There are few who would dispute the value of a mentoring program—for the mentees
and for the organization they work for. The problem that we see so often, however, is
that once the program is established, management tends not to keep up with it.
Mentees who slough off their mentoring sessions aren’t redirected, and new hires may
not even be put into a mentoring program. And that’s a dirty shame.
Mentoring offers so much for your employees and, thus, for your organization. From
enhanced skills to improved attitudes to greater desire for upward mobility, mentees
derive great benefits from mentoring, benefits that in turn are of tremendous value to the
company. But too often, management sets up a mentoring program and then leaves it to run itself.
If the company isn’t covering the cost of mentoring, or at least offsetting a part of it, the
employee may drop out of the program for budgetary reasons.
If the employee’s time outside work hours is pressured with family or other
responsibilities, he/she may drop out of the program due to time constraints.
If the employee has been paired with a less than optimal mentor to complement his
personality, he may take the easy route and drop out rather than seeking out a more
Laziness or inertia, or a mistaken belief that she has learned all that is necessary may
prompt her to give up her mentoring sessions.
It is up to you, the manager or head of HR or company owner (depending on the size
and hierarchy of your organization), to see to it that your people keep up with their
One means to this end is through active engagement with your people. This can take
the form of one-on-one conversations about their mentoring experience, or surveys you
ask them to fill out, or emails to each of your employees stressing the benefits of
mentoring, or open-ended requests for feedback on how mentoring is helping them.
Key to keeping a mentoring program vibrant is keeping it relevant. Are your needs in a
mentoring program now the same as they were when the program started? Or do you,
just to cite one example, need now to shift focus and see to it that certain mentees are
being groomed for leadership positions? Or even simply for lateral moves?
Don’t drop the ball. Don’t drop the program. Keep your mentoring