Google has an immersive mentorship program where potential employees, fondly referred to as Nooglers, go through a two-week program where everyone is taught how to use multiple tools within the Google ecosystem. They develop projects in groups and code for open-source programs. By the time the Nooglers are done with the program, they know everything about everything (arguably).
More than 50% of organizations have reported their onboarding programs consist only of paperwork, leading to the newly hired employees feeling lost and unable to catch up with the work their role demands quickly. This costs the company resources that could be avoided with a good mentoring program.
Another perfect example of a beneficial mentorship program is that of Intel. The program focuses entirely on knowledge sharing, as opposed to seniority. The employees are responsible for teaching and learning new skills, making them eligible for leadership roles much sooner.
There is more to a new employee’s initiation than introductions to colleagues and their workspace. We’ve chalked out a few guidelines to help you design a mentoring program for new hires—after all, the no one mentorship program works in all scenarios.
1. Define the objectives of the program
Be it employee guidance, introduction to the company’s main software program, developing leadership skills for new employees, or understanding the company’s culture, laying down the program's objectives makes it possible for the success of the process to be measured. For example, by administering a skills assessment test before and after the mentorship program, a new hire’s development in a particular field can be tracked.
2. Outline the mentoring process
In order to outline the mentoring process, you must consider the following:
- How will the mentees take part in the program?
- How long will the mentorship last?
- How will the success of the program be measured?
- How often and where the program will be carried out?
- The takeaways of the program
3. Choose the participants who will be involved—matching mentors and mentees
Since all newly recruited employees will go through this program, choosing the right kind of mentor based on skills, connections, years of experience, and other achievements will impact the success rate of the mentoring process. By asking the mentees to note down their strengths and weaknesses, interests, and what they would like to learn, the process of matching them with the right mentor will be more streamlined.
Zynga has an interesting mentorship program where the older employees and new hires are challenged to learn from each other, the former learning new skills and the latter learning leadership and management skills. The starting point is a week-long boot camp, integrating new employees into the company culture.
4. Group mentoring and accessible online information
If the ratio of mentors to mentees is unequal, group mentorship is just as feasible and provides similar results. Allowing new employees to help and interact with each other in a group during the mentoring process, interpersonal relationships within teams will improve.
Giving access to online information about mentors, the mentorship program, objectives, and results of previous mentorship programs would make a mentee more proactive, nudging them to get started. Keeping the mentee informed of future plans in the program and other positive developments encourages them to invest thoroughly in the process.
5. Create a feedback and reward system
Providing and receiving feedback throughout the mentor-mentee meetings increases the individuals’ involvement in the process. By providing reviews for mentors and mentees alike and acknowledging their progress, the company encourages them to become more involved in the process. This also has the added benefit of strengthening any areas where an individual is lacking, be it soft skills or tech-related skills.
Another point to keep in mind would be to provide rewards for progress. For example, a mentor’s success in the program can be added to their annual performance review, encouraging them with other benefits.
6. Mentorship awareness and mentoring software
Mentors should be on the same page as the organization when it comes to expecting certain results from the program. Mentorship training will guide the mentors to be able to support the new hires best and balance the company’s expectations. Mentors should be trained in soft skills before the program and must be informed of the topics to be discussed at meetings with the new employees. Their ability to guide mentees has to be tested, along with the knowledge they can impart.
Mentoring software can be used to simplify the entire process by matching mentors and mentees, analyzing the success rate of the program through feedback, providing resources for the mentees, etc. MentorCity, Coaching Loft, and Mentorink are some such software.
7. Assess after each step
It is vital to assess the new hires after each step to ensure there's a tangible result to the mentorship program and learning initiatives. A technical skills assessment round will help you determine whether or not the candidates are grasping the required knowledge.
Furthermore, depending on these rounds of technical screening, you can apply the philosophy of Track > Measure > Improve. If a candidate is not benefitting from one mentorship program, with a tech assessment test, you'll be able to determine which mentorship program would suit them the best.
Mentorship programs play a crucial role in recruiting and retaining employees. It serves as an incentive to potential employees who would feel that the company is valuing their talent and helping them develop their skills. Employees who go through these mentoring programs are more likely to stay in the company owing to their positive experience through the program than those who don’t have access to such programs.
For example, Deloitte invests in a two-year program where the mentoring is geared towards developing an employee’s career in the company, encouraging networking, and laying a strong foundation within the company. Employing these strategies will save the company resources, helping new employees to acclimate themselves to the organization quickly.