What Startups Can Learn from Fortune 500 Mentoring Programs

 In Blog, Designing Mentoring Programs, Entrepreneur Reflections, Knowledge Sharing, Mentoring Programs

Today, as much as 71 percent of all Fortune 500 companies have implemented a mentoring program where mentors and mentees seek active participation. This speaks volumes on just how beneficial such a program can be for companies when done right.

Numerous studies have found that mentoring programs can reduce turnover and significantly increase employee engagement. Increased engagement leads to higher productivity, which then results in a higher bottom line. Employees tend to have higher job satisfaction as well.

Moreover, mentoring creates a healthy and positive work culture while boosting morale.

These are just some of the many benefits that Fortune 500 companies have availed from having a dedicated mentoring program.

As a startup, here are a few key points you need to keep in mind if you want your mentoring program to be as successful:

  • It’s always best to clearly outline and effectively communicate roles and responsibilities

It’s critical that participants are sure of what they are expected to do and what their roles and responsibilities are in the program. The success of the mentoring program largely depends on this.

Relying on your own unique organizational goals, make sure that both mentors and mentees are informed clearly of what is expected of them. For example, mentors should strive to create an open and positive learning environment, while mentees should be responsive and enthusiastic. Even HRs should be clear of what their roles are so that they can facilitate the success of the program.

  • Training must be provided for mentors before the program starts

Relevant training must be provided to all mentors prior to the launch of the mentoring program. Mentors obviously play a huge role in the success or failure of a program, and it is foolish to let them walk in without any preparation.

It is important that a mentor is understanding and compassionate, possesses a high degree of self-awareness, and has strong communication skills. While it is essential to work on these skills during the training, it is also unrealistic to think that anyone who volunteers as a mentor will possess these qualities. As such, the competency of potential mentors should be assessed against an ideal mentor profile.

  • Building mentee profiles can help mentors examine and monitor progress

Many companies with dedicated mentoring programs have made it the responsibility of the mentor to build a mentee profile. This enables the mentor to understand the mentee better, understand their work styles, strengths and weaknesses and where they can improve, keep track of their progress, and examine their results.

Important skills like communication, leadership, decision-making, and work style can be assessed and improved upon as required. Observing these identifying characters and helping the mentee understand themselves better is one of the key responsibilities of a mentor.

  • Mentors creating their own profiles can help mentees understand what is expected of them

Mentors can also build their own profiles where they document their leadership styles, their work ethics, what qualities they value in others, what qualities they value in themselves, where they would like to improve, and other relevant details.

When mentors reflect on these before the program starts, they have a clearer understanding of themselves and also what to expect from mentees. This can prove to be greatly beneficial for the program as a whole as it helps mentees understand their mentors better and also have a better idea of what is expected of them.

These are the key characteristics that every successful mentoring program implemented in Fortune 500 companies share. Startups can also implement these in their own mentoring programs for a higher chance of success.

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