Upskilling | 3 MIN READ

A guide for how to create a mentorship program at work

Written by Jennifer Curry

If you're striving to create an atmosphere where career and growth questions are allowed and encouraged, you need to learn how to create a work mentorship program. Mentors and mentees guide one another towards being the best versions of themselves. Work mentorship programs help close knowledge gaps, upskill employees, improve understanding, and reinforce positive workplace chemistry.

As a result, mentorship programs are impactful and proven to be worthwhile. Studies have found employees involved in work mentorship programs are more engaged and more satisfied with their organization. Additionally, studies have shown mentoring programs result in less employee turnover.

Plus, we can all learn from one another! While it is typical for a mentor to be a higher-level employee, some businesses also embrace "reverse mentoring," where newer hires mentor those who are stuck in the same old ways on approaches to new forms of technology. 

So, how do you create a mentorship program at work from scratch? By following these five steps. 

1. How to Create a Mentorship Program at Work: Goal Setting

For your mentorship program to work, you must set goals for the program. Begin by asking yourself why your business needs a mentorship program. 

  • What do you hope to achieve? 

  • What are you hoping to improve? 

  • What do you hope mentees gain from the program?

  • What do you hope mentors gain from the program?

2. How to Create a Mentorship Program at Work: Structuring

Next, you need to create a structure for your mentorship program. This gets down to the logistics that will help you achieve your goals. 

  • How will people enroll in the mentorship program (both mentees and mentors)?

  • How long will the mentorship program last?

  • How often will pairs meet?

  • Where will pairs meet?

  • How will you evaluate the program?

3. How to Create a Mentorship Program at Work: Choosing Participants

Using your goals and structure, consider which employees are the best fits for your mentorship program. Keep in mind that you want to have a diverse group of employees (both mentors and mentees) so that pairing will succeed. 

  • Invite employees to sign up.

  • Seek out mentors based on your current mentee's needs (i.e., seek out an accounting mentor for your bookkeeper). 

4. How to Create a Mentorship Program at Work: Pairing Participants

Pairing participants can make or break a mentorship program, so do it with care. For example, if a mentorship sours, it will not help your organization reach its goals. Instead, consider the following tips for pairing:

  • Have participants 

     about themselves and their goals for the program.

  • Consider the employee's strengths and weaknesses and think about who can balance those out.

  • Provide mentees with a choice of a few mentors.

  • Invest in a program that uses algorithms to pair mentors and mentees. 

5. How to Create a Mentorship Program at Work: Training Participants

To make your mentorship program successful, you will need to train your mentors. Take time to explain their role in the program and what is expected of them. 

  • Go over the structure.

  • Provide suggestions for when and where to meet.

  • Talk about opportunities to guide mentees.

  • Discuss the importance of 

     (including constructive criticism).

Remind mentors why mentoring is important and what it can do for them. Jenni Luke for the New York Times explains, "It's very much reciprocal, and there's so much to be learned from the younger generation […] Both sides are meeting different types of people, understanding different experiences, and really growing their network of young, up-and-coming professionals to be able to support or to be able to offer opportunities."

Last updated on January 19, 2021

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