When you implement a mentoring programme in your organisation, this takes time, focus, energy, effort, and money. It’s a significant investment in the growth and success of your company as it reaps tremendous rewards for your employees’ career development and desire to stay with you.

So don’t leave mentoring to chance.

I can think of several conversations I have had with Organisational Development and HR Managers who have been instrumental and strategic in establishing a mentoring programme to support their people development (and therefore the development of their organisation) including career advancement, job and career satisfaction, recognising and keeping valued staff, creating harmonious work environments. However, some of them admit to not really knowing whether the programme is having the desired effect and achieving the intended outcomes (as per the list above).

This does not mean that they have just forgotten about the programme now that it has been set up or that they ‘live in hope’ that the programme is working. But there are ways in which the fruits of their strategic labour can be realised and evidenced to ensure the time, energy, effort, and money invested is not wasted.

Here is a classic example of why it is so important to put some level of formality and structure around your mentoring programme when you are setting one up in your organisation. I was listening to a podcast this morning about mentoring and here is how the conversation went:

Presenter: How do you know mentoring is happening or not in your organisation?

Guest speaker: We don’t know actually. We suspect mentoring is happening because of how many times our resources are downloaded.

Hmmmm, apart from the concern that accessing resources is the only indicator of mentoring occurring, this certainly doesn’t evidence that the people downloading the material are doing anything with them.

What can you do to avoid the ‘leave it to chance’ scenario as illustrated in this example? Here are some simple yet highly effective suggestions:

  • Have a robust programme framework that enables everyone to engage in mentoring because they know what to do and how to do it.
  • Establish your mentoring return-on-investment (ROI) based on very clear programme objectives and goals.
  • Get sponsorship from your senior leaders as this ensures your programme gets buy-in from staff and is sustainable into the future.
  • Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. This includes ongoing monitoring the activities and impact on your employees’ practice and performance, and more formal evaluation to determine the outcomes being achieved (your mentoring ROI).
  • Collect people’s experiences and stories. This is another aspect of your evaluation methodology and you can use these stories to promote and market your programme that evidences the impact and outcomes of mentoring.

What are you doing to avoid leaving mentoring to chance in your organisation? What could you be doing more of? What could you change? Implement? Design?

To your programme success.