Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is president of Careers Done Write, a premier career-services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries. Debra may be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her site at: careersdonewrite.com. Follow Debra on Twitter.
Your organization simply cannot afford to let in-house talent slip away. As competition for the best jobs heats up, the competition for the most capable and desirable candidates might be even hotter. How can you ensure that your organization keeps its most valuable assets—its people—happy? Obviously, a comprehensive compensation (salary & benefits) package is a great start, but in today’s economy, what a company can offer its employees in terms of continuous training and career guidance can engender greater loyalty among its workers. One way is by establishing and encouraging a robust mentoring program; and here are the three simple steps you should take to start one in your company if a program currently does not exist.
- Gain buy-in from your Chief Executive Officer, or Department Head. A strong mentoring program will pair ready and willing senior-level employees with motivated junior staff. If a mentoring program is not supported from the top, it likely will languish, as the boss’ lieutenants will not follow. However, if the creation of a proactive mentoring platform is supported from inception, the odds of strong participation by both mentors and potential mentees will be very good.
- Educate and inform potential mentors on the organizational benefits. It is likely that vice president-level employees will constitute your primary target group to serve as mentors to your junior personnel. Educate these people via printed materials, as well as, formal and informal sessions. The more informed people are in connection with the program the more productive and effective it will be. A well planned and well executed mentoring can increase productivity and morale within your company.
- Establish a set of rules and expectations that all participants agree to follow. A program with no parameters has the strong potential to backfire. Therefore, your program should contain some sort of charter agreement with a set of baseline expectations and behaviors. Mentors should agree to be responsive and to meet in person at least once a quarter, while mentees should be required to agree to be respectful of mentors’ time commitments and schedules. Encouraging that both parties (mentors & mentees) sign a “contract” as part of committing to the program adds a level of maturity and seriousness to the program. This level of commitment will help your mentoring program evolve into a company asset that improves your executive depth and managerial bench at minimal recruiting and acquisition costs.