In-house corporate mentorship programs provide a lot of value. It doesn’t go unnoticed. Tech-savvy human resources departments are quick to recognize the value of these programs. A corporate mentorship program can improve competence as well as uniformity. But, only when developed with the goal of increasing company-wide productivity.
These are key measurements of success for a mentorship program — regardless of whether there is consonance between employees with respect to understanding and implementing company policy, protocol, and procedure.
Big Picture Awareness for First-Time Mentorship Developers
HR trainers and managers developing a mentorship program need to be aware of the differences between employees. In particular, they should be aware of their age range. It is not uncommon for a company to have employees with widely varied experience levels and skill sets. Only when the age, experience, and skill set differences of employees is known, can an HR department can begin developing a successful program that will improve productivity.
Mentorship Program Design Blueprint
Before addressing the levels of experience and skill set differences, HR needs to design a mentoring framework. Such a framework would allow for the implementation of a mentorship program plan. A corporate mentorship program blueprint has the following elements:
- Programming: To design a successful program, HR program developers must first determine the audience, goals, and format of the program. Next, they need to develop the format with the audience and goals in mind. For example, the audience is younger staff members. These staff members need to accelerate their understanding of company procedure and protocol. As a result, the corporate mentorship program is designed with that goal in mind.
- Recruiting: The simple solution is to make the mentorship program mandatory for a particular demographic of the company and assign those employees to more experienced employees. However, voluntary recruits — both mentors and mentees — are more likely to approach the program with an open mind and greater enthusiasm. Rewards programs are an effective means of marketing a program that garners strong interest and generates participation.
- Matching: There are two options for matching: self-matching and administration-determined matching. It can be less productive to permit employees to determine mentor-mentee partnerships. Particularly in small and medium size enterprises in which HR is familiar with the skill sets of each mentee and mentor, it is best if pairs are matched with productive learning in mind, as opposed to partnership amiability.
- Exercise and Assessment: Assessment should occur as the mentorship program is in progress, not solely afterward. Assessment tools can be used to both determine the competence of mentees along with the strengths and weaknesses of the program as a whole.
Responsibilities of HR, Mentors, and Mentees
In order for an in-house corporate mentorship program to increase company productivity, efficiency, and profits, all participants (i.e. HR department, mentors, and mentees) should not only work to make the program a success but also share common goals.
Key Stakeholders in a Corporate Mentorship Program
In order for this type of initiative to be successful within an organization, oftentimes stakeholders from varying departments and levels of seniority will need to be to be engaged.
- Program Developers: A program’s developers are responsible for determining the goals of the program, developing a program oriented to the achievement of those goals, and deciding a means of assessing success or failure.
- Mentors: Mentors are the most critical component of a mentorship program, as their efforts determine whether or not the goals the HR department sets are met. As such, it is critical that a program’s developers provide proper motivation for mentors to ensure mentees are competent once the program is complete.
- Mentees: The litmus test for success or failure of a mentorship program is the mentee group. They, too, have responsibilities. Again, it is important that the HR department provides proper motivation for the mentee group to achieve competence.
Targeting the Goal of a Mentorship Program
To simplify the process of developing a mentorship program, its developers should keep in mind the purpose of this program: to increase whole-company competence uniformity.