• Estelle Roux-Stevens

How to start mentoring

Mentoring is a proven approach to increasing skills, knowledge and development while helping progression, both professionally and personally. 97 percent of people with mentors feel they provide value. At a business level, 93 percent of SMBs say mentoring helps them succeed, according to Sage.com.

The benefits of mentoring are two-fold: it provides employees with insight, feedback and the confidence needed to progress up the career ladder. On the other side of the coin, organisations increase their retention rate, develop future managers and overall employee satisfaction.

If you’re a company and have thought about introducing a mentoring programme, knowing where to start can be tricky if you have no previous knowledge. We’ve put together four essential tips to start a high-level programme and increase employee happiness and development.

#1 Create a framework for your mentoring programme

Before getting into the meat and bones of your programme, it’s a good idea to run through the basics. How long do you want the programme to last between potential mentors and mentees? What will the frequency of contact be like between participants, and how will meetings take place?

It’s vital to find the balance so the programme is long enough to help mentees progress, but doesn’t last so long that they get bored. The framework that you create doesn’t need to be set in stone - leave some room for flexibility for natural evolution.

#2 Make people aware and think about mentors

It’s all well and good having a programme, especially if there is demand from employees, but you still need to make sure that everyone is aware. Set a schedule to promote the programme, as what initially seemed like enthusiasm from staff might not necessarily translate into sign ups.

Think about the mentos too, and how they will fit into the programme. Many mentors work to busy schedules, which means that you need to create an all-round experiences that works for everyone. Of course, there are professional mentoring companies that remove many of these complexities.

#3 Connect mentors and mentees

You have built the framework, promoted the programme and have the mentors on board - now it’s time to connect the teacher with the student. There needs to be synergy between mentors and mentees so they form a bond and extract the most out of each other.

Decide how you will match mentors with mentees. Will you give them a say in the process, or will it be based on the attributes that you think are best suited from both sides? Explore all the possible match combinations before settling on which mentors will match with mentees.

#4 Provide opportunities for feedback

To get the most out of the programme, you need to create an atmosphere where both mentor and mentee can speak freely about the experience. Allow them to express what they found helpful, what didn’t work and where improvements might be made.

Explore the option of getting someone who is not involved in the programme and can therefore be objective and provide feedback. Doing so will likely make employees feels more comfortable about sharing their experiences.

Think about creating a survey for mentees to fill out upon completion of the programme. Ask whether they felt it met their goals and if they achieved what they set out to do upon signing up. Be open to ideas and feedback on how the programme could be improved.

Just do it!

Mentoring is a fundamental strategy to increase overall effectiveness in the workplace. It’s not as simple as just matching mentor to mentee, however. There are many nuances that go into the makeup of a great programme. Get it right and you will put your organisation and its employees on a one-way street to success.

Mentorjam provides specific tracks that champion employee development, all the way from “hire to retire”. Track templates mean business can easily start a programme, while bespoke options allow for specific catering to a company’s needs. Head over to the Mentorjam website to find out more.