Setting up a mentoring program takes a lot of effort and resources. If you’re running a business, your company needs to get the most out of these opportunities.
Much of the effectiveness of a mentoring program comes down to interest. While some bosses are happy to mentor their younger workers in the lifts and hallways of the premises, these efforts cannot be an afterthought. There needs to be structure and systems in place. Workers need to embrace mentoring rather than fit it in their schedules where they can as a bonus.
There has been much career uncertainty of late. It’s highly unlikely workers are genuinely unenthused about mentoring programs when there are turbulence and job losses in multiple sectors. Boosting engagement can likely be done by refining these processes just a little bit more.
So, how can you improve engagement around your mentoring program? Read on for some ideas.
Illustrate the Benefits of Mentoring
Everybody has at least a loose understanding of what mentoring is. However, not all of your workers may fully comprehend its far-reaching effects and potential.
Share resources about notable mentoring relationships in business and how these dynamics shaped people’s careers, businesses, or entire industries. Study these reports yourself and be passionate when reiterating them. You could even host a meeting with your workers so that they can fully understand the magnitude of what these professional relationships can achieve.
Remember, there needs to be an equal passion for being mentors and mentees in your company. An imbalance may cause friction or awkwardness between colleagues, so experienced personnel and fresh starters alike need to be onboard. Every mentoring relationship is different, too, so mentors shouldn’t become too relaxed or have the attitude that they’re doing a new starter a favor.
It’s important not to make things too formal, either. Likeability is a big part of any successful mentoring dynamic. The more people get on, the more likely they will respect and value one another’s teachings.
Use Dedicated Software
Mentors and mentees need to be matched well. Some workers may think certain colleagues have a better way of explaining matters, have a more inspirational background, or generally appeal to them more as people.
You can ensure a rock-solid dynamic between mentor and mentee by using PushFar’s mentoring platform. They have a special algorithm that wades through demographics, insights, and data to then present the five best mentoring matches for an individual. Their software is well-presented, easy to use, and drives up engagement with mentoring in its own right. Download their free mentoring software demo to try it for yourself. Trust that many firms use this tech and couldn’t imagine stopping.
Of course, technology makes everything easier. As the workplace becomes more digitized, there’s now some type of cyber structure to most business processes. Dedicated mentoring software means your company’s efforts at improving the program are constantly visible. From there, engagement will rise, and vibrant culture around mentoring will come together.
Focus on the Delivery of Feedback
Friction can occur in working relationships when feedback is delivered in a way that isn’t productive. Condescending remarks or muddled messages can leave mentees feeling dejected and disinterested in any company’s mentoring program.
At the same time, being too keen for a mentor’s approval can also present problems for mentees. The danger is that they will be so focused on earning praise that the value of what they are supposed to learn is lost on them. The feedback that is too friendly and informal can risk diluting those waters slightly and eclipse the importance of the content.
Consequently, it could be worth re-evaluating your firm’s approach to feedback and how it is given. After all, there are many different takes on what constitutes rudeness from workplace bosses, especially when digital communications enter the mix. For a mentoring program, the best approach is to be clear, direct, and fair.
Feedback delivery can make a mentoring program feel like a productive use of everybody’s time or a waste of it. Try to make sure all participants understand that well.
Identify Responsive Mentees
Even though you hope every mentee will take full advantage of mentoring, there is always a chance that some will respond better than others. Performances and attitudes inevitably vary in all things, and some workers can be more proactive than others.
Note which mentees respond best to the program. These individuals are prime candidates to one day ascend to mentor status. Once you have people in that position who are fully committed and know the full value of mentoring in their hearts, the more likely it is your program will motivate and inspire subsequent waves of talent.
Responsive mentees will pass on what they’ve learned at every available opportunity. Though stepping into mentor shoes, they will likely keep in touch with their mentors too and have the humility and perspective to realize they are never beyond additional learning. When professionals lead your programs with this mindset, everything can improve.