Organizations worldwide are witnessing challenging times, and in this melee, employees are often left directionless with no one to turn to for information and support. This often leads to attrition that can cost an organization anywhere between 30-200 percent of the employee’s annual salary. As a result, it becomes pertinent for organizations to consider developing a mentoring program that gives direction and support to employees when they need it. It may seem easier said than done, however, these essential elements of a mentoring program can turn it from being good enough to great, and help reduce the draining of talent from an organization.
First of all, the objectives of the mentoring program need to be properly defined. Start with defining why does your organization need a mentoring program, to begin with. The program definitions must incorporate and align with every business goal that you wish to achieve from it. Every necessary resource must be earmarked along with the cost of implementing it so that it becomes easier for the decision makers to act on it quickly.
On-site or online program
Mentoring programs have different types, such as senior to junior employee mentoring, peer mentoring, group mentoring, etc. Each type comes with a different requirement of resources and expected results for the employees and the organization. However, the most important factor to consider is that there should be clear design and structure to the program with well-defined timelines for implementation and follow up on the progress.
Define leadership roles
Mentoring can have a far-reaching impact on the organization by not only helping the mentees perform better but also by building a leadership pipeline comprising of the mentors. If it is enforced, mentoring will fail to deliver the desired results. However, a lack of clearly defined leadership to spearhead the mentoring initiative can also result in the same. So, it’s always better to have a program manager or coordinator to lead the initiative, and volunteers who are willing to mentor their peers or colleagues.
Implementing the program
Simply instituting the program will not draw employees towards it, it will have to be promoted internally as well. The rewards and benefits that employees can expect from the program should be clearly outlined. Employees must also be made aware of how to enroll in the program. Mentors must also be provided with proper guidance and training in their roles and responsibilities to ensure the success of the program.
Evaluating the program
Periodic feedback from both mentors and mentees is essential to ensure that the program is on-track with its objectives. Programs coordinators must gather the relevant data to ensure that any course correction that may be required is implemented at the earliest to avoid any unfavorable outcomes.
Informal mentoring happens all the time in every organization. However, a formal mentoring program can help ensure that the benefits of mentoring for the mentors, mentees and the organization can be measured in a quantifiable manner. Mentoring programs come in different shapes and sizes for different organizations, and there is a substantial scope of flexibility in program design and implementation. Mentoring happens all the time on an informal basis in any organization. However, giving a formal structure ensures that there are quantifiable benefits for all individuals involved in the process.