One aspect of my business is managing corporate mentor programs. I am always so impressed by the level of commitment of everyone involved. I do an evaluation at the end of each program to see what we can tweak for the next round. Here are two quotes to share from those evaluations:
Mentor: “I’ve been part of mentor/mentee programs at both my last company and in the military. This one was the most rewarding of all of them. I think this program is one of the excellent things that our company does that sets us apart from our competitors and peers and makes us a great place to work.”
Mentee: “I enjoyed being part of this program. I really liked having a mentor who was completely outside of my business unit. It made me trust more that what we discussed was confidential and would not be used to judge my job performance or be relayed back to my managers.
“I know that the mentors in the program are high-achieving, successful performers within our company, which means that they are all extremely busy. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate that my mentor set aside this valuable time for me every single month and never once canceled or made me feel like this wasn’t a good use of her time. Her commitment to show up for me and be fully present for that hour was really meaningful.”
These are the kind of rave reviews you want from your mentor program. Here are a couple of tips to help your mentorship program succeed:
Encourage mentees to bring an agenda to every meeting. It helps to focus the conversation and the mentees get to choose what is most helpful to discuss at any given month.
Meet every month for one hour for nine-12 months. This is a minimum time commitment, but enough to garner the results in the quotes above.
Be sure both mentees and mentors want to participate, and it’s not just a box they are checking.
Discuss expectations up front. What communication method is best – text, email or some other way?
Create structure. In the programs I manage, everyone gets a mentoring workbook that I wrote, which includes tools as well as space to log action items and track topics.
In this chilly month of February, show some warm love for mentor programs.
Thank previous mentors you’ve had. Offer to be a mentor to a new team member. The benefits pay off for years to come.