Ellen Ensher offers best practice organizational examples of how to provide rewards for mentoring program participation and review research about the key to rewards leverage for mentors and protégés.
- According to management icon Lee Iacocca the secret to great management is start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all these things effectively you can't miss. I think this simple yet powerful advice really sums up what you need to know about rewarding participants in formal mentoring programs as well. Let's cover ideas to help you develop your own rewards program.
First, begin by asking yourself what does success mean to you, in terms of your mentoring program? Specifically, what are you trying to accomplish for mentors, proteges, and your organization? Determine what you want to reward participants for in your mentoring program. And then create a system and set of rewards that does that. Second, consider leveraging both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. Here's a classic example of an extrinsic reward.
Many of the top companies that provide formal mentoring programs make mentoring participation part of the formal performance appraisal system. In other words, if you develop others then you get pay increases and promotions as a reward. In contrast, intrinsic rewards are more internally focused. I would like to ask you a question. Will you raise your hand or maybe just a finger if you feel like you could use more appreciation for all that you do at work.
When I ask this question of executives regardless of the industry usually every hand is raised. Third, ask yourself: Do you want to reward outcomes or behavior or both? For example, do you want to reward people for participating in your mentoring program? Showing up for mentoring training? Or simply meeting with one another a prescribed number of times? These are all valid behaviors to reward. Another way to go about this is to reward goals.
Decide what goals you want to accomplish first at the organizational level. So a common goal that many organizations have for their formal mentoring programs is to increase retention. The reward for participating in your mentoring program and helping to increase retention might include: formal recognition, a celebration, compensatory time, or even a quirky benefit like bringing your dog to work. Fourth, help your mentors and proteges figure out what they want to accomplish for themselves on a more individual level.
Try this exercise. Ask both your mentors and proteges to look at the list. Then circle three things they hope to gain from their relationship. So, a protege might want new insight about how to move forward in their career. And a mentor might want help with a project. Then ask your mentors and proteges to create a system of rewards that are meaningful to them. Right now, I have a protege who left college with one class left to finish.
My promise reward to her when she finishes is a bottle of champagne and the best letter of recommendation in the whole world to help her get into graduate school. Remember, people do what they are rewarded for. So if you just keep this one idea in mind as you structure your rewards program then you are on the right path.
- 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