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Mentor or Protégé Programs During COVID

Developing or maintaining mentor programs during the current crisis presents many challenges. The following represents things to consider:

Development

  • Identify and justify the need and business case – making sure that the mentor program is something that will work in your organization today.  Remember to confirm that there are clear goals and metrics for the program.
  • Spend time planning the program’s process and components, especially as it relates to this crisis and the possibility of limited or no face-to-face interaction between mentor and mentee.
  • Select the mentors very carefully – mentors that might be reasonably successful mentors during normal business conditions might not have the flexibility, drive, and compassion to handle the mentor role during the COVID.
  • Selected mentors must be “no brainers” and considered stellar examples of your culture and core values. Co-workers must view mentors as subject matter experts, and even though they may not have a leader title, they must be considered a leader, especially during a crisis.

Maintenance

  • Ensure regular communication and evaluation – make sure that mentors are making proper contact with mentees. During these times, it may need to be regular Zoom meetings and phone calls. It is easy for a new hire to get lost in the shuffle, especially during these emotionally charged times. Ask a member of the leadership team to check in on the mentees periodically, to see how they are feeling and confirm that they are getting what they need from the mentor.
  • Confirm productivity, performance, and ongoing continuity as the mentees function in this COVID environment. Well-developed metrics should answer these questions whether working from home or in the office
  • Ensure the mentors confirm that the mentees have what resources they need, whether they are in the office or working from home. Items such as:
    • Technology
    • Adequate phone capability
    • Working conditions, especially at home
    • Childcare, if needed
  • Emphasize culture, to include mission and core values – Even during this COVID period, an organization’s mission and core values should not change. Those items represent the foundation for most organizations that help employees connect and stay focused on the mission.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate
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