3 Common Problems With Corporate Mentoring Programs (and How to Solve Them)

Corporate mentoring programs are an innovative way of providing employees with additional training and career development opportunities. However, not all companies understand how to use mentoring programs to their advantage and sometimes, problems can arise. With this in mind, there are several reasons why a company might be experiencing issues with corporate mentoring programs. Let’s discover 3 common mentoring program problems and suggest some solutions that can get your company on the right track.

Poor Matches

One of the most common pitfalls faced by mentoring programs is the possibility of a poor match. Although for various reasons such as availability of staff, budgetary constraints, and time limitations, it is not always possible to pair mentees with their mentor of choice, a bad pairing can lead to further issues and even prompt employees to disengage with the mentoring program itself. Consequently, investing in mentoring software such as the Together Platform can help your HR department to allocate employees with appropriate mentors and mentees through the use of flexible algorithms.

Assigning a mentor to a mentee should not be a snap decision. At the bare minimum, chosen mentors should have a genuine interest in the mentoring process, an abundance of people skills, and the necessary knowledge to tutor their mentee. Similarly, a mentee should be someone who wants to develop their understanding, has a desire to progress within the company, and is also open to challenges and feedback. Above all, perfect pairings should be thought of as a partnership and therefore must stretch the mentor in their role, while at the same time developing the professional skills of the mentee.

Structural Issues

In order for mentoring programs to be a success, coaching sessions must be scheduled regularly and at a mutually convenient time for both the mentor and their mentee. A lack of organisation can lead to clashes, and overriding commitments that can result in cancellations, and an overall reduction in program effectiveness. That being said, in order for mentoring sessions to be successful they must be built around achievable goals and take place at times that are distant enough so that progress can be observed.

Additionally, whereas some mentoring partners benefit from access to a wide variety of tools and resources, others might see these as a distraction. The solution therefore is to create a balance so that mentors and mentees who prefer regimes can be helped, while at the same time those who enjoy a more spontaneous approach can also be supported without feeling pressured. Clear communication is therefore key and that is why it is vital that actionable targets are put into place early into the mentoring scheme. 

Lack of Direction

If clear ambitions are not set out from the beginning of the program, then it can be difficult to assess the impact of a mentoring scheme. If no instructions are provided, mentors can feel underprepared and this can have an impact on the resulting quality of mentoring sessions. If mentors and mentees feel that a program has not been designed clearly and precisely or that the overall experience is poor, then program dropout rates tend to be higher. Correspondingly, establishing direction is of paramount importance.

From the beginning, mentors and mentees should be introduced to the program purpose, their roles, and the best mentoring practices. Providing employees with tips for the structure of a productive mentoring session can help participants to clarify objectives, pursue goals, and stay motivated. Consequently, if a mentoring program can be shown to be successful, by correlating activity to impact through mentoring software, program participation is more likely to be high, raising enthusiasm and boosting company morale.

Ultimately, when implemented correctly mentoring programs can have multiple benefits for a company. Although it is natural for mentoring programs to adapt over time to meet employee demands, avoiding common problems can ensure your company reaps the rewards of a well structured and dynamic mentoring scheme. 

Addressing issues with your mentoring program can boost employee morale and increase company productivity. For more solutions to frequent workplace grievances, take a look at this blog post for 5 things employees complain about most at work.

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