If you know anything about Helios, you might be aware of the Helios Apollo Awards. We started this program to recognize and reward employers who promote employee development within their organization to stay focused on the future. One category judged in the application is the opportunities available for mentoring. Many attendees after the awards program ask us how they can begin developing these programs after realizing it can be a real value to the organization. We understand that the implementation, funding, or simply finding the time to focus on employee development does not always come easy, but we are here to help get you started. Here’s some general information to consider as you begin thinking about starting your own internal mentoring program.
Starting an Internal Mentoring Program
A mentoring program is often implemented as part of the development activities for an organization’s performance management system. Once you establish a program, mentoring is a useful development tool, enabling a more experienced employee to support and help develop other employees, thus, growing their knowledge, network, and career, all linking back to the business strategy. However, mentoring should not take the place of formal development activities, but should be used to strengthen an organization’s performance management system. Effective mentor programs will match the mentor and mentee based on their skills and development needs, and will also construct formal goals and include a process for monitoring the relationship.
Mentoring can also be used to aid a new employee in acclimating to the culture of the organization. Although mentoring can be utilized in helping employees better understand the company’s operations, policies, and culture, the mentor should not take on the role and responsibilities of the mentee’s manager. To ensure positive outcomes, , as this could lead to mismatched pairs and frustrations for both the mentor and mentee.
The Benefits of Mentoring Programs
The success of a mentor program can be defined by the program’s return on investment (ROI). The ROI metrics can be tracked through many sources including employee surveys, performance appraisals, interviews, and focus groups. Mentoring is a way to support and encourage employees to manage their own learning. It enables people to develop skills, improve performance, and maximize their potential. “Individuals who are mentored have an increased likelihood of career success as a result of the targeted developmental support they receive” (NOVA SHRM, 2012). The process of mentoring facilitates the flow of information and ideas throughout the company, enabling cross-functional knowledge sharing. Mentoring can promote diversity in the workplace, provide inexpensive opportunities for growth and development reduce turnover.
NOVA SHRM. (2012). Mentoring Program Toolkit. Retrieved October 3, 2012 from http://www.shrm.org