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Achieving Your Strategic Goals With Mentoring
by Nancy Ahlrichs

Employment branding has risen to top of mind awareness at many organizations. Leaders increasingly realize that their recruiting challenges are eased or increased depending on the way referral sources (as well as potential candidates) perceive the career opportunities they offer. Just as products or services have a brand or promise of an experience for customers, so too, an organization has a brand as an employer. Mentoring is the new “it” or must-have to enhance their employment brand, but if a mentoring program is to receive sustained support and participation, it must be designed to meet one or more strategic goals of the organization and must be tracked and measured.

To meet these goals, the right people must be in place. As organizations look forward three to five years and calculate the effects of expected retirements, the depth of experience often does not currently exist in the organization to enable a smooth transition. Mentors learn as much as protégés. Being a mentor can be transformational:

• Mentors develop needed EQ, or emotional intelligence quotient, according to author Daniel Goleman

• Managers become leaders

Developing bench strength throughout an organization is also critical when so many customer-facing positions are found at lower levels and the connection between customer turnover and employee turnover is so well established.

Why have a mentoring program? Most in management can quickly name a list of reasons including to:

• Improve recruiting results
• Retain talented individuals
• Teach specific skills (especially soft skills)
• Increase team productivity
• Increase visibility of people of diverse backgrounds and open the door for them to move up
• Increase inclusiveness
• Increase employee satisfaction and scores
• Capture and manage knowledge

If these are some of your reasons for implementing a mentoring program, start with the metrics that matter. Know how you are going to measure the results before you even begin.

Start with the end in mind

Track results for the protégés and mentors versus prior results and versus non-participants. Start with a baseline of data from different sources for later comparison. If you do not have the data you need, hire an intern to dig through the data or to design reports requiring more useful data. In some cases, results such as promotion outcomes may not be immediate.

Track the number of hires due to offering mentoring, and the number of promotions among all participants—mentors and protégées. Track changes to employee satisfaction/engagement scores. Track the retention of women, people of color, and other high turnover groups, if they participated. Spotlight and reward top mentors.

Develop a communications calendar to keep the energy moving forward. Share long-term and short-term results quarterly or bi-annually with all in senior management and all employees. Measure mentor and protégé responses to the program, including stories and patterns over time. Seek and document any PR as a result—articles, newsletters, etc.

Don’t wait until 2008 to start a mentoring program. Read Getting Started with Mentoring, by Myrna Marofsky and Ann Johnston—and get started!

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