What can you do to ensure sustainability of mentoring in your organization?
1. Reposition Mentoring
Engagement in mentoring doesn’t begin and end with participation in a corporate mentoring program or retirement. And yet, current mentoring practice seems to do just that. It is long past time to reposition it and create a mentoring culture that supports all mentoring rather than compartmentalizing mentoring participation to specific populations or targeted programs (such as high potentials, emerging leaders, new hires).
2. Create a Mentoring Culture
According to New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, “When you have a mentor you are twice as likely to be engaged with work and thriving in overall well-being.” Who wouldn’t want those outcomes? We know beyond dispute mentoring promotes learning, growth and development. We never outgrow our need for it. So why not be more inclusive and bring everyone into the fold?
A mentoring program requires a mentoring culture to ensure sustainability. When mentoring lives in a mentoring culture, implementation and integration becomes a cultural norm and expectation. In addition, a mentoring culture brings strategic advantages. It creates a more connected and aligned workplace. It is better able to manage and grow organizational knowledge and develop its talent. Talent retention, employee engagement, company loyalty and productivity all increase. A mentoring culture supports diversity and promotes inclusion. It facilitates career transitions, and improves leadership skills. It maximizes time, effort and resources by enhancing the learning throughout the organization.
3. Embed It
Effective mentoring can exist without the support of an established mentoring culture, but inevitably, it requires more work, a longer ramp up time and persistence to maintain and ensure long term continuity. Maintaining mentoring momentum is just plain hard unless it becomes a cultural priority and closely aligns with an organization’s strategic objectives.
Embedding mentoring in the fabric of the organization assures that mentoring is vested in the many rather than the few. People outside the immediate implementation circle feel a sense of ownership and responsibility and hold others accountable. Cultural integration helps maintain the integrity of the mentoring process.
Creating a mentoring culture is a work in progress. This means you need to be minding your Ps and Qs: continuously monitoring, assessing and enhancing your efforts. If you keep these six Ps in mind – preparation, priority, position, pool, politics and progress – they should enhance your efforts and further help you embed good mentoring practice in your organization.