8 Steps to Building a Collaborative Mentorship Programme to Help Your Teams Succeed

In this article, we discuss why mentoring matters and how you can build a collaborative mentoring programme.

Motivated Team« Back to Articles

Hiring top talent is essential to scale and maintain continuous growth in the modern business ecosystem. But recruiting excellent personnel is only half the work.

While retaining top talent has always been challenging, the Great Resignation has made matters worse. Employees are quitting their jobs and for many, this also involves retiring or switching industries, while others venture into entrepreneurship.

According to a Mckinsey report, job openings rose from 9.3 million in April 2021 to 11.3 million in May 2022 in the US. The actual cause of the Great Resignation comes down to misalignment between what employers have traditionally offered and modern employee expectations. This includes things such as compensation, flexibility, learning opportunities, and job fulfilment.

In essence, employees refuse to settle for the status quo and want more out of their jobs—and this goes beyond salaries. The Great Resignation survey from 360Learning highlighted that people want development opportunities. One of the best ways to encourage this is through mentorship.

That’s why Pushfar and 360Learning teamed up to talk about why mentoring matters and gave tips for how HR and L&D teams can build a scalable mentorship programme to help employees succeed and increase retention. In this article, we share our main takeaways from the webinar.

Watch the webinar replay here.

Why mentoring matters

Organisations that support collaborative experiences, like mentorship programmes, tend to retain employees for an average of 5.4 years, twice longer than companies that struggle with it. That’s because they’ve trained a highly capable and satisfied workforce.

Mentoring has always been valuable in accelerating professional development and building relationships. But in recent years, it has become an essential piece of career planning.

The reason is simple: the working world has changed dramatically, and the old rules no longer apply. In a world where jobs are constantly evolving, mentoring is one of the best ways to upskill from within and gain the skills and experiences you need to stay ahead of the curve.

In addition, mentoring increases employee engagement and satisfaction and gives people the chance to connect with all levels of staff. This also significantly reduces communication silos.

According to a study by Gallup, 59% of millennials said that having a mentor was extremely important to their career development. And yet, only 22% of them had one.

This gap is even more pronounced for young people of colour and women. For example, only 18% of black millennials and 14% of Hispanic millennials said they had a mentor, compared to 26% of white millennials. And while 29% of male millennials said they had a mentor, the number was just 16% for women.

The good news is that mentoring programmes are becoming more common in the workplace. But to be truly successful, these programmes must offer the right support for mentors and mentees.

How collaborative learning can support mentors and mentees

For a mentorship programme to be successful, it needs to be collaborative. Mentors and mentees need to be involved in the process and invested in each other's success.

One of the best ways to do this is to create a learning community where everyone can share their experiences and learn from each other. This can be done online or in person, but ensuring everyone feels included and has a chance to contribute is essential.

One way to do this is to use a learning management system where mentors and mentees can ask questions, give advice, and share resources. Participants can also use this space to stay organised and on top of their goals, help mentors either find or develop learning content to match mentee needs alongside subject-matter experts, and build effective communication channels.

8 steps to building your mentoring programme

Now that you know why mentoring matters and how to create a collaborative learning community, it's time to start building your programme.

1. Define your purpose and goals

The first step is to define your purpose and goals. What are you hoping to achieve with this programme?

Do you want to help employees develop new skills? Do you want to increase retention or improve job satisfaction? Once you've answered these questions, you'll be able to create a programme aligned with your company's goals. For example, if you’re looking to provide better support for future leaders, you could pair experienced leaders with top performers and focus specifically on nurturing leadership qualities.

2. Create a structure

With your objectives in place, it's time to create a structure for your programme. Start with how often mentors and mentees will meet, what type of commitment you expect from them, and what kind of support you'll provide.

One way to do this is to create a tiered system with different levels of commitment. For example, you could have a tier for employees who want to meet once a month for an hour and another for employees who want to meet twice a week for two hours.

Doing so gives employees the flexibility to choose a level of commitment that works for them while ensuring everyone gets the support they need.

3. Design the details

The next step is to design the programme. This includes creating a sign-up form, developing training materials, and choosing a software platform to host the programme.

One way to ensure your programme is successful is to use a software platform that makes it easy for mentors and mentees to connect and stay organised.

