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Employee Mentoring

9 Step Checklist On How To Start A Mentoring Program

  • Omer Usanmaz
  • June 15 2021

Mentorship programs are essential to for career progress, skills development and promotion of inclusion in organizations of all types.

When we talk about people as an asset, mentorship is one of the oldest and most effective ways to enable knowledge transfer, building community and grow. Workplace mentoring is growing in popularity and right now 70% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs.

But, what are the steps needed to launch them.

We hope you'll find the below summary helpful to build a mentoring program. If you go through the list, you'll find yourself running a professionally designed mentorship program that's set up for success!


1. Program Design
  1. Who is joining the program: In a corporate environment, this could be high potentials, new hires, company-wide guidance program, ERGs, remote or front-line workers. Universities can similarly target staff, incoming students and outgoing students. Associations can consider their VIP members or entire membership base. Companies have the option to launch the program invite based or open enrollment.
  2. Goal of the program: Why are we launching this program? What is the ROI that we'd like to see? Why does leadership support this initiative? These are some questions needed to be answered and the response usually boils down to onboarding, performance and retention through factors such as career guidance, engagement, development etc.
  3. Program duration and expected commitment: How long will the mentorship program be and how often are participants expected to have a mentorship meeting session? Usually the recommendation is a 12 month program with  1 meeting per month required, 2 meetings per month encouraged.
  4. Acceptance criteria: Committed individuals who have good track record and with experience are expected to be mentors. A letter of recommendation from HR or manager or a senior leader is one option. Another one being good performance review and willingness to develop oneself through the program with clearly set goals.


Note: Don't move forward without finalizing Program Design as it will affect every next step in the program!


2. Promotion

  • Using the information put together in the Program Design (who the program is for, goal of the program, duration, expected commitment, acceptance criteria if applicable), posting to promote the mentoring program on internal or external web sites
  • Using the information put together in the Program Design, email blast participants to notify of the upcoming program
  • Mention sponsors of the program
  • If you're using Qooper, we also provide a mini demo recording so you can show how easy it will be for mentors and mentees to participate (matching, training, meeting agendas, structure and more are ready, we just need them to show up)


3. Collect Profiles
  • A survey questionnaire to collect participant data is needed for the matching process and to provide context to the relationships. The surveys usually cover career aspirations, skills of interest, goals, demographics, department, location (in a global program)
  • Google Forms, Microsoft Forms, SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, TypeForm and Jotform Survey Maker are some of the popular survey tools that'll help collect information.
  • You can request basic information, personality related questions, demographics, goals, skills to improve. You can learn more about profiles and matching criteria here.


4. Match

Choose your matching method based on the mentoring program you're running (1:1 matching is the most common method to start with and mentors are usually assigned instead of a mentee choosing when the program is being ran for the first time).

  • 1:1 matching
  • Peer matching
  • Group matching
  • Self matching
  • Flash

(Don't doubt your work if it gets cumbersome on spreadsheets - it's never easy, but this software can help)

5. Introduce

  • The introduction email should greet, congratulate and share profile information of the matched person to provide data on why they were recommended and to provide context for the connection.


6. Train
  • Mentoring relationships benefit from training, especially the mentors. The mentors are the ones that create the learning experience here. Educating on effective meeting, goals, feedbacks, diversity, expectations and other areas are helpful for the relation
  • Mentees should also understand the training provided to mentors to have a degree of expectation, when the break up the relationship and how do ask for guidance.
  • General relationship development guidelines and development on soft skills is always complimentary in mentorship programs.


7. Facilitate
  • Not always necessary but recommended 90% of the time. Facilitation could be as simple as a reminder to check to a purposefully built out curriculum to tell next steps in the mentorship program to guide relationships toward the program goal identified in the Program Design phase.
  • Facilitations are recommended to be sent as frequent as the expected number of meetings in Program Design phase and trainings can be plugged in in between to help encourage 2 meetings per month.

8. Track

  • How are the relationships moving forward? Are they happy and more importantly, are they making progress with goals, meetings, feedback and learning? This information can be collected through mid program surveys at the end of month 1, 3 and 6. 
  • Again, your standard survey tools can be used to send this out



Note: If you want to send next steps, trainings, surveys in order, make sure to have a start time on your program so participants can be on the same page and you can keep track of what you should send out next.


9. Report

  • Circling back to the Program Design, we'll look to measure the impact on careers, skills and inclusion to improve employee onboarding, performance and retention.
  • Again, your standard survey tools can be used to send this out
  • If you marked the employees that joined the mentorship program on your HRIS, you can actually run reports against those that took part to measure impact on careers and performance.

Starting a mentorship program... Please look at Qooper!

"Out of the box, it has everything you need to get a mentorship program off the ground. It is easy to implement, easy to use, has an intuitive user interface and great customer service."

Lea B.
Tommy Bahama

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