The most effective way to create a mentoring culture is to build and sustain clearly planned mentoring initiatives.
Most successful mentoring initiatives have two things in common:
- They directly reflect and support the organization’s strategic objectives.
- They are sustained over time.
Putting together a mentoring initiative is not about avoiding failure. It is about putting together a process that shapes success and makes ultimate success to the organization. It is not about “getting a program going.” It is about making it relevant and making it last.
A careful study of successful mentoring programs demonstrates that these principles had been addressed seriously in each.
A plan that drives the program
- A clear business case tied to strategic direction of the organization.
- Specific 1- and 3-year objectives for the program.
- Well-defined selection criteria for mentors and mentees.
- A transparent matching process based on mentee needs and mentor talents and experience.
Supports in place to sustain the plan
- A committed and actively involved mentoring planning/steering committee.
- A mentoring coordinator with the time, resources and passion to maximize the impact of mentoring on talent development.
Education and skill-building on participants’ expectations
- A rigorous orientation and training program for mentors and mentees focusing on the mind-set and skill-set essential for both.
- An established process for evaluating the effectiveness of the mentoring program in the organization.
- A communication process to inform and build support at all levels of the organization.