For most organisations starting a mentoring program will perhaps become the closest your organisation will ever get to making an HR decision that often has exclusively positive impact.
Mentoring can improve employee satisfaction and retention, enrich new-employee initiation, make your organisation more appealing to recruits, and train your leaders, and it’s almost free. Unlike similar learning incentives like internal training programs or external courses, mentoring works with the resources that your organisation already has.
Since 2002 I have worked with Mentoring. I have worked with: Internal, External, Diversity and Cross Mentoring Programs, and that within the private and public sector.
Starting a Mentoring Program: The first step anyone thinking about starting a mentoring program should take is to define what the objective of the program will be. If you are aiming for higher minority retention rates, your program will be structured differently than if you were trying to retain female managers, develop new leaders or welcome newcomers to your company.
Two vital factors when developing a program:
- Firstly, be certain that everyone in your company knows that a mentoring program is going on. The management of your company should play a role in this.
- Secondly, the programs should fits with your organisational culture. If your company is very formal, it is best to have a formal application process, minimum time requirements, and set durations for the mentoring relationship (best practice shows that effective mentoring programs runs for approximately a year). If your company is very informal and used to mentoring it may run to match people up and then let them take care of the logistics. Yet it is important to put at least minimal guidelines in place. From experience I have seen that if it is too informal, you as a company will not have any control and it will properly not run for long.
No matter what sort of mentoring program you want to set up, you need someone to manage the project and check-up on how well its guidelines are being followed. This often will be someone from HR.
When I set-up and guide on a mentoring program, I always work closely with the client, the aim is that the mentoring program become an internal learning approach and that it, in a durable way, is integrated into the organisational behaviour.
Currently I am working for the Copenhagen mayors office on the IBMP Program (International Business Mentoring Program) which I together with SpouseCare started in January 2013, click to read more: http://ibmp.dk