If you already have a formal mentoring program in place, then you’re probably familiar with the benefits that come from pairing inexperienced employees with more-seasoned counterparts. These partnerships can help both parties thrive, and too often, pairings of this kind just don’t happen on their own. Employees tend to gravitate toward their peer groups, and age can be strong social divider in the workplace, so if mentor pairings don’t seem to spring up naturally in your workplace culture, consider providing a little institutional support. Keep these tips in mind.

Mentoring can happen in either of two ways.

You can either assign mentor-mentee pairings in a formal way with input from managers, HR pros and company directors. Or you can allow your pairs to find each other on their own. Encourage younger workers to seek out mentors and approach them independently, or feel free to provide a push by requiring them to do so. The same principle works in the other direction: You can gently encourage senior workers to make themselves available, or you can place their names on a list and make the process mandatory. The path you choose should be determined by your existing culture and workplace relationships.

Impose structure or let things happen naturally.

Once pairs are established, you’ll face a similar decision: You can set clear standards and goals for each partnership, with measurable outcomes and documented activities. Or you can let each pair forge a path according to their own schedules and preferences. Some pairs may want to meet weekly and some be happy to meet once a month. Some may keep their interactions within the workplace, and some may get together for coffee elsewhere.

Provide answers and resources.

No matter how much leeway you decide to grant to your individual partner pairs, keep the lines of communication open and make sure they can come to you for guidance if they have questions about the process. Mentors in particular may need some direction and hints on how to coach their partners toward success.

Monitor progress.

To track the success of your program, distribute surveys or meet with each partner pair at least a few times a year. If something about the program isn’t working, tackle the problem at the source and make changes as needed.

For help and guidance as you launch your mentoring program, contact the staffing and management professionals at Expert.

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