Should You Introduce a Mentorship Scheme?

It may seem like a strange topic to tackle in a recruitment blog but introducing a mentoring scheme can, in fact, be a great addition to many recruitment and retention strategies.

Mentoring schemes come in all shapes and sizes – they can be more of an ad hoc, in house project or part of a wider, outward facing recruitment strategy that works as a nice bit of PR for your business too.

There are, of course, pros and cons that come along with mentoring schemes, which I hope to cover in this blog too. It may not be right for your business – but you never know, a mentoring scheme could be a fresh and different addition to your recruitment plans.

Mentorship schemeThe pros of a mentoring scheme

Both sides of a mentorship scheme can benefit hugely from the relationship – both mentor and mentee. If a mentorship scheme is internal, it gives the mentor the opportunity to communicate with someone they may not have done otherwise – giving them insight into different levels of the business again.

If the scheme were with external mentees, the mentor would gain more industry awareness and the satisfaction of giving back to their profession.

Here are a few more pros of introducing a mentorship scheme in your organisation:

  • Employee satisfaction: you could see employee satisfaction increase. Whether that’s through mentees feeling more supported and positive about progression or through mentors experiencing a sense of satisfaction through the role they play in helping others with their career.
  • Career progression: a mentorship scheme could give employees confidence to progress in their role and in your organisation – helping with employee retention. Mentoring could give them clearer career goals to work towards, encouraging drive and passion for their profession.
  • Integration: a mentorship scheme could be a great way of integrating people into your team, helping them to feel appreciated and supported in their job.
  • Cultural fit: employees may feel they ‘fit’ into the organisation better as a result of mentorship.
  • Free: some mentorship schemes can be entirely free. With a bit of careful planning they could help your recruitment and retention, thus making them a wise investment in the long run.

The cons of a mentoring scheme

As already mentioned, there are bound to be some negatives to mentoring schemes. It’s important that you weigh each of them against the pros, taking the unique circumstances of your organisation into account each step of the way.

Here are a few possible cons you may feel impact your organisation when introducing a mentorship scheme:

  • Confidentiality: you may be concerned that the confidential relationship between mentors and mentees could be broken and result in HR difficulties. However, with the right training in place this shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Time commitments: some team members may see mentoring as a time commitment that they can’t afford – and they may be right. It’s important that mentors are invested in the scheme, recognising the benefits for themselves and others. However, it’s equally important that not everyone is involved as a scheme could be a time drain on your organisation and there are certain skills mentors will require that not everyone may have.
  • Training: for a mentorship scheme to be successful there will need to be some level of training to ensure both parties get the most out of the scheme as possible. This can take time and resources, but if it’s carefully planned it can be an investment well-made.

What do you want to achieve from introducing a mentoring scheme?

CollaborationIt may sound like an obvious question but it’s a key starting point for when you’re considering introducing a mentorship scheme.

Think of your objectives for the scheme. What would you like to be the result? For example:

  • Do you want to improve employee retention?
  • Would you like to see employee satisfaction increase?
  • Is a mentorship scheme a way of attracting new talent into the business?

If you don’t have clear goals for your mentorship scheme it will be difficult to see if you’ve had any success and it may even prove difficult to decide on a mentorship scheme that really works for you.

What type of mentoring scheme would work best for you?

With your objectives in mind you can start looking at the type of mentoring scheme that could work for your organisation. Start by deciding between:

  • internal
  • and external mentorship schemes.

There are lots of different options out there, so do your research.

As far as internal schemes go, you could have one that is structured with set meetings on a bi-annual basis or you could have something a little more flexible that is guided by when mentor and mentee feel is a good time to meet, depending on the level of commitment they can offer. Similarly you can set-up mentor-mentee relationships or encourage internal networking for them to find each other.

With external schemes, there are many not for profit organisations that can provide guidance and structure to your mentorship scheme. Working with external mentees can give your organisation the opportunity to establish itself as a thought-leader in the profession, whilst also growing the reputation of some of your team members.

As a result, you can get some great PR out of an external mentorship scheme whilst also promoting your organisation as a great employer that cares about the professional community: a great attraction for potential candidates.

Keep your mentoring scheme in line with your organisation

With all of this in mind, it’s equally important that you keep any mentorship scheme in line with your corporate culture. There’s no point introducing a structured scheme into a flexible, relaxed workplace – it will ‘go against the grain’ and it won’t help improve how employees fit into your organisation.

Take the time to look at how a mentorship scheme would align with your corporate objectives.

Have you ever considered introducing a mentorship scheme, and either given it a go or decided against it? I would love to hear your reasons why and any advice you might have. Please do leave a comment below!

About the Author

Anne Corder

Anne Corder

Owner

Whilst still actively handling recruitment assignments, Anne specialises in Human Resources with many years of experience in that sector. She blogs on wider recruitment issues affecting both candidates and clients, commenting and offering tips and advice to help achieve the right outcomes.