Reasons Why Mentorship Programs Fail


Real mentoring is not a one-time program; it should be embedded in your company’s DNA. Many companies use traditional mentorship programs to help develop and guide their new joiners and fresh talent to get better acquainted with their jobs as well as the company culture. There are actually numerous variations and names for such programs: Buddy Program, Career Mentoring, Peer-Based Mentoring, Group Mentoring, you name it. While such programs can add great value to your workplace if executed properly, more often than not, mentorship initiatives seem to fail due to a number of reasons.

Having no solid plan

Certain checkpoints need to be in place for a mentorship program to live up to its purpose. Simply pairing up two employees and calling it a mentorship program can actually be pointless and a waste of time. To make the experience more meaningful for all parties, you need to define specific outcomes and ways to measure progress and track it along the way.

Improper training

Not any senior employee is a good mentor. Mentors need to have certain personality traits that make them willing to invest in others and give time and effort to the program. You can overcome this issue by providing training to the employees who want to take part in the program as mentors.

Lack of time

Time could actually be the number one obstacle that stands in the way of any mentoring activity. An effective mentor needs to be able to manage and free up his/her time to commit to the process. Skipping mentorship appointments to attend to other pressing tasks can negatively impact the mentor/mentee relationship.

Forcing employees to be part of such programs  

Many companies force their people to take part in their mentorship programs. Unfortunately, making such programs mandatory can push employees to feel less enthusiastic about it and they will end up treating it as another business obligation that they don’t have time for. Keep in mind that even in the most ideal pairings, there comes a time where the mentor simply runs out of helpful advice to provide.

Failing to measure outcomes

Simply having a mentoring programs won’t engage or develop your new talent, especially if your culture doesn’t foster mentoring on a regular basis.  You need to have KPIs for any mentoring activity that you come up with. Conduct anonymous surveys with your mentees to find out how they feel about your company culture and who among your leaders is exhibiting the best mentoring behaviors.

Mentee dependency

Unhealthy dependency on the mentor is a common pitfall of such initiates. Mentees may actually become so dependent that they feel stuck and unable to make decisions on their own if they don’t have immediate access to their mentor. An effective mentor carefully prepares his or her mentee to think and act independently and will equip them with the necessary resources on how to deal with problems on their own.

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