Large corporations and organizations can face unique challenges when it comes to developing and managing a workplace mentoring program.
Mentoring program managers will need to have a good strategy and be highly organized if they are going to guide a large number of mentor-mentee relationships. When developing a cross organisational mentoring program, it is important to start with a good plan and clear objectives for any workplace mentoring program and particularly one in a bigger company. There needs to be good communication and a schedule set up for a large mentorship program to function effectively and be a positive influence on corporate culture.
While it can seem daunting to manage a cross organizational mentorship program when employees are located in different departments or even geographical areas, there are also some advantages.
One of the major benefits that larger organizations have when it comes to mentorships is the vast amount of talent and skills that are available. Because so many employees and offices fall under the corporate umbrella, borders are not a hinderance anymore. This means that employees located around the world are able to learn from each other and coach one another. Workplace mentorship programs like these will help develop a robust and sustainable business culture.
Developing a cross organizational mentoring program
There are several different mentoring models that a company can use when they are developing a cross organizational mentoring program for their workplace. These include one on one mentorships, group mentoring and self-directed mentoring. What type will work for your organization will be determined by what the company hopes to achieve with the workplace mentoring program.
One on one mentorships are the most common form of workplace mentoring styles. In these scenarios one senior employee is paired with a more inexperienced employee. Sometimes these are succession relationships where the senior employee has plans to retire or leave the company and the junior employee is being groomed to take over the position. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes companies opt to guide and train new employees through a mentoring program. This allows for the new hire to become more familiar with company policy and procedure as well as create networking and relationship-building opportunities.
Group mentoring programs are more common at larger organizations because of the number of mentors and mentees. In this model one mentor is often assigned to guide several mentees in a group setting. The challenges that this style of mentorship presents is the difficulty of scheduling a meeting where all the members can attend. However, with the option of holding a virtual meeting, where members can attend via their computers or other devices this problem is easy to overcome. This model of meeting can also work for organizations that run international mentorships, which can allow for an exchange of ideas and skill development without limitations.
Self-directed mentorship programs are ones that are not as controlled by the company. Rather, a list of mentors agrees to have their names on a list and mentees can select who they want to mentor them. This helps reduce the demand on the mentoring program manager as they do not have to make the match themselves. Unfortunately, this model of mentoring can lead to a mismatch, which won’t be a productive experience for either the mentor or the mentee. In addition, with mentoring software like Together, making a good mentor-mentee match is easy thanks to the program’s algorithm.
Although these are the main types of workplace mentoring programs, they are not exclusive, and some companies chose to have more than one style or even create a hybrid-mentorship program that uses some elements of each model to create a unique program that works best for that specific organization.
There are many good examples of workplace mentoring programs that work in a cross organizational setting.
Making a mentoring program successful
Whether you are planning a mentoring program at a large international company or one with locations in different cities or states, there are some ways that you can ensure success. These include:
- Leadership, including managers and supervisors, should be committed to the program objectives. Mentoring comes with some costs, such as time and energy put in by the mentor and mentee, and company leadership will need accept these costs for the program to succeed.
- A strategy or plan needs to be created that lays out the objectives of the company for the cross organizational mentorship program as well as a blueprint of how the program will unfold. Because this can be a lot of work for one individual, mentoring software can help in the development and implementation of the program. Together is also equipped at making matches, setting and monitoring schedules and reviewing the program’s success.
- Training for participants in the mentorship program. A good mentor is more than a good employee. These individuals need to have good communication and leadership skills, which can be taught in a brief training session. As well, a mentee also needs good communication skills as well as the ability to plan and take the initiative to set goals.
- A key component in a successful cross organizational workplace mentoring program is a review and evaluation of the program’s achievements and its failings. It is important that a workplace mentoring program be evaluated and adjusted, if needed. Software like Together is equipped to help with this task. With its review and reporting capabilities, Together can help identify where the mentoring program needs to be adjusted or changed.
Workplace mentoring programs are not exclusive to small businesses or organizations in one geographical location. Bigger corporations and companies can also benefit from a mentorship program. In fact, with a larger amount of talent to draw on, coupled with technological advances like mentoring software, mentors and mentees do not need to be in the same department or city for a program to be successful.
Although there are some unique challenges to cross organizational mentoring programs, there are also some great benefits too. By having a good strategy and clear objectives organizations can develop a mentorship program that is successful.