In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the merchandising, product development, inventory management, creative services, visual merchandising, brand finance and operations of the Williams Sonoma brand.
Mentoring can improve employee satisfaction and retention, enrich new-employee initiation, make your company more appealing to recruits, and train your leaders. Unlike similar learning incentives like training programs or offering to pay for courses, mentoring utilizes the resources that your company already has.
How to Start a Mentoring Program: Creating a Structure The first step anyone thinking about starting a mentoring program should take is to define what the objective of the program will be.
If you are aiming for higher minority retention rates, your program will be structured differently than if you were trying to develop leaders, teach a specific skill, or welcome newcomers to your organization.
Since there were more women who wanted to be mentored than available mentors, the mentees were put into groups with two mentors as facilitators.
But when Michelle Ferguson, the senior vice president of international operations of McGraw-Hill Education, developed a program that originally had a similar goal for its mentoring program, she ended up with a completely different format.
The mentors and mentees met individually for between one and three hours every month for a year. Lois Zachary, the president of a leadership development and mentoring consultancy called Leadership Development Services in Phoenix. If your company is extremely formal, it might be best to have a formal application process, minimum time requirements, and set durations for the mentoring relationship typically mentoring relationships last between six months and two years, depending on the goal of the mentee.
If your company is informal, it might be okay to match people up and then let them figure out the logistics. No matter what degree of formality your program takes on, you need someone to champion the project and check-up on how well its guidelines are being followed.
Pairing Some companies, like Morgan Stanley, use group mentoring. Others use peer mentoring, bring in an expert for facilitated mentoring, have lower-level employees teach higher-level employees in reverse mentoring, or even use a speed-dating format for "flash mentoring.
But she says the programs in which the participants have some input are usually the most successful. One way of allowing input might be to have mentors and mentees fill out an information sheet about what they hope to offer or obtain from a mentoring relationship.
McGraw-Hill has a system for making mentoring matches that includes a questionnaire, phone interview, and committee recommendation for each mentor and mentee. Another way may be to offer the mentor or mentee several options for a partner and allow them to choose one. Liz Selzer, a consultant with a California-based consultancy called The Mentoring Group, oversees leadership development for more than 30, leaders in the non-profit sector.
One way to do this might be to set up a "check-up" or evaluation soon after the relationship begins. If there is a serious problem, find the mentee a new mentor. There are a lot of formats you can use to do this. You can have a classroom-style discussion, you can hire someone like Zachary to host a "mentoring bootcamp," you can speak to mentors and mentees separately and then bring them together to discuss, or you can go to lunch.
But no matter how you do it, here are the points you want to hit during your training time: When Selzer was assigned her first mentor, she thought it would be a waste of time.
Fortunately, she needed to participate in order to obtain her graduate degree, and she soon learned to see the relationship as invaluable.
Instead, explain to people why they should choose to participate. Find people in your company who are willing to share the mentoring experiences that have made a positive impact on their careers.Editorial Disclosure: Inc.
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