Business mentoring programs have a major role to play in running a business successfully. These programs bring the less experienced employees and more experienced ones together, and do nothing less than wonders. Mentors have the ability to boost learning processes by sharing their personal experiences, insights, and learning with other employees. Moreover, their valuable inputs, advice, feedback, and support are of great advantage for the employee’s learning and development.
Why do you need a business mentor?
Business mentors are required to share their experiences, and guide less experienced colleagues with valuable feedback and reassurance. Apart from this, mentors can help colleagues with access to networks and resources for their better understanding and experiences. These eventually contribute to the professional growth and career of employees.
There are two main reasons why employees need a business mentor. They are:
- Mentors are always open to providing free guidance to help employees progress in their career. Mentors can help aspiring executives jump-start their career by sharing their first-hand experiences. Moreover, their crucial anecdotes and snippets of wisdom cannot be found anywhere else, but from them alone.
- Business mentors can be of great advantage to employees with high-potential. While employees are required to learn from their own experiences, having a business mentor will help them speed-up their learning process and make new mistakes that result in new learning. A mentor’s valuable guidance can help employees avoid epic failures, while still getting to learn lessons.
Here are five steps on how to start mentoring programs at work:
- Identify and State the Program’s Objectives and Purpose
Any training program requires a predefined objective. A mentoring program also has an underlying goal that should be achieved by the end of the program. This could be improving employee retention, teaching a particular skill, or an improved induction process for new hires. You must also ensure that these program objectives are well-defined, and communicated to the employees who will be a part of it.
- Set up a Mentor-Mentee Pairing Process
After your business mentoring program goals are defined, the second step is to pair up mentors and mentees for the program. This is a big challenge as a lot of effort is required to pair a mentee with the right mentor as this pairing needs to be ideally the best match. How would you do this? Begin with defining the criteria for the selection process. Start qualifying the mentors and the mentees, and identify the pairs based on the criteria defined.
Technologies such as apps or algorithms may be of some help to pair up employees. Ask both mentors and mentees to fill forms, and you may make pairs based on the information they provide in the forms. If you are adopting a mentoring process from another organization, be mindful that there is no standard or magic formula to pair up employees. What may have worked for the other organization, may not work for you. Hence, adapt processes as per the needs of your organization and then implement them at the workplace.
- Add Formal Training to the Program
Formal training activities like webinars/seminars, workshops, or online training courses should be included in the mentoring program. It lays the foundation of competencies on which the mentoring program will be created. Both the mentor and the mentee must be trained on the benefits of the program. Also, the mentees must be made aware of the skills that will be observed and developed during the program.
- Communicate the Program to the Participants Properly
Having defined the goals and objectives of the program at the very beginning, these then need to be properly communicated to the mentors and mentees. It will help in setting relevant expectations about the program through the right communication channels, and thereby, help in attaining the goals of the program. Make sure that expectations are managed well. To be specific, have a clear line of communication with the mentor regarding what the program is about, its purpose, and its benefits/impact on establishing the framework for sustainable mentoring programs at the workplace. Make the mentees aware of what to expect from the program and the business mentors.
- Evaluate the Program
Evaluation of any program is crucial for comparing the efforts taken and the goals achieved. Basically, evaluation forms the base of measuring the success of any program with respect to the objectives set at the very beginning. Evaluation factors can be measurable, such as an increase in sales, and can also be immeasurable like better employee behavior, employee competencies, etc. A business mentoring program can also be evaluated by measuring or assessing the overall organizational results. If the objective defined in Step 1 was to improve employee retention, has this objective been achieved at the end of the program? Has the attrition rate reduced? These are some of the questions that need to be answered during evaluation to calculate the level of achievement of the mentoring program.
Implementing all these steps in an orderly manner in a business mentoring program will greatly help the career progression of employees. Mentoring programs also ensure smooth employee onboarding, training, and development, besides channelizing a follow-through mechanism for any training initiative in the organization.
Hence, having a business mentoring program for your employees will contribute towards both, the employees’ development, and the organizational growth.
If you plan to implement a training program for your employees, read our blog titled Improve Your Sales Training in 4 Easy Ways using a Blended Learning Approach. If you have any queries, feel free to connect with us!