When running a mentorship initiative, there’s no need to start from scratch. Mentorship program templates can act as your A to Z guide for initiating, organizing, and evaluating a mentorship effort. What’s helpful is that no matter which mentorship program template you go with, they all have the most crucial elements in common.
What Is a Mentorship Program Template?
A mentorship program template (MPT) is a visual tool for building a mentoring plan from the point of view of the mentor and mentee.
“Mentorship” here simply means a “mentoring relationship.” In this sense, MPTs are used by the direct participants in the mentoring program. For HR, however, there are many other templates to consider. For example, feedback is an important part of evaluating the progress and results of a mentoring program, and there are other templates that can be used for such a purpose. But for the mentor and the mentee, this type of assessment is not directly relevant.
What Does a Mentorship Program Template Do?
The minimum function of an MPT is to list all of the activities in the form of a diagram or spreadsheet. Many MPTs are really just a checklist of all the things that go on during a mentorship program.
Some HR departments might use the same document to detail results, but that tends to crowd out the points of the plan. Instead, the majority of HR practitioners include such information in another type of format or file. Here is an example of the less detailed form of MPT for a cultural mentoring initiative.
What Are the Different Kinds of Mentorship Program Templates?
There are several types of MPTs because there are many kinds of mentoring. Keep in mind that business mentoring is “a structured relationship where an experienced and often senior professional guides an employee in developing professional skills, best practices, organizational processes, etc.”
Mentoring is not a coaching relationship, because the mentor has experience in the client’s industry. Still, like coaching, mentoring tends to be a long-term engagement that aims at improving an employee’s skills across a range of areas related to their position. That might be a lot of ground to cover, and the details of an MPT will reflect this. To illustrate, mentoring programs can be described in terms of subject, such as:
- Career development
- Managerial / leadership
- Talent development
- Product- and industry-specific
Or they can be described in terms of format/setting, for example:
- One-on-one internal
The MPT will need to be adapted according to whatever variables are relevant. But no matter what subject or setting is being used for a mentoring program, the MPT should still contain some basic, key components.
What Should Be Included in a Mentorship Program Template?
Mentoring courses can start at the request of the employee and/or as an organizational initiative. HR should actually begin a mentoring initiative with an employee development program that results in a list of skills and abilities that the worker wants to improve. This could include a total makeover due to poor performance, or on a positive note, preparation for a significant climb up the ladder.
Measurement Scales and Related Goals
Once the upskilling list has been finalized, it’s important to decide on an optimal measurement scale to determine if the employee benefits from the program. But even before it begins, the scale should be applied to the employee’s current skill level as a way to gauge subsequent progress.
Mentoring programs shouldn’t come at the cost of productivity. To ensure that there is minimum disruption to the employee’s tasks, it’s important to discuss the schedule with both the worker and their manager. Possibly, the employee will need to work a bit of overtime, or a temporary replacement will need to fill in for some of their lost hours.
Not every potential mentor has the ability or the will to participate. Mentors are usually successful people in the organization or industry, but HR needs to make sure that they also have the personality for the close work of an engagement.
Points for First Meeting
Initial meetings are usually quite long and cover many details. These are some of the essential things to discuss:
- Ownership – who decides about content, setting, experiences, and milestones
- Conclusion – how long the engagement will last, and will there be informal contact afterward
- Interaction – the mentor should have a talk with the employee about their goals, preferred learning methods, and particular challenges; HR should witness the interaction to determine interpersonal “chemistry”
HR needs to manage a mentorship program to ensure that it achieves results. Here are some common best practices to follow:
- Reward participants – Both the mentor and the employee should receive recognition for their efforts.
- Conduct feedback sessions – HR should meet with the employee and the mentor separately to find out if all is going well and if changes need to be made.
- Apply metrics – The measurement methods which were previously determined should be used at the beginning, halfway mark, and end of the engagement.
- Keep a record – For future mentorship programs, HR should make a list of what worked, and what didn’t.
Manage Mentoring with the GrowthSpace Platform
MPTs are highly useful when it comes to planning and carrying out mentoring programs. But medium and large organizations with lots of employees and skill requirements require additional tools to match mentors with employees according to specific development needs.
GrowthSpace gives HR professionals the ideal technology for running complex L&D programs at scale. Whether it’s a one-on-one internal mentoring program, or a company-wide skills workshop, GrowthSpace is a necessary ingredient for organizations that want serious talent development.