Implementing a Mentorship Program in the Workplace

ManagementMarch 09, 2023 10:00

Does your company want to significantly improve employee retention and engagement in 2023? Consider implementing a mentorship program! 92% of U.S. Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs which enabled them to combat the ‘quiet quitting’ trend and remain resilient during the Great Resignation.

Why does your company need a mentorship program?

Your company likely has a diverse workforce, with a mix of Baby Boomers, Gen Xs, Millennials, and Gen Zs. Throngs of fresh graduates are entering the workforce at a time when work norms are in constant flux after the Covid-19 pandemic. To top it all off, internships were either cancelled or conducted virtually due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Therefore, these fresh graduates would require guidance from experienced mentors in the early stage of their careers.

By implementing a mentorship program, your company will be able to successfully onboard new hires. New hires can become acquainted with your company policies and organisational processes more quickly if they have a mentor to consult with. The support they receive from an ongoing mentorship will enhance their job satisfaction as well as overall productivity.

Moreover, the program will help to increase your company’s retention rates. One of the two top reasons why employees resign is due to limited opportunities for career development. Your high-performing employees do not have to leave your company in order to pursue growth.

What attributes do your HR Department look out for in mentors?

In order for your mentorship program to succeed, mentors have to be carefully handpicked by your HR Department. It is necessary for these mentors to have the following attributes:

1. Have a Willingness to Mentor: Willingness and capability are two separate matters altogether. A manager may possess the relevant expertise and qualifications, but may not be enthusiastic about mentoring younger colleagues. The best mentors are those who have a generous spirit—and deeply desire to help others. They are willing to go the extra mile to share their experiences and realise the potential of their mentees.

2. Possess Excellent Communication Skills: Good mentors are adept in the art of establishing rapport with their mentees. Besides practising active listening, they should be able to provide honest and constructive feedback. Such feedback—interspersed with encouraging affirmations—will push their mentees out of their comfort zone to reach new heights.

How does your company ensure that your mentorship program is effective?

1. Set a Clear Objective: You must be clear on the primary goal of your mentorship program. Is it to supplement your company’s onboarding efforts, or to nurture high-performing employees for leadership positions? Depending on your objective, the employee demographics you are targeting will vary. Having this goal will also help you to evaluate the impact of your mentorship program afterwards.

2. Let Them Choose: At the end of the day, the mentor-mentee relationship is like any other human relationship—compatibility is key. Not only should the mentor have experiences which are in line with the mentee’s career vision, but their personality types should also complement each other. Let the mentees have some say in who their mentors are—and vice versa—by involving them in the selection process. If a pair is not working out, do not force the match; step in swiftly.

3. Provide Structure: For maximum efficacy, your mentorship program should have a solid framework in place. Conduct orientation sessions for mentors and mentees respectively. During these sessions, you can align expectations on various matters such as the frequency of mentoring sessions and communication protocols. This is to foster a culture of accountability.

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