Five Resolutions to Kick Off Your 2018 Mentoring Program

Girl writing new years resolutions, hands in picture. Grey stone table with colorful sticky notes with popular new year resolutions and pen, copy space

Happy New Year! We are out-partied, over-socialized, and have been swinging a little too far to the left of moderation. We’re feeling refreshed and ready to buckle down on work, right? RIGHT? Even if you’re just exhausted, we’ve got your mentoring program resolutions ready to go, so you don’t have to think of new ways to improve your company’s mentorships. Just use ours! We won’t tell your boss it was our idea. ; )

1. Make a Mentoring Mission Statement.  When you start a new business, non-profit, or initiative, you likely work to pare down the organization’s purpose to a single statement– something you can use for marketing, on your website, or in a quick elevator pitch. Give your mentoring program the same treatment. If you nail down the goals of your mentoring program into a statement that captures the spirit and values of your organization, it will be easier to motivate participants and determine steps that are cohesive.

2. Hold a Mentoring Support Group Meeting.  If you’re an HR administrator, you likely spend a lot of time arranging meetings. Here’s one you may have forgotten. Periodically, it’s a great idea to set up a time for mentors to get together with fellow mentors. Provide topics or questions to guide the discussion, but try to restrain yourself from moderating. These meetings should be for participants to share challenges, ask for advice, and spur inspiration.

3. Develop a Mentoring Space.  Anyone will tell you that if you’re going to work from home, you should select a space to turn into an office. Don’t do anything other than work in that space, and modify it to stand apart from the rest of your personal areas. Well, it may sound silly, but if you’re going to facilitate mentoring at the office, create a separate space. If the conference or break rooms are your only choice, fill a cart with mentoring supplies. You could include cookies and coffee, or paper, pencils, markers, computers, and worksheets that suggest activities such as workshopping resumes. Make a wall or bulletin board of photos of mentors and mentees. Whatever you do, get your participants out of their usual environment, so that they’re less distracted and focused on each other.

4. Get to Know Your Staff Better.  Have a beginning of the year meeting with your staff members or arrange a mixer. If you’re setting up mentoring relationships, you’d better know your participants. Think of them as clients– if your whole job relied on your ability to match them to yield the greatest business success from both parties, your first step would be to get to know the goals and experiences of each participant. Don’t assume you know coworkers that you may only casually greet by the water cooler. Make time for real conversation.

5. Create Short-Term Goals.  Many of us feel overwhelmed at the start of the new year. You’ve probably got a long list of things you’d like to improve in your professional and personal life. Instead of vowing to revamp the entire mentoring program, select a few quarterly or monthly goals. By March, you’d like to have everyone in the office paired with a new mentor or mentee? That’s an accessible, specific goal that you can communicate to your co-workers. Break your goal into actionable steps and assign them to yourself and others.

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Kate Mason
kate.mason@ementorconnect.com

Kate Mason is a writer, historian, and stand-up comic living in New Orleans, LA. She is the Programming Coordinator for the New Orleans Film Society and an avid enthusiast of pop culture. She approaches mentoring challenges with a witty, creative mind.

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