In-house corporate mentorship programmes provide a lot of value. It doesn’t go unnoticed. Tech-savvy human resources departments are quick to recognise the value of these programmes. A corporate mentorship program can improve competence as well as uniformity, but only when developed with the goal of increasing company-wide productivity.
Big Picture Awareness for First-Time Mentorship Developers
HR trainers and managers developing a mentorship programme 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 begin developing a successful programme that will improve productivity.
Mentorship Programme Design Blueprint
Before addressing the levels of experience and skill set differences, HR needs to design a mentoring framework which paves the way for the implementation of a mentorship programme plan. A corporate mentorship programme blueprint has the following elements:
- Programming: To be successful, HR programme developers must first determine the audience, goals, and format of the programme. Next, they need to develop the format with their audience and goals in mind. If, for example, the desired audience includes younger staff members, these staff members will need help to accelerate their understanding of company procedure and protocol. To be successful, a mentorship programme would be designed with that goal in mind.
- Recruiting: The simple solution is to make the mentorship programme 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 task with an open mind and greater enthusiasm. Rewards programmes are an effective means of marketing a programme 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 programme is in progress, not solely afterwards. Assessment tools can be used to both determine the competence of mentees along with the strengths and weaknesses of the programme as a whole.
Responsibilities of HR, Mentors, and Mentees
If an in-house corporate mentorship programme is to increase company productivity, efficiency, and profits, all participants (i.e. HR department, mentors, and mentees) should not only work to make the programme a success, but also share common goals.
Key Stakeholders in a Corporate Mentorship Programme
For this type of initiative to be successful, oftentimes stakeholders from varying departments and levels of seniority will need to be engaged.
- Programme Developers: A programme’s developers are responsible for determining the goals of the programme, developing a programme 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 programme, as their efforts determine whether or not the goals set by HR are met. As such, it is critical that a programme’s developers properly incentivise mentors to ensure mentees are competent once the programme 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 Programme
To simplify the process of developing a mentorship programme, its developers should keep in mind the purpose: to increase whole-company competence uniformity.
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