Learning & Development

Step-by-Step: How to Design an Effective Mentorship Program (Part 1)

Per studies highlighted by Investopedia, 71% of Fortune 500 companies have some type of corporate mentorship program. And 75% of executives from those Fortune 500 companies recognize their mentors with helping them reach their current positions.
If you want to design an effective mentorship program, here are seven steps you’ll want to take.

Follow the 7 steps carefully, because, if a mentorship program is not designed properly, it can actually end up having adverse effects on its participants and lead to a lot of wasted company time and money.

Step 1—Align Your Mentorship Program with Your Business’s Goals

When designing any type of program for your organization, always determine how it will help your organization reach its larger business goals and objectives first. Ask yourself:

  1. Why should my organization start this mentorship program, and what data or information can I use to support this reasoning, especially when trying to sell it to the C-suite?
  2. What will success look like for the mentorship program I am designing (for participants and the organization itself)? And how will this be monitored and measured?

Step 2—Know All Your Audiences

Do a little digging to discover exactly who you’ll want to participate in your mentorship program (i.e., who will benefit from the program the most and who you’ll want to attract). Determine who they are, what their development needs are, as well as their key motivations for participating in your program. It’s important to think about qualified mentors and mentees equally throughout this step so you can eventually make ideal matches that will last. In addition, you’ll want to do some digging to discover what the executive team of your organization will expect from the mentorship program and how you can maintain their support throughout the duration of the program to ensure its success, backing, and funding, if necessary.

Step 3—Consider the Structure and Administrative Concerns for Your Program

If you want a long-lasting mentorship program, you’ll have to designate staff to administer mentor/mentee pairings, maintain executive buy-in, attract ideal candidates on a rolling basis, and more. You’ll also want to consider the overall structure of your mentorship program. Will it require an application process, a specific vetting process, a referral process, etc.? Will the length of the program be dependent on roles, annual time frames, milestones reached, etc.? While you’ll certainly want to encourage wide-ranging participation and interest in your program, you’ll want to structure your mentorship program in a way that will continue to attract serious candidates who are top performers across your organization.
[Part 2 of this article will appear in the next issue.]

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