Today’s work environment demands that managers respond to the needs of their diverse employees. The best way of responding to these needs is launching a mentoring program for diversity and inclusion. It’s pretty much like any mentoring program, be it peer mentoring or reverse mentoring. But the purpose is different. Here, the purpose is to help understand and utilize the unique contributions of all employees by fostering an inclusive environment.
Diversity and inclusion mentoring has obvious benefits for the mentee and the mentors. Women minority is most likely to benefit from such a program. An organization could even be preparing women leaders through such an initiative. Programs like these are also beneficial for attracting and retaining diverse talent.
Steps for Creating a Mentoring Program for Diversity
Ready to implement a diversity mentoring program in your organization? Follow these steps to get started:
Define the Goals
The mentoring program must have goals that align with the business objectives of the organization. It’s pertinent to outline these goals before launching the program. For diversity mentoring that goals are wrapped around promoting diverse company culture.
Other goals include employee retention, or strengthening the candidates of tomorrow.
Make It Inclusive
Diversity mentoring unlike the leadership mentoring programs should be inclusive for all employees. The program must promote knowledge sharing access varying work styles, cultures and backgrounds. In other words, it must not exclude anyone. You may also encourage all employees in your organization to participate in this program.
Train the Mentors
Since employees of different levels and experience are involved, never assume that everyone (including the mentor) would understand their role. Like all participants, the mentor would need some guidance too which is why mentor training must be in place.
This training session must help mentors and mentees to understand their role in the program and what to expect. Training includes racial, cultural, gender awareness, and communication. By understanding these cultural and gender-based assumptions all participants would develop a mentoring partnership based on trust and authenticity.
The training session must be conducted before the launch of the program. Mentor and mentee recruitment can be ongoing.
Involve the Leaders
Executives and leaders play a critical role in the diversity mentoring program. Involving these individuals would give your program higher credibility. Other than approving the program, leadership should also be given a chance to participate. Their experience can help build future leaders by discussing career development options.
Foster a Good Mentor and Mentee Relationship
Mentoring for diversity can only be effective if the mentor and mentee have a good relationship. This is done during the training sessions. If mentors and mentees can get to know each other on a deeper level and develop a personal relationship, this could make the diversity mentorship flourish.
Track the Progress
Just like you would track the mentoring for onboarding new employees program, you must also track the progress of the mentoring program for diversity and inclusion to determine if the goals of the program identified in the first place are being achieved.