Why and How to Start a Mentoring Program

In 2023, Your Organization Needs a Mentoring Program. Here’s A Guide to Get Started.

A new year and National Mentoring Month make it the perfect time to take stock: Are you helping employees see the possibilities for career growth at your organization?

Did you know January is National Mentoring Month? Celebrated annually, it underscores how influential interpersonal relationships are for fostering learning and skill building. 

When the month was first commemorated back in 2002, the spotlight was squarely on the importance of youth mentorship programs. Today, though, we know how important coaching and mentoring is at all levels of professional development, even for individuals who are well established in their careers. 

Why mentoring matters

Creating a mentoring program for your organization has a number of proven benefits. Matching new employees with a more veteran mentor during the onboarding process helps those newcomers get up to speed more quickly, and creates a space to ask questions that’s free of any of the pressures that might exist in a manager–report relationship. 

Beyond onboarding, a formal mentorship program is a powerful way to show your workforce that the organization values them and is invested in their growth. By creating—or even mandating—a mentoring program, you signal to your teams that making space to talk about career trajectories matters, and that empowering individuals with the skills they need is a priority to you. 

Ultimately, these investments in your organization’s people help them feel appreciated and valued, while also enabling them see what opportunities lie ahead in their careers. And that future vision is critical for employee retention: According to a recent report from OpenSesame and Lighthouse Research & Advisory, two in three workers have quit a job because of a lack of career growth, but 90% of them would have stayed if they’d seen opportunities ahead

Starting (or improving) your mentoring program

With the start of the new year and the national recognition of mentoring this month, now is the perfect time to take stock of the state of mentorship in your organization. If you have an existing program, consider taking a survey of the participating mentees to see what impact they think mentorship is having for them.

But don’t forget to check in with your mentors, too—these folks are stepping up and taking on important, but extra, work for your organization. Often, mentorship conversations require a lot of emotional intelligence, tact, and strategic thinking. Are your mentors getting the support they need in these areas? Is there training you can make available to better equip them for these responsibilities? Now is an opportune time to identify and prioritize those opportunities.

If your organization doesn’t have a coaching and mentoring program yet, well, make 2023 your year! We’ve put together a handy little guide to help you make the case for investing in mentorship for your employees, as well as some pointers for how to get started. With the right resources and training, you’ll have your program up and running in no time!

Interested in learning more on this topic? Check out these resources!