Workforce Development Coalition

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Creating a Culture of Learning


“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” -Anonymous Greek Proverb

Mentoring the next generation is essential in perpetuating an efficient workforce. Passing down the workplace wisdom can save countless hours of trial and error and is an effective way to train the next group of leaders.

So What?

Before you dive into creating a mentorship program you need to stop and have a preparation phase. First, gain the support of all stakeholders that will be involved in the program. Second, have a clear purpose for the mentoring program and ask yourself, “Why are you starting this program?” Third, make the goals and objectives clear from the beginning and ask the question, “What does success look like?” Last, make sure that there are funds secured for the program and that your particular mentoring program won’t create a financial burden.


Create a vision for your program that is SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). Once you have your vision create a document that breaks apart the program into meaningful pieces and can be referenced later to show decision makers the process of your program. An example of this type of document is on page 4.


Building up your mentor roster will be difficult in the beginning. Start by listing out possible mentors for the topics outlined in your mentorship program. Next, think creatively on how you will be able to entice them and retain their expertise. It is up to you to decide the type of rewards and recognition you are willing to allocate to the program. Last, take the time to train both mentors and mentees on the roles and goals of the program. Try to set times to check in on the 1st month, 3rd month, and 6th month to make sure the mentorship team is reaching its goals.


Take time to consider who would be a good match. This can be broken down into 3 easy steps. First, have applicants fill out a profile sheet that will include information on their interests, gender, goals, fun facts, and the type of mentorship they would prefer (formal or informal). Second, decide whether or not you want the mentors and mentees to choose who to pair up with, or if it should be done by management. Last, monitor the interactions between the pair to see how well they work and learn together. This will be valuable information to present in the 1,3- and 6-month meetings.


The best mentorship programs have a good mix of structure and freedom. Providing resources to the mentoring pair in small, digestible sizes will help them retain and utilize the information to its full extent. Also, make sure that every pair has goals and a plan to achieve these goals. If there is no target for the pair to aim at then it will be difficult to mark the mentorship as a success or failure. Setting a final goal will also be the perfect stopping point for the mentoring program. Here the pair can reflect and review the program and provide their feedback on the program’s effectiveness.

Now What?

There are 3 critical areas that should be evaluated in order to determine a successful mentorship program, the program, connections, and participation.

The program area should be evaluated based on what the goals and objectives you came up with in the preparation phase. To show decision makers that your program was successful you can use a comparison of participants versus non-participants based on the overall goal of the program.

The mentorship connections can be evaluated on a number of potential barriers. When observing the program look for parts of the mentorship that might have been chokepoints. This could be the timeframe of the mentorship, the beginning relationships, or using time and resources correctly.

The participation measures the value of the program and the impact it had on the participant. A survey that captures the participants feedback will show the effectiveness of the program. Questions could ask if they met their goals, did they have any barriers, or if they have any improvement advice for the next round.