A Model for Effective Mentoring and Induction Programs

This document was developed at a meeting of the Illinois Staff development Council, many of whom coordinated mentoring and induction programs for new employees. The program for the meeting was “Characteristics of Successful Mentoring and induction Programs”

The meeting began with a brief presentation by Barry Sweeny on  developing a “Mentoring Culture”.  After that, the whole group discussed mentoring versus mentoring and induction. They reached a consensus on two important agreements:

  • That a staff development program focused on new employees should have three levels of program goals:
    • 1. Orientation
    • 2. Improvement of performance
    • 3. Improving the norms of the culture of the organization to that of a learning community / mentoring culture.
  • That to attain all three goals, mentoring should be one strategy within a larger induction program.

Then, table groups worked to define the difference approaches needed to capture the full potential of mentoring and induction to attain all three goals. The following information was developed from that activity. We encourage you to use this collected “wisdom” to guide your work in supporting new employees and their work.


CONCLUSION – Effective mentoring and induction programs should try to address all three goals: orientation, improvement of performance, and changing the norms to improve the culture to that of a learning community.

PROGRAM COMPONENTS / MENTORING   AND  INDUCTION  PROGRAM  GOALS
A. INDUCTION
PROGRAM
TO ORIENT
to setting, expectations and the job
To
IMPROVE PERFORMANCE
To
CHANGE THE NORMS of the Organization’s CULTURE
1. Protege training focus
Orientation to company, site, expectations, the need to initially defer
to the wisdom of the mentor.
The effective employee model, its strategies and research base, the coaching
model, and expectations.
The continual learner skills, the company intent to restructure roles and relationships
and to professionalize employees.
2. Protege’s Observation focus (none done for this goal) Viewing with the mentor of expert peers at work, debriefing and planning application after that. Visits to exemplary sites elsewhere with mentor, debriefing after that.
3. Protege Peer Support Group Activities are focused on… (none for this goal) Questions which prompt peer table discussions on:a. what they are learning about being an excellent employee,

b. followed up by whole group sharing and individual goal setting.

c. followed up by mentor support for the protege plans

Questions which prompt peer table discussions on:a. how the mentoring relationship is defferent from other collegial relationships,

b. what they can each do to model learning community / mentor culturee
behaviors for others,

c. followed up by whole group sharing and individual goal setting.

d. followed up by mentor support for the protege plans

4. Protege Goals and Action Plans focus on… (none for this goal) a. Protege self- assessment on own skill level versus expert employee standards / competencies.b. Mentor – protege discussions on protege’s self-assessment results

c. Mentor presents data from observation of protege at work & prompts
P. comparison of data versus own assessment, and reaching conclusions.

d. Mentor supports P. goal setting and action planning.

e. Periodically, mentor prompts P. review of goals & plan, progress,
and need for plan adjustment

a. Protege self- assessment on own learning community behaviorsversus list of desired behaviors.

b. Mentor – protege discussions on
protege’s self-assessment results

c. Mentor presents data from obervation of protege’s learning community
behaviors and prompts P. comparison of data versus own assessment, and reaching conclusions.

d. Mentor supports P. goal setting and action planning.

e. Periodically, mentor prompts P’s review of goals & plan, progress,
and need to adjust plan

B. MENTORING PROGRAM
1. The mentor is a model of… Knowledge
of organization, people, community, traditions, expectations, resources
& work flow / structures / teams.
BEST
PRACTICE: An outstanding employee whose work is successful every day
CONTINUAL LEARNER: open to feed back, is collaborative, collegial, and wants to improve.
2. The mentor’s roles and tasks are… Activity-based,
to guide and direct the P. through each responsibility so it’s well done.
Observing
& coaching the protege to reflect on & modify practices to improve
skills and results.
Explicitly
demonstrate and discuss the journey we undertake together to be the best we can be.
3. Mentor selection is based on… People
qualities – Has a few years of experience, has “people” skills, is willing to help, and is practical.
Demonstration
of the company model of effective employees and can communicate clearly.
Willingness
to learn in front of others, think out loud, be vulnerable and openly idealistic.
4. Mentor training is focused on… Defining
info that new employees need to learn and planning who will do each of the tasks.
Skills
of conferencing, design of data collection tools, observation and data collection,
and asking questions that prompt reflection & analysis.
Strategies
for surviving as a part of a “counter culture” program, for turning
negatives into positives, for facilitating growth in and learning from others.
5. Mentor & protege matching is based on… Working
conditions for success – Proximity to each other, similar job assignment
and responsibilities.
Common
planning / lunch time, mentor strengths in areas the protege needs help,
mentor open to learn from P.
An
expectation that different view points will accelerate the M/P pair’s learning
& growth.
6. The mentoring process is…
A series of checklists to go through, activities to finish, and knowledge to learn and use. Plan first week of work. A recurring cycle of planning, observation, data collection, analysis, reflection, and revisions to improve. A developmental model for our professional relationships, including collaboration
and learning community behavior.
7. On-going mentor support is needed for… Reminders
of tasks to do and deadlines to meet throughout the year.
a. Practice and refinement of working and coaching skills effective work
strategies, and communication skills.
b. Work within mentor peer
support group to learn from and share with peers what is being learned about effective mentoring.
Problem
solving, skills for survival in a counter culture initiative, and peer support
to reduce isolation & retain the vision. Mentor support requires living
out / modeling a learning community so that mentors experience it and then can share it with their proteges.
9. The mentor program coordinator role is… An initial trainer, monitor that mentoring tasks are completed. As coach to the coaches, a coordinator of the logistics for coaching, a model of reflection and self-analysis,. As mentor of mentors, encouraging, supporting mentors, “keeper” of the vision, a problem solver, a model of a continual learner & openness to feed back.