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Optimize the Mentoring Program to Build a High-Performing Learning Organization

Align your mentoring program with your organizational culture and goals for a best-fit program.

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  • Harjot Arora, Manager, Customer Segment Strategy, BMO
  • Ellen Ensher, Ph.D., Professor of Management, Loyola Marymount University
  • Jaime Kirkland, Training Specialist, Elevations Credit Union
  • Kathy Kram, Shipley Professor in Management, Boston University School of Management
  • Doug Lawrence, Founder and President, TalentC
  • Margo Murray, President and Chief Operation Officer, MMHA
  • Jenny Reid, Human Resources Advisor, LEAGUE Financial Partners
  • Doug Rozon, Director of Marketing, The Sun Products Canada Corporation
  • Terri Scandura, Professor of Management, University of Miami
  • Maxine Sesula, HR Manager, Cutting Edge
  • Many organizations have introduced mentoring programs without clearly defining and communicating the purpose and goals around having a program; they simply jumped on the mentoring bandwagon.
  • As a result, these programs have little impact. They don’t add value for mentors, mentees, or the organization.
  • It can be difficult to design a program that is well-suited to your organization, will be adopted by employees, and will drive the results you are looking for.
  • In particular, it is difficult to successfully match mentors and mentees so both derive maximum value from the endeavor.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • As workforce composition shifts, there is a need for mentoring programs to move beyond the traditional senior–junior format option; organizational culture and goals will dictate the best approach.
  • An organization’s mentoring program doesn’t need to be restricted to one format; individual preferences and goals should also factor in. Be open to choosing format on a case-by-case basis.
  • Be sure to gain upper management buy-in and support early to ensure mentoring becomes a valued part of your organization.
  • Ensure that goal setting, communication, ongoing support for participants, and evaluation all play a role in your mentoring program.

Impact and Result

  • Mentoring can have a significant positive impact on mentor, mentee, and organization.
  • Mentees gain guidance and advice on their career path and skill development. Mentors often experience re-engagement with their job and the satisfaction of helping another person.
  • Mentoring participants benefit from obtaining different perspectives of both the business and work-related problems. Participation in a mentoring program has been linked to greater access to promotions, pay raises, and increased job satisfaction.
  • Mentoring can have a number of positive outcomes for the organization, including breaking down silos, transferring institutional knowledge, accelerating leadership skills, fostering open communication and dialogue, and resolving conflict.

Research & Tools

1. Align the mentoring program with the organizational culture and goals

Build a best-fit program that creates a learning culture.

2. Assess the organizational culture and current mentoring program

Align mentoring practices with culture to improve the appropriateness and effectiveness of the program.

3. Align mentoring practices with culture to improve the appropriateness and effectiveness of the program.

Track project progress and have all program details defined in a central location.

4. Gather feedback from the mentoring program participants

Evaluate the success of the program.

5. Get mentoring agreements in place

Improve your mentoring capabilities.

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Search Code: 75488
Published: June 24, 2014
Last Revised: June 24, 2014

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