This seems like an easy question, right? Wrong! Many young professionals feel entitled to mentoring and just as many seasoned professionals are confused by this entitlement – after all, they never got mentored! Why should they mentor? And, better yet, how do they mentor and what is mentorship?

Many organizations are jumping on the “mentoring program” bandwagon simply because they hear it’s the way to “deal” with their turnover rate, increase productivity and create a succession plan. It amazes me – in no time (maybe a few weeks), they have a mentoring program up and, if they are lucky, people signing up.

When I ask them if their program is successful, they say “absolutely!” The answer to the next question always interests me – that is, “how do you determine success?” 99 percent of the time, they answer with, “well, more and more people are signing up!” When I ask if they have any other metrics in place to measure the success of their mentoring program, they look at me like I’m crazy – some even say, “what other metrics could there be?”

The following are the three most important metrics for truly successful mentoring programs:
1. Bottom line. When organizations introduce programs one at a time and measure their bottom line results over time, they ultimately know whether their programs are working.
2. Retention. Clearly this cannot be measured immediately. Instead, it should be measured consistently over time. Specifically, it should be measured with the individuals who are participating in the mentoring program.
3. Productivity. First, determine how you are going to measure productivity (e.g. sells, taking personal responsibility over projects, showing up on time, completing work early, etc). There are many ways to determine productivity increase. In my experience, people want to do a great job – many simply don’t understand how or, better yet, why.
4. Bonus: Happy Employees! Surveys before and throughout the program will tell you whether the mentoring program is contributing to their overall experience of the mentoring program. These survey’s can also be used to make adjustments along the way.

Mentoring programs can be a huge asset to any organization. When organizations take the time to create programs with a solid foundation, the results are astounding!
I’m eager to hear your comments!

Rock on!

Misti Burmeister