Thomasina Tafur, a former FedEx senior manager who is now the president of Thomasina Tafur Consulting (www.thomasinatafur.com), which offers HR executives advice on positioning females for leadership roles, offers these tips for you to consider when offering a women mentor program:
- Conduct a needs assessment. Determine what upper management expects from the mentor program and survey the workforce to assess their needs, she recommends. “People do like to believe they have a voice and that they are going to be heard.”
- Identify specific goals upfront. “The goals need to be very specific” and will vary by organization, she says. “For some, the goals are to have X amount of female leaders in C-level positions or in middle-level positions … or to promote up or out (laterally) to a department that doesn’t have a lot of females.”
- Be flexible with timelines. “Be open-minded,” she says. “Don’t be so adamant about your direction and timelines” that you hire unqualified female applicants just to boost your numbers and meet specified deadlines for your program. “You don’t want to hire women for the sake of developing women.”
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- Put it into place. After you have created a solid plan for implementing your mentor program and have upper management’s support, it is time to implement the program. Consider creating a task force of employees to help generate ideas and oversee the program.
- Measure your success. “It’s very important to measure what you didn’t do well as well as what you did correctly,” she says.
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