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How to Spot a Strong Mentorship Program

When job seekers own the market, it’s critical that employers focus on employee retention and creating a culture that promotes positive mentoring. One way to do this is by developing a mentorship program. There is a proven correlation between successful employee retention strategies and strong mentorship programs.

So, job seekers, how do you know if an employer offers a legitimate mentoring program? And, employers, how do you know if you’re providing employees a legitimate mentoring program?

  1. Relevant or Open Pairings – Consider the mentee’s personality and eventual career trajectory. Don’t just pair up two people because they attended the same college or are from the same area. Those similarities could be great to share as colleagues but might not make for the best mentorship pairing. This is because the information could be irrelevant when it comes to someone’s career path. One other option is to wait on pairing people together, keeping it open for those involved in the program. Doing so allows for pairings to happen more organically.
  2. Multiple Mentors – Giving mentees more than one mentor will give different opinions and perspectives on their career and objectives. Both mentors might have the same end in mind but provide guidance to get there in different ways. Two viewpoints can remove bias from a situation.
  3. Specific Guidelines – Put a general blueprint in place. This way, those involved in the mentoring program can follow clear expectations that are the same across the board. Certain things to include would be how often meetings take place, the role each mentor and mentee will play, how success is measured, and what obstacles might present themselves along the way.
  4. Consistent Meetings – Although much of the communication between mentor and mentee might be impromptu, it’s also important to schedule set meetings. Based on your organization and what works for you, determine what consistency is best and hold mentors and mentees to it. Most often, mentorship programs require monthly meetings.
  5. Considers Diversity – For some, stepping outside of their box is what makes them grow. Consider this when pairing a mentor and mentee. Some mentees will thrive better in an environment of similarity, but others need diversity to succeed. Read your people, ask their opinions, and decide from there.
  6. Measures, Measures, Measures – The guidelines you put in place at the launch of your mentorship program need to be monitored. Collect metrics on progress and solicit feedback from mentors and mentees involved. How exactly can you measure the success of a mentorship program? Try evaluating some of these metrics.
  7. Transparent Communication – Transparent could also be swapped with the word clear Everyone in the organization should know how the mentorship program works, especially as it evolves. Share progress and provide tangible metrics that tie back to internal and external retention. It’s also helpful to hear personal stories and experiences from those participating.

There are plenty of best practices to consider when creating and managing a mentorship program. Research proves that effective mentoring relationships have a powerful effect on people in personal, academic, and professional environments.

What does your company offer for a mentorship program? What is most important to you when building or participating in a mentorship program? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out 8 Questions to Ask Your New Boss.