As a well-established corporate practice, mentoring has been a chosen practice for many businesses across the various industries. According to the Association for Talent Development, around 71% of Fortune 500 Companies implement a formal mentorship program. Those that haven’t tend to support more informal initiatives. Mentoring offers many benefits to organizations and participants.
Mentorship requires a solid foundation of support and guidance from the organization that facilitates opportunities. Though many organizations just naturally develop their own unique mentoring processes and philosophies, there are some main actions that they need to take to create a successful mentorship.
Why Does It Matter?
Before we can get into the factors to consider or how to build a successful mentorship program at your dealership, it’s important to explain the reasons as to why it’s important in the first place. Mentoring can deliver valuable advantages to your dealership.
For employers, a well-design mentoring program:
- Provides a competitive advantage in an otherwise tight labor market
- Serves as a valuable on-boarding tool
- Boosts employee loyalty and retention
- Improves workplace morale and engagement
- Pass along or retain important organizational knowledge
- Impart new skills
- Supports professional and personal growth
- Develops future leaders
That’s all well and good for dealerships, but you might be wondering, what about the employees.
For employees, a well-designed mentoring program:
- Develops positive relationships with coworkers.
- Helps individuals to contribute to the overall success of the dealership.
- Demonstrates the dealerships commitment to provide employees with career opportunities and options.
- Positively influence their desire to stay at the dealership.
- Allows mentees to engage in experiential learning
- Sets employees up for success in terms of promotions and salary
- Programs help employees to feel valued and supported.
- Allows a space to open up about their larger aspirations.
Factors To Consider
Just like any other program, mentoring programs are often not a one-size-fits-all solution. As every organization has different or varied goals and aspirations, it means that you simply cannot just have a general program that can then fit everywhere. Instead, you need to consider all the factors to determine how to create a program that works well for your organization and your employees.
Below, we’ll be going through some of the biggest factors for you to take into consideration when creating a successful mentoring program.
Type of Program
There are five main types of mentoring programs, including one on one peer mentoring, group mentoring, project mentoring, reverse mentoring, and flash mentoring.
One on One Peer Mentoring
This is the most traditional form of peer mentoring. In this form, the mentors and mentees are paired up for a selected period of time. They are then given the opportunity to work together without having or needing a defined agenda.
In group mentoring, there is an expert who facilitates sessions with a team or group. The series of sessions normally focus on a particular issue, such as leadership development or management training.
With project mentoring, you might encounter an expert being brought in to lend their expertise on a specific project, such as product launches or marketing campaigns.
Reverse Mentoring, though less common, it is still an effective option. It involves lower-level employees providing insight or guidance to higher level employees.
Lastly, another less common option, Flash Mentoring basically features a speed dating type of format to help with interaction with different individuals.
Formal vs. Informal
There are various pros and cons for each type of program. Formal programs provide the organization and its employees with accountability and structure, however, interactions can feel forced at times. On the other hand, informal program styles allow the logistics to be determined by the participants, but there is a risk of disintegrating.
Regardless of which style you choose, it’s important to create a culture where mentorship programs are respected and valued.
The mentorship programs should either be open to all or be selected to specific groups only, such as managers or employees with 1+ years of seniority. It should also be decided whether the program should require potential participants to go through an application process or be on an invitation-only basis.
Any pairings that you have, should not stretch on indefinitely. Hence, you should define the duration in advance of the program. Will they be a series of months, a period of weeks, or just a single session?
Ensure that there is funding available for the mentoring program. The cost to create and maintain a mentoring program is generally quite low as most resources already exist within the dealership.
By developing concrete sets of key performance indicators (KPIs), you will enable management to be able to quantify the success of the program. Some example KPIs can include improving minority retention rates, more advancement opportunities for women, and/or lower turnover.
For marketing plans, try to focus on inclusivity and target leaders from different divisions. Ensure that you represent different economic backgrounds, ethnicities, and different ages.
How To Start A Successful Mentorship Program?
As we mentioned before, it’s important to create a program that is specific to your business and the needs of your employees. What works for a competitor or another dealership, might not work for you. So, after you’ve gone through the factors to consider and decided on all the aspects of your mentorship program, how do you actually get started? Below are a few steps to help you get your mentorship program off to a success.
1. Outline Your Goals
Your first step should be to determine what goals you are wishing to accomplish with your program. With every business having different goals, it’s important for you to ensure that the goals define what the participants wish to achieve.
Some important questions to ask are:
- What type of mentoring would best suit our business?
- Why do our employees need mentors?
- What do we hope to gain from this?
2. Build A Structure
After outlining the goals, you’ll want to get started in creating the structure. The structure should include:
- Selecting which employees will be involved
- Determine the duration of the mentorship program
- Create training materials
- Choose metrics to measure the results
- Decide on the type of mentoring to be used
3. Pair and Train Participants
There should be training process before the mentoring that each mentor and mentee has to complete. During the training, each participant should:
- Create a list of goals
- Learn to provide constructive criticism
- Arrange dates for mentor/mentee meetings
- Link individual goals to company objectives.
4. Operate The Program
While operating the program, you should ensure that everyone at your dealership knows about the program and is kept updated about it on a regular basis. Leadership should either be a part of the communications being sent out, endorse it, or be a part of the program. The program should also be made into a part of your corporate culture, which means that everyone needs to participate and value the program.
5. Evaluate Success
The last step will be to evaluate the success of the program. When creating the structure, you’ll also be deciding which metrics to use to measure the success of the program. Aim to use and record both qualitative (e.g. surveys and interviews) and quantitative (e.g. advancement rates and mentee retention) measurements. These should be used to then see how successful your program really was.
Various studies have shown that productivity can increase by around 88% when managers are involved in the mentorship programs of the organization. Mentoring also has the ability to provide your dealership with real, tangible results.