Designating a Mentor

The new employees find themselves confused and vacillating as how they will adapt to and acquaint with the people in the new world they have just come into. In the midst of such confusion and vacillation, they frantically look for a reliable ally or mentor who can guide them in an amiable