Building a Mentorship Program: 3 Tips for Success

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Sometimes, mentoring relationships form naturally. Pairs or groups of colleagues might find connections in their backgrounds, skill sets, and career ambitions in the normal course of their work. These individuals will benefit from the experiences and perspectives they share.

In a perfect world, every member of your company would naturally find a mentor or mentors that helps them with personal and career growth. But with busy schedules and remote work, this doesn’t always happen. Your employees might be missing out on valuable opportunities for engagement and education without a formalized mentorship program.

Structured mentoring can be a valuable resource for companies, as roughly 70% of Fortune 500 companies have a mentoring program. One-on-one pairings, employee resource groups (ERGs), and online mentoring communities are useful tools to increase mentorship participation.

However, this only scratches the surface of opportunity for mentorship. For many organizations, mentorship technology can be the true differentiator in creating a valuable mentorship program. Yet, many organizations are slow to adopt new technologies. 

In this article, we’ll explain why a true mentorship program that leverages technology can be a key pillar in both engaging and retaining talent, especially in the age of The Great Resignation. We’ll take you through the basics of building a program for your organization, how technology can help, and share a tool that could help your organization jumpstart the process.

Let’s dive in.  

1. Showcase the Value of Mentorship

Thankfully, it shouldn’t be too difficult for executives to understand the value their organization could reap from the implementation of either mentorship technology or even just a more formalized program. As remote and hybrid work take hold, employees young and old need opportunities for engagement. There’s plenty of evidence that mentoring provides two-way benefits for both veteran professionals and newer ones.

According to a study from Gartner and Capital Analytics, companies like Sun Microsystems experienced higher talent retention rates for mentees (72%) and mentors (69%) than employees that didn’t participate in the program (49%).

Related: 4 Reasons Why Mentorship Technology is a Must-Have in Today’s Environment

2. Highlight Success Metrics 

How can your organization reap the benefits of a formalized mentorship program? Myriad studies show that mentorship can help with retention, engagement, and more. 

Consider the following: 

Recruitment

At baseline, current recruitment technology sometimes makes assumptions about candidates. Mentorship technology removes biases and provides access to new diverse talent pools for organizations. 

Retention

Mentorship technology can increase employee retention, where employees develop a sense of belonging by connecting them to opportunities within your organization. Making mentorship more accessible can also act as an incentive for employees who are looking to make a more significant impact within the organization. 

Advancement

Mentorship technology creates a platform that young professionals can leverage to help them attain their goals. Whether they are looking for interview help or wondering how to ask for a promotion, mentors have the expertise to answer these questions. 

2. Get Executive Buy-In

Another effective technique in building a formal program involves introducing an “executive champion” for your project. In other words, if you can inform one high-level executive of the tangible benefits of a mentorship program, they’re likely to become an ambassador. This can produce a domino effect that makes adoption of your program or software much easier. 

Many organizations, and executives, believe that informal mentorship programs are enough. 

In truth, while these programs represent a good start, truly cultivating a culture of mentorship is how organizations and employees can thrive. 

Related: The Top 6 Misconceptions of Mentorship

Build Your Mentorship Program with Mentor Spaces

Don’t be afraid to seek out tools and tips as you start to develop a mentorship program at your organization.

Mentor Spaces is a community-driven mentorship platform designed to help companies scale DEI efforts while advancing the careers of underrepresented talent. Our platform facilitates career conversations between experts and early career professionals to build confidence and social capital. We streamline diverse talent acquisition and retention by allowing companies to cultivate relationships with underrepresented talent before and after formal recruiting events.

We have a proven four-step process for community-driven mentorship that increases employee retention, reduces talent sourcing time, and increases employee engagement. 

  • Design: We establish mentoring program goals, key audiences, and success measures for engagement.
  • Prepare: We onboard and train mentors through live sessions, how-to guides, and ongoing newsletters.
  • Engage: We facilitate conversations among employees and community members through group mentoring sessions and 1:1 introductions.
  • Measure: We generate employer brand awareness, deliver relevant candidates, and provide employee engagement and satisfaction analytics.

Ready to start building a mentorship program for your organization? Download our Program Design Workbook to jumpstart your mentorship program today.