How to Create a Mentoring Programme in 10 Key Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Designing a workplace mentoring programme can give employees educational opportunities and help them advance in their careers. It requires strategic planning and organisation to guide employees and increase their job satisfaction and confidence. Learning how to create a mentoring programme can help organisations facilitate the sharing of knowledge and skills. In this article, we discuss what a mentoring programme is, its benefits and the steps to create one.

What is a mentoring programme?

A mentoring programme enables new hires or inexperienced employees to advance in their careers with the help of experienced mentors. A mentoring programme can boost workplace satisfaction and offer professional guidance. It's typically a one-to-one professional relationship that connects employees across various departments. The goal of a mentoring programme is to encourage productive meetings and give employees resources to develop their careers.

Related: What Is Mentoring at Work? Definition, Steps and Benefits

What are the benefits of a mentoring programme?

A mentoring programme can increase employee engagement and foster an inclusive workplace culture. It encourages employees to build professional relationships and work together to achieve shared visions and goals. Mentees benefit from learning new skills and acclimating to the organisation's structure and culture. Mentors can benefit by developing their leadership and team-building skills. It also gives professionals the opportunity to network outside their department. Mentees who stay with the organisation may have opportunities to become mentors themselves in the future and share their skills and knowledge. This creates a collaborative working environment where employees share resources.

How to create a mentoring programme

Organising your mentorship programme is important to ensure smooth execution. This includes outlining what's required and setting clear expectations and guidelines. Here are 10 key steps to build a mentorship programme in your workplace:

1. Identify the programme goals

Establishing clear objectives for your mentorship programme can help you set targets. Designed to improve performances, mentorship programmes can integrate new hires or groom potential leaders to take over senior management positions. Identifying your programme goals can also help you decide on the format and design of the programme. It's helpful to set objectives that are measurable and attainable. It shows the value of the programme to key stakeholders in the organisation. Some questions to consider when setting your goals include:

  • Who are the target employees?

  • What motivates employees to participate in your programme?

  • How does the programme contribute to participants' professional growth?

  • What are the milestones that you want to achieve with this programme?

  • What problems does the programme resolve?

  • What metrics can be used to measure the success of the programme?

2. Design your mentorship programme

Conduct research on the target audience for this programme. Ensure that you understand their professional needs and goals. This helps you to design a programme that supports their career goals. Most programmes focus on creating structure and flexibility. You can set a workflow process with key milestones to track participants' progress.

Some details to include in the process are the timeframe, necessary resources and actions. You can also decide on whether you want to open the programme to all employees or a selected few. Consider if it's a one-to-one or group mentorship style. Setting the duration and location of the programme is also important.

Related: How to Write a Thank-You Letter for a Mentor (With Tips)

3. Attract and select programme participants

Promoting your programme is important to communicate its benefits and goals. If you're implementing the programme for the first time, consider how you can convince potential participants, mentors and stakeholders of its value. You can offer recognition or rewards to attract mentors and mentees. Recognise that employees dedicate additional time to participate and address how the programme can benefit them to increase the participation rate.

Select participants by reading through their applications to understand their backgrounds, strengths and skill sets. You can also interview mentors and mentees about their career goals and what they hope to gain from the programme. Choose mentors with good performance appraisals and mentees who are dedicated to improving their skills.

4. Match mentors and mentees

Pair mentors and mentees whose strengths and weaknesses balance one another. Examine each participant's application to identify their work experiences, skills, learning styles and career goals. This can help you match participants who can benefit from interacting with each other. You can involve participants in the selection process by getting them to pick three candidates they want to work with. This can help you narrow down the pairings. Ensure that participants match well professionally instead of personality-wise. This encourages growth opportunities and aligns with the programme goals.

5. Establish guidelines

Setting clear guidelines ensures a structured mentorship programme participants can easily follow. It also makes it possible to measure achievements at the end of the programme. Since there are several pairs of participants, you can keep track of their progress with a set of expectations and ensure that there's consistency.

Some guidelines to set include the frequency of meetings, expectations and ways to overcome potential challenges. You can also detail the actions and purpose of each meeting, but give participants the flexibility to meet during their own time. This enables participants to benefit from the programme without neglecting their daily tasks.

6. Provide mentorship guidance

Becoming a mentor in the workplace requires experience and a framework to follow. You can provide mentorship guidance by setting goals and actions plans for mentors. This gives them a clear direction and ensures that they understand their responsibilities. Help mentors to identify their strengths. It can be a particular skill set or industry experience. This enables them to focus their efforts on sharing knowledge and skills that benefit their mentees. You can also provide mentors with resources like mentorship content and check in on their progress regularly.

7. Ensure equal access

Besides opening your mentorship programme to the whole organisation, keep track of applications to ensure that everyone has access to participation. You can conduct surveys throughout the programme to identify any possible biases. When you're promoting your mentorship programme, ensure that everyone is aware. It's important that all employees have equal opportunities to learn and excel in the organisation.

Related: What Is Career Development? (With Strategies and Tips)

8. Launch your mentorship programme

Plan an announcement strategy to get employees excited about the launch. This is part of promoting the mentorship programme and can influence the number of participants who join. Consider involving organisation leaders and the marketing team to share announcements on channels like email and company luncheons. You can also plan a company bonding session to educate employees about the programme and give them the opportunity to ask questions.

Involve the organisation's leadership by getting them to hold seminars during the programme or become mentors. Ensure the smooth running of the programme by organising a practice run. You can gather a small group of employees to test it and gather their feedback. This helps you to make adjustments to improve the mentorship programme before it's launched.

9. Measure the programme's impact

It's important to measure the impact of your programme with a metrics system. Creating a mentorship programme requires investment in resources and infrastructure. Evaluating its impact can help you improve future programmes and determine if you can adjust it for other purposes that benefit the organisation's culture and function.

You can assess your programme's impact by understanding mentorship behaviour. You can interview mentors after the programme about the duration and utility of resources provided. This gives you insight into what content resources are necessary and how to adjust the timeframe of the programme. You can measure the impact on mentees by conducting surveys to compare their goals for joining the programme and what they achieved. Consider organising a debrief session at the end of the programme to get ideas on how to improve the programme or tailor it to different groups.

10. Share the results

During various checkpoints in the programme, share its progress and results with the rest of the organisation. It's important for the organisation's leadership to recognise the programme's impact. They may be keener to support future mentorship programmes if they see tangible results. Depending on the purpose of your programme, results can vary from increased employee engagement to a more inclusive work culture.

Besides sharing survey results, consider collating testimonials and personal stories from participants who are open to sharing their progress. This can motivate other employees to participate in future programmes. You can also set milestones and goals for participants so that you can recognise and reward those who achieve them.

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