4. Attract and onboard participants

After developing a structure for your mentorship programme, you'll need to attract and onboard participants. This includes creating marketing materials, developing a recruitment strategy, and training mentors and mentees on how to use the software platform.

Creating an onboarding process that will help mentors and mentees get the most out of the programme is also important. You can achieve this using a welcome email, an introductory call, or a meeting to set expectations.

5. Pair mentors and mentees

Once you've recruited participants, you should start pairing mentors and mentees. This is a crucial step because it will determine the programme's success.

There are a few things to keep in mind when making these pairs. First, you'll want to consider the goals of each participant. For example, if someone is looking to develop their leadership skills, you'll want to pair them with a mentor who has experience in that area.

You'll also want to consider the personalities of each participant. They must get along and have similar communication styles. Otherwise, the mentorship relationship will be difficult and unproductive.

The best way to find compatible pairs is to use a software platform with a built-in matching system. Then, all you'll need to do is input the preferences of each participant and find the best match.

6. Train mentors and mentees

Once you've paired mentors and mentees, it's time to provide them with training. This will help them understand the expectations of the programme and set them up for success.

One way to do this is to create a training module that covers the basics of mentoring. It should include what to expect from the programme, how to give and receive feedback, and how to handle conflict.

You can also provide additional resources, like templates and guides, that participants can reference as needed.

7. Have the right tools

For your mentorship programme to succeed, you'll need to have the right tools in place. This includes a mentoring software to host the programme and a learning management system to help you design, host, and collect feedback on the training materials/templates for mentors and mentees.

With the right tools in place, you'll be able to create a mentorship programme aligned with your company's goals and provide employees with the support they need to succeed.

8. Measuring success

The final step is to measure the success of your programme. Some methods you can use include setting milestones, conducting surveys, and analysing data.

One way to set milestones is to create a timeline for each goal you want to achieve. For example, if you want to increase the number of employees who get promoted, you could set a milestone for six months after the programme starts.

You can also conduct surveys to get feedback from participants. This will help you understand what's working well and what needs improvement.

3 top tips for scaling mentorship programmes

A mentorship programme can be an invaluable asset for your company. However, you'll need to continue improving and scaling it over time. Here are three tips to help you succeed:

1. Start small

While you may want to involve everyone and cover everything from the start, it may not be possible. So instead, start small and gradually increase the number of participants. Such an approach will help you fine-tune the programme and avoid overwhelmed mentors and mentees.

It’s also important to ensure to properly train mentors and mentees on how to use the software platform and how to access the training materials. Without this, they won't be able to take full advantage of the programme.

2. Plan ahead

It's essential to have a plan in place before you start scaling the programme. Part of planning involves setting goals, creating a timeline, and budgeting for additional resources. With a plan, you'll be able to track your progress and make necessary adjustments along the way.

3. Review and adjust

As you scale the programme, reviewing and adjusting it regularly is essential. You should also aim to survey participants, set new milestones, and analyse data. By doing this, you'll be able to identify areas that need improvement and make changes accordingly.

Scaling a mentorship programme can be challenging, but it's crucial to continue growing it over time. With the right approach, you'll be able to create a programme that provides employees with the support they need to succeed.

Upskilling from within is at the heart of mentorship

An organisation’s best asset is its people. That’s why creating a culture of collaborative learning and encouraging people to learn from and teach each other is critical to filling the skills gap. By leveraging mentorship programmes in your organisation and using in-house experts to share insights and know-how, you can successfully prepare your employees for the jobs of today and tomorrow, while supplying people with career-advancing opportunities.

Author Bio

Freddie is Content Lead for the UK market at 360Learning—a collaborative learning platform that enables companies to upskill from within by turning their experts into champions for employee, customer, and partner growth.     

Welcome to PushFar, the world's largest mentoring platform. Whether you're looking to find a mentor or launch your own mentoring programs and schemes, we can help.
Looking for a mentor or to become a mentor?
Join Now Free Running your own mentoring programs?
Request a Demo

Explore more articles...

Similar mentoring, career progression and learning articles and resources by PushFar, you might like to read.

Go Further, with PushFar.

What are you looking for in your mentoring journey?
Individual Mentoring - Join Free
Organisation Solutions - Request a Demo