Mentoring programs can help your business by providing assistance and a positive role model for new and current employees. Mentoring can aid your employee recruitment and retention and provides you with a way to tap into the knowledge and experience of your existing employees and use this to train new employees. There is no single correct structure for a mentoring program. The structure of your program will depend on your company culture and on the goals you want to achieve.
The first step is to define the objectives of your mentoring program, such as developing leaders, helping junior employees or retaining employees. For example, the Texas Library Association runs a mentoring program pairing new librarians with experienced professionals. The structure of the mentoring program should fit in with the culture of your company. For example, in formal companies, the program should have strict guidelines and procedures, while mentoring programs can be more employee-led in informal companies. Human Services consultant Barbara Adolf suggests, in an Inc. article, that even informal programs must have some guidelines setting out mentoring goals and practices.
One of the most important parts of a mentoring program is pairing mentors with mentees. The structure of your program must include a way of matching partners so that they are able to work well together. You may choose to have application forms for both mentors and mentees and match them based on criteria such as what they want to get out of the program or what they have in common. For example, McGraw-Hill matches mentors and mentees based on a questionnaire, a phone interview, and a committee recommendation. Other companies present mentees with several options of mentor and let them choose the one they think will be the best match.
The mentoring program should be formatted to allow both a preparation phase and a closing phase. In the preparation phase, mentor and mentee should discuss their goals, how long they want the relationship to last and what they each want to gain from the program. They should then set tasks for achieving their goals. During the program, the mentor provides feedback and helps the mentee to stay on target for achieving his or her goals. At the end of the program, mentor and mentee should meet and discuss what each achieved and what the next step should be.
Your mentoring program structure should include some type of monitoring process. This will help you to make sure that everyone is getting the most out of the program. This process can be included as part of the structure: for example, by having mentor and mentee fill out a survey at the end of the program detailing whether or not they achieved their initial goals. If your mentoring program is targeting a certain area, such as increasing productivity or retaining women employees, your program should also include a way to measure these outcomes.