Mentoring needs structure and clarity. When a company does not have a structure for their mentoring program, they lack clarity and fail to get consistent outcomes. Companies that rely on mentoring to take place organically miss the opportunity to really measure and track outcomes and build the bench effectively. In addition, diverse employees are often left out of the hierarchy and are twice as likely to leave as a result. Without a process for ensuring access to relationships (inclusion), those who are mentoring are only mentoring people who are younger versions of themselves or people who are just like them. It’s our natural tendency. They seek mentees based on shared, common experiences and cultural backgrounds to make the relationship flow easier.
Clarity is key. A mentoring structure only works if there is clarity on both sides. The mentor must understand the topics that he or she should be sharing and exactly what the developmental needs are of the mentee. Oftentimes, we see companies formalizing mentoring programs, but there is no clarity around how they are matched to other programs and goals, what success looks like, or how to measure that success. A mentoring relationship that works starts with clarity. The mentee should be clear on what they are working on and how the mentor can help them. There should be training on both sides so that both mentee and mentor really understand what role they play, what success looks like, and how to ask the right questions to ensure the best outcomes. And there should be accountability for both mentor and mentee for the process and to the outcomes that have been presented.
Finally, measuring success is a must. Two of the most important metrics include: how do we determine success both at the individual level (i.e. what does success look like for me in terms of what I’m trying to learn?) and at the company level (i.e. how do we track outcomes related to the mentoring relationships)? Below are popular questions that we ask when measuring the success of a mentoring relationship:
• How are we matching participants?
• What training is provided?
• What outcomes are we striving for and how are those being measured?
• How are we remaining accountable to outcomes and how do we determine success?
Structure, clarity, and measurement are big jobs. Many companies don’t have successful mentoring programs because they are not administered well and fail to track outcomes. It can be daunting. Let us help. We can show you the ROI of outsourcing to us in one conversation.