Planning is an important part of starting any new business strategy within your organization, including a mentoring program. There have been many organizations in the past that have started a mentoring program with no plan and more times than not, these programs

How To Start A Mentoring Programhave been unsuccessful. If you are looking to implement a long-term, successful mentoring program for your organization, we encourage you to follow these 6 steps.

Step 1: Determine Your Organizations Objectives

First, you must figure out what your organization’s objectives for your mentoring program are. One of the best ways to do this is to choose a group of leaders within your organization to determine what needs you have for this program. Are you looking to improve your succession pipeline? Are you trying to increase employee retention? Is employee engagement slowly declining? These are all valid reasons to implement a mentoring program and they also tell you what the focus of that program should be. Once you figure out what your organization needs, your objectives will fall into place. These objectives will need to be at the forefront of every decision you make throughout this process. 

Step 2: Choose a Mentoring Program

Before you can start a mentoring program, you must choose which one you will be implementing. Choosing your mentoring program will be based on the objectives that you have defined in Step 1. If your objectives were to increase retention rates you would likely be interested in a mentoring program to develop your employee’s careers. If you want to focus on improving your succession pipeline you would need mentoring that is focused on developing your leaders. Aside from finding the focus of the program, you will also need to decide how mentoring will take place. Your organizations capabilities will determine whether you should choose to take the more traditional approach with face-to-face mentoring or a more modern approach with virtual mentoring. Doing some research on different ways to implement mentoring will help your participants be successful.

Read This Article on Creating a Mentoring Program for Career Development


Step 3: Identify Who Will Participate

Based on the type of mentoring program you choose, it will either be inclusive or exclusive. Having an inclusive program may seem like more work, but it allows all your employees to decide if they would like to be a part of the program. For an exclusive program, such as leadership development, it is best to have your team of leaders decide who will be invited to participate. The team will need to create a list of competencies and determine who they believe will succeed in developing these competencies.  The mentor should be a volunteer that is at least one career level above the mentees and is willing to be an active participant in the relationship. 

Step 4: Choose the matching method

After you choose who will be participating in the program, you will need to decide how your mentors and mentees will be matched. The matching approach taken is usually determined by the size of your program, the participants involved, and the business reason for enabling a mentoring relationship. Three examples of types of matching are Mentee Self-Matching, Hybrid Matching, and Administration Lead Matching. While Mentee Self-Matching is the most common, there are instances when another form of matching is better suited for an organization. Matching should be facilitated through mentor matching software. 


Step 5: Define expectations for all participants

You may begin to assume that because you are choosing to start a mentoring program that your participants will know exactly how mentoring works, but that’s usually not the case. You will need to define the expectations of the program as well as the expectations for each role. This can be best done by training your mentors, mentees, and their managers at the very beginning of the program. This training will increase the success rate of the mentor relationships and your organization’s mentoring program. You should establish a training plan when determining who will be participants in the program. 

Step 6: Develop a long-term communication plan

Putting a long-term communications plan in place is a great way to ensure that communicating with participants begins from Day 1. Marketing your plan to protentional participants and continued training throughout the program should be crucial parts of your communications plan. Another way to establish long-term communication is to establish checkpoints throughout the program. These checkpoints will give you a better idea of which parts of the programs are successful, which employees are truly engaged, and who needs continued training to develop a successful mentoring relationship.

At Insala, we are not only able to help you start a mentoring program, but we can also provide you with the tools to make it successful. Interactive, user-friendly, and cutting-edge, our web-based mentoring software streamlines all your administrative tasks within a single system, enhances the experience of the mentors and mentees in your program, and includes access to our state-of-the-art mentoring reporting tool. To learn more about how we can take your mentoring program to the next level, visit our website.