How do you structure a company-wide mentoring program?
- Set up a steering committee responsible for getting the program off the ground.
- Establish timelines.
- Set up Mentoring/Mentee “pools” and think about matching to the chemistry and hopefully, geography of the participants.
- Recognition of the mentors, either in public at national meetings, including newsletters, e-mail, media attention, etc.
- Start regionally; think nationally with a pilot program.
- Develop a survival and training guide for mentors that includes critical elements such as: road maps, why you were chosen as a mentor, what to do in the role, how to mentor, how to establish trust, guidelines, Frequently asked questions, confidentiality, etc.
- Develop a survival and training guide for the mentee, too, to establish expectations and enhance the learning process.
- Develop a mentor and mentee profile to include name, contact information, background, experience, positions held, strengths, philosophies or “little known facts about ME.”
- Post a job description on line with your company and recruit for the position as you would any other position to understand the motivation and intent of the Mentor as the right choice will have impact on the entire organization.
- Send a welcome to note from senior leadership to both parties.
- Post best practices on your company web site if anything remarkable happens, or any great insights gleaned.
- Think across departments. My Mentor at Nestle was a Senior VP of Acquisitions, not a likely match up but a valuable one for the two of us.
- Have a mentoring “talk points” that has the following elements: ice-breakers, introduction to the process, about the mentor ( background and experience) about the mentee ( same) discuss the importance of mutual confidentially and stick to the rules of engagement, set expectations, describe what you each want to get out of the relationship, stick to the plan.
- Don’t confuse mentoring with Buddy Systems, or Guides. They are different. Mentors should apply for reps that are stalled first. Buddies are great for the brand new rep to help find navigate the new job.
- Be careful to manage workloads and beware of over-burdening an already overly burdened sales force.
- Post questionnaire on what works and what doesn’t.
- Get senior management support and have them visible in the process
Group Vice President
“Applying Profit” in Healthcare