By Joni Burton, CPCC and CEO, JVS Career Services
Men∙tor (noun): a trusted counselor or guide (Miriam Webster)
Having a mentor is a powerful personal and career development tool that can enable the mentee to achieve or exceed their career goals and aspirations. Mentoring can improve employee satisfaction and retention, enrich new employee initiation, make your organization more appealing to recruits, and train your leaders. A good mentoring relationship is one of trust between two individuals—one of whom is more experienced in the organization than the other—and provides insight and guidance, and can help to make connections.
To create an effective mentoring program:
- Set your program up to succeed by defining goals and involving top leadership within your organization to champion the plan. This will help ensure that the mentoring program becomes part of your company culture.
- Seek out people who are truly passionate about being mentors. These individuals should see the value in mentoring for themselves, the mentee, and the organization.
- Train mentors. Define their basic roles and establish boundaries, including trust.
- Identify mentees. Ask managers or the mentors themselves to nominate individuals to the program. An accurate pairing is perhaps the most important ingredient to successful mentoring.
- Create a framework for the relationship. It is advised to require a time commitment from both mentor and mentee.
- Schedule gatherings for all participants to connect and share experiences.
- Measure success. Over time, a successful mentoring program should improve the individual mentee’s professional success, as well as job satisfaction for both parties.
Many think that mentoring was designed to help the mentees, the up-and-coming. However, mentoring programs help the mentor keep their skills fresh and allow the mentor to give back. Many mentees become mentors to others later, paying it forward and passing on the benefits of these valuable programs.