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5 Reasons Your Mentorship Programs are Not Working

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

Mentorship programs

Mentorship Programs

Mentorship programs at workplaces boost employee morale and positively impact employee retention. These programs have a lot to offer to both mentors as well as mentees. Mentors get a chance to hone their leadership and listening skills while learning about new technology and mindsets. Mentees get to pick up new skills and learn from the professional experience of the mentor.

Organizations begin mentoring programs with the best of intentions, but they soon lose steam. There could be a number of reasons why your organization’s mentorship programs are not taking off as planned. Let’s have a closer look.

1. Not defining the goals of the mentoring program

Whenever a mentorship program is designed, the primary focus is mapping a mentor to a mentee. A series of events are scheduled to ensure there is steady interaction among the participants. However, what the participants and the organization stand to gain from the program is not defined. A clear goal shapes the program content and structure. Without goals, mentorship programs become ineffective. Examples of goals that could be assigned to mentoring programs include succession planning, employee engagement, improved employee productivity, development of leadership skills, improving workplace culture, etc.

2. Not training for the mentor

Mentors are usually assigned to mentees based on the time the mentor has spent in the organization, area of expertise, designation, and overall work experience. However, an individual who has considerable professional experience need not, inherently, be a good mentor. A good mentor has good listening skills, empathy, and patience, in addition to professional expertise. Although these skills cannot be developed overnight, a mentor training program can guide potential mentors on how they can best contribute to the program and create an impact on their mentees. Training mentors is a great way to ensure your mentoring program is successful.

3. Manual mapping of mentors and mentees

Despite technological advancement, many organizations still use a manual mapping method to match mentors to mentees. A common rule of thumb used is mapping a senior employee to a junior employee in the same department. However, the mentor-mentee mapping can be more nuanced when custom matching algorithms are used. Some advanced mentoring program softwares allow organizations to choose multiple attributes such as location, years of experience, management level, gender and other DEI data. Moving to technology solutions also allows for scalability and auto-assignment, thus, saving time and manual effort.

4. Lack of accountability

After mentors and mentees are initiated into the program, program managers assume that the events and tasks scheduled and planned by them will run like clockwork. However, busy schedules and conflicting commitments often derail the momentum of a mentoring program. With no tracking or accountability metrics, participant engagement fizzles out over time, and mentorship goals remain unattained. A practical solution to this problem is using the right mentorship software solution which sends meeting invites as well as reminders and monitors how often your participants are logging in to access program content.

5. Missing feedback loops

A critical, but often overlooked, component that makes mentorship programs successful in the long run is improving them through continuous feedback. Feedback can be collected from participants during and after the program through well-crafted surveys which is possible through mentoring platforms. Data points such as meeting RSVPs and on-time task completion can serve as a barometer to gauge if the program is engaging for the participants. Over time, data points such as employee loyalty, promotions into leadership roles, an increased interest from employees to participate in mentorship programs can be indicators of what is working well in the programs and what is not.

Take some time to evaluate your organization’s mentorship programs and safeguard against the common mistakes discussed above. Do not hesitate to invest in the right mentoring platform to boost your mentoring programs. They have a lot to offer to employees and help create a positive workplace culture when done right.


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