6 Key Ingredients to Building a Successful Mentoring Program

March 26th, 2015
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By 2020, 46 percent of all U.S. workers will be millennials. Research shows that this growing generational powerhouse places a higher premium on mentorship and training than on the size of their paychecks. In fact, more than 60 percent of college and graduate students list mentoring as a criterion for choosing an employer. Companies are responding to these young workers in a real way—76 percent of Fortune magazine’s top 25 companies offer mentoring programs.

Mentoring can enhance employee satisfaction, retention and recruitment within an organization, as well as promote and increase workplace diversity, accelerate onboarding efforts, and help companies to identify and nurture high-potential employees. So how do you build and launch an effective and sustainable mentoring program? According to research from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, there are six crucial elements to a successful mentoring relationship:

1. Purpose

Both participants need to take the relationship seriously—identify clear goals, milestones and expectations for the relationship.

2. Communication

Participants should meet regularly using whatever method works best. Set aside time to participate in an intentional two-way conversation.

3. Trust

This is an integral part of the relationship, and both participants must agree to protect confidential information.

4. Process

Set an agenda for the conversations with time for quality discussion.

5. Progress

Monitor progress—is the relationship helping to accomplish defined goals?

6. Feedback

Learn how to provide and receive constructive feedback.

Keeping these in mind will help you avoid the common pitfalls of mentoring programs, and set your program up for success. Check out the full guide here for an in-depth look at how to build a successful mentoring program.