Ellen Ensher discusses best practices for recruiting mentors and protégés.She will also review the importance of voluntary participation and choice, and discuss the WIFM (what’s in it for me) for program participants.
- Think about everything you already know about recruiting employees. You probably know a lot and here's the good news. Everything you already know about recruiting employees also applies to recruiting folks for your mentoring program. To build on your knowledge, I'm going to share three suggestions for recruiting mentors and proteges. First, to quote Stephen Covey, "Begin with the end in mind." In other words, your recruitment of your mentors and proteges needs to start with the goals for your program.
If you know what you want to accomplish, then figuring out who the best participants are to make this happen will flow naturally. For example, I'm working with a colleague who created a mentoring program for women in STEM disciplines, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The goal of this program was to get women in STEM in academia to stay in academia. So, each of the principal investigators figured out who the go-to people were in the various disciplines, like physics, chemistry, and math, and then did some personal outreach.
Second, communicate and give a realistic preview to would-be proteges and mentors. Just like when you're recruiting employees, you need to sell candidates on all of the great aspects of your company. However, you also need to tell them what is challenging about your company. So for your mentoring program, be forthcoming about the who, what, why, and especially the expected time commitment. Some clients have even developed short surveys that might include self-assessment questions like this for would-be proteges.
Do you feel like you are stuck in your career and not sure of your next steps? Do you have 30 minutes a week to devote to meeting with someone that will help you develop? Can you commit to a three-hour training session in January and being part of a mentoring community for a year? For would-be mentors, self-assessment questions might include: do you want to make a difference in developing the next generation of employees? Do you have a massive to-do list with some projects that a protege could help you accomplish and learn from? Do you have 30 minutes a week to regularly connect with a protege? Third, use the snowball technique to recruit participants.
The snowball technique might sound kind of funny, but it's a real idea that works. The snowball technique is where you get one participant to commit to your program, and then ask him or her for recommendations. Once your mentoring program gets rolling, then your current participants become your best recruiters. Capture their stories and experiences so that you can use these for recruiting in the future. Eventually, today's proteges will become tomorrow's mentors, and recruiting will get easier and easier.
- The benefits of formal mentoring programs
- The types and purpose of mentoring programs
- Designing a framework and a needs assessment
- Creating a mentoring culture
- Ensuring organizational support
- Choosing participants
- Training essentials for mentors
- Concluding and celebrating your program
- Evaluating your program
- Making your mentoring program last