DEI and Your Formalized Mentoring Program

March 15, 2022

Formalized mentoring is a powerful strategy to support your company’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals.  Formalized mentoring ensures access to relationships, which should be included as a critical piece of the strategy when you consider inclusion as an aspect of your efforts to attract, retain, and develop diverse talent.

Absent a formalized structure, organizations will typically tend to perpetuate the same diversity makeup in their senior leadership team because people naturally tend to mentor and sponsor younger versions of themselves. When an organization does not have formalized process for mentoring relationships, a lot of your diverse employees won’t get access to the critical relationships that will support them, help them developmentally and help them advance in their career. Without a formalized mentoring structure, companies will go to great lengths to bring diverse talent in, only to see that talent walk out the door because they don’t see a path and they don’t feel supported or developed.  Ultimately, they will find another company where they do see a path. Formalizing that process of providing access to relationships is not just a “nice to have,” but a “need to have” when you consider inclusion and what you need to do to ensure that you are attracting, retaining and developing diverse talent.

When adopting formalized mentoring as a part of a DEI strategy, organizations should keep in mind that any good mentoring program needs to be scalable, measurable, and sustainable. Thought must also be given to how the program will be administered. For any mentoring program to work, we first need to address how participants are trained, how they are matched, and how success is measured within the program.  At Engage Mentoring, we do all of this and more for our clients, taking the guesswork out of mentoring.  We are an outsourced resource for companies desiring to offer mentoring as a benefit to their employees.

Employers sometimes try to do this themselves by using spreadsheets and simply matching people on the basis of whether or not they think they’re going to get along. The reality is, matching needs to occur on the basis of what the mentee’s developmental needs are and on the skills and qualifications of the person mentoring them. Addressing that quality matches are being made, and the mentee’s developmental goals are being taken into account is step one. In addition, making sure that participants are well-trained, mentors know how to have effective mentoring conversations, and mentees understand how to ask good questions and how to drive the mentoring relationship are all vital to the success of the match.

Finally, when it comes to measuring success, how often you plan to assess the quality of the program, the quality of the matches and how things are going overall is something that needs to be taken into consideration early on. It is also important to understand what those measures of success are.  These measures may include retention, skill development, rates of promotion, etc. Beginning with the end in mind and identifying what success looks like and how we intend to measure is so critical.

At Engage Mentoring, we have addressed all that is needed to make a quality mentoring program go. Our programs are scalable, they are sustainable, they are measurable. We are unique in that we fully administer our programs, which means we make it simple for our clients. They give us a list of employees who are eligible to participate and we take it from there. We onboard and ensure that participants are trained, as well as provide the tools for matching participants on the basis of their developmental needs. We report data and outcomes related to those mentoring engagements.

We have a team of people who ensure that if a mentor doesn’t show up for a session, or if a mentee doesn’t like the mentor that has been selected, we are able to intervene and assist and make changes where necessary.  Our goal at Engage Mentoring is to always create high-quality matches and guarantee that everyone is getting the most out of the program. Our leadership development programs set us apart. When a client works with us, they can be confident that they are getting the benefit of training, years of experience and that the outcomes are going to be there.

To learn more about Engage Mentoring for workplaces go to https://engagementoring.com/workplaces/.

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