How To Benefit From Mentorship Programs

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated January 26, 2021 | Published January 3, 2020

Updated January 26, 2021

Published January 3, 2020

Having a mentor can boost career outcomes and improve your overall job satisfaction. Many people do not know where to look for a mentor, so having a way to find a mentor who is willing can make a big difference. Some companies have implemented mentorship programs for their employees, providing direct access to experienced professionals who want to serve as mentors for the next generation. In this article, we will discuss how to start a mentorship program that benefits employees.

What are mentorship programs?

Mentorship programs connect individuals looking to gain more experience with seasoned professionals to provide opportunities to learn and develop skills that can help them move forward in their careers. Mentorship programs are often available through colleges and universities, and organizations that encourage professional growth and development. Both people involved in a mentor-protégé relationship typically benefit as they share their goals and values in a supportive, respectful way.

When a company invests in a mentorship program for its employees, that organization is showing its commitment to those who want to learn and improve their skills. A successful program can create more opportunities for success among individuals of all skill levels and ages. Entry-level employees can learn a great deal from those at higher levels in their careers, but that learning does not stop at the protégé. Mentors often find that they can learn from those who they provide mentoring services to, especially when they work with individuals from different generations.

Implementing a mentorship program can make a business more appealing to recruits, as it is a unique benefit that is not available everywhere. Setting up this program can also provide additional benefits, such as:

  • Developing opportunities to move employees up and help them advance their careers

  • Building strong relationships between employees at various skill levels

  • Providing the chance for a skilled employee to share their experience and knowledge with another person

  • Exploring different skills, abilities and career possibilities

  • Breaking down stereotypes between entry-level and higher-level employees

Related: Top 10 Career Development Goals

How to start mentorship programs

When establishing a mentorship program for employees, you can follow these steps to increase your chances of success.

  1. Identify the objective of the program.

  2. Determine who will use the program.

  3. Establish mentoring goals.

  4. Decide on a mentoring model.

  5. Request support from potential mentors.

  6. Set up a communication system.

  7. Spread awareness about the program.

1. Identify the objective of the program

The first step in creating a successful mentorship program is identifying the objective. This objective will depend on the goals of the organization, as well as the levels of employees who will use it. For example, a company that focuses on providing opportunities to military veterans might have an objective to connect veterans from the same branches of the military or who fought in the same battles. In most cases, the general objective of a mentoring program is to encourage professional development and growth. Narrowing down the objective to meet the needs of your specific organization can make the program more beneficial to those who take advantage of it.

2. Determine who will utilize the program

After you define your objective, the next step is outlining which employees in the organization are most likely to use this resource. Those who want to work with a mentor are typically lower-level employees who have a passion for their work and look for opportunities to advance in their careers. The employees who use the program will likely feel invested in their work, as well as in the company and its goals. Create a list of individuals who you manage that are likely to be interested in setting up a relationship with a mentor who can share their experiences and encourage professional growth.

3. Establish mentoring goals

Your mentoring program should have defined goals that you can easily track. For example, you might set a goal that in the first year of the program, you can assist in establishing six mentor-protégé relationships within the organization. Your specific goals will depend on the size of the organization and how many willing mentors you have, but it’s important to create goals that you can continue to monitor to determine the success of the program.

4. Decide on a mentoring model

Many mentorship programs use a one-on-one model, but this is not the only option available to you. You can also set up a program that encourages group mentoring, where a mentor works with a group of individuals who want to learn and develop a certain skill. Self-directed mentoring is another model you could consider, which allows individuals to start seeking a mentor on their own rather than being matched up by a program manager. If your organization prides itself on hiring motivated self-starters, a self-directed mentoring program may align with that aspect of the culture.

Peer-to-peer mentoring can also benefit employees as they can learn from one another, rather than working with someone who is more advanced in their career. You may even establish a combination model that incorporates several styles to provide a more effective experience for each individual.

Related: 9 Questions To Ask Your Mentor

5. Request support from potential mentors

A successful mentorship program must have willing mentors, so the next step in the process is requesting support from those within the organization who can share what they have learned with others. Mentors are typically high-level professionals who have worked their way up in their careers and developed various skills and abilities. A good mentor should also have good communication skills, have the time to dedicate to their proteges and be able to teach their skills to others. You can request this support via email or set up a meeting with those you think would make good mentors.

6. Set up a communication system

Mentors need an easy way to communicate with those they are working with, so it’s important to set up a streamlined and effective communication system for all involved in the program. Some companies use email to communicate, while others use software programs that allow individuals to request support, set up meetings and send follow-up information.

Related: 20 Ways To Start an Email

7. Spread awareness about the program

The final step in developing a mentorship program for an organization is making sure everyone knows about it and can take advantage of the resource. Send a company-wide email, post flyers in employee break areas and talk to employees in person about the opportunity to make sure everyone receives the information. As people sign up to work with mentors, you can request feedback to further improve the program and make sure it meets the needs of those who will use it.

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