An inclusive workplace cannot exist without equity, which means that all individuals have equal access to opportunities. When done right, mentoring is an invaluable tool for creating more inclusive, equitable and culturally competent workplaces.
L. Z. Fain
The Resources page of this site is rich in different kinds of tools and articles but here are the essential points for leaders who want to set up or strengthen a mentoring programme in their organisation:
How can I initiate a mentoring programme?
- “Dream big, start small. But most of all, start!” S. Sinek
- Inform and advocate about the importance of mentoring and set a good example.
- Ensure that mentoring is included in your staff’s job descriptions and work time.
- Provide ongoing support, including initial training.
- Monitor and evaluate your programme regularly. Make reports available to all staff.
What are the benefits and the costs?
- Benefits: competent staff, motivated workforce, effective talent development, strategic investment in future leaders, sustainability, localisation
- Costs: time and intentional effort
- You need to be realistic about the time it takes to mentor someone.
- Without intentionality, mentoring will not happen automatically.
How do I run a robust mentoring programme?
- Communicate clearly and regularly about your vision.
- Designate a mentoring coordinator who can help with mentor-mentee matching and intententional organisational support.
- Make sure that training about mentoring is provided for everyone (mentors, mentees, managers).
- Ensure that the programme is flexible and takes into account intercultural realities.
“Mentoring does not happen by accident, nor do its benefits come quickly.”
— T. Addington & S. Graves
Resources for leaders:
- Robust Mentoring: Strengthening mentoring in SIL – The chapter on Advocacy and alignment (pp.24-33) are particularly relevant for leaders
- SIL Africa Robust Mentoring Initiative – a short advocacy video about the organisational value of mentoring
- Mentoring Programs That Work – a practical book by J. Labin that gives useful step-by-step advice on how to set up a robust mentoring programme
- Mentoring Programme Evaluation Questionnaire
- Get mentoring off the ground – a blogpost by M. Jemphrey
- Matching mentors and mentees – a blogpost by D. Carlos
- 5 Ways to Use Mentoring To Create an Inclusive Workplace – by L. Z. Fain