage a broader group of learners early on.
#3: Give Mentees the Reins
Traditionally, formal mentorship programs involve the manual matching of a
mentor and mentee based on a brief survey or questionnaire. That pair is then
expected to fall in love and spend the next six months to a year in mentorship
In today’s on-demand and ever-changing world, one mentor doesn’t (nor should they!) have all of the answers. As a result, the forced match loses steam after a few meetings or perhaps never gets going at all.
Most mentees know what they need and are most interested in connecting with someone who can help them with that challenge and to grow in that specific area. That doesn’t mean that mentoring is always intuitive.
Deliberate Directions, a consulting agency who provide one-to-one executive and leadership coaching offers this advice: “Start by helping employees network inside your company. Encourage all employees, especially junior employees, to come to your potlucks and after-work events. Introduce them to your experienced staff and help them get to know each other.”
Give your mentees the power to find the right mentor by creating a program or activities that supports that approach.
#4: Lean Into Technology
Traditional face-to-face formal interactions and manual matching programs have limitations that technology helps overcome.
Through new technologies, today’s online mentoring networks are allowing “mentoring” to occur in new and more appropriate ways. Think video chats, advanced mentee-mentor matching, and mobile-friendly interfaces.
Leaning into these new technologies will help you alleviate some of the most significant challenges that mentorship programs face today like adapting to the new globalized workforce, recruiting and retaining millennials, and rigid, one-size-fits-all networks.
Identifying and choosing the right mentoring network system for your needs can be daunting. That’s why we created a modern mentoring guide to help you navigate and build an online mentoring program that actually works. This guide shows you exactly what you need to know to design an effective mentorship program.
Interested in leaning into technology and learning how online mentoring networks are helping companies, just like yours, launch sustainable mentoring networks? Schedule a demo with one of our experts today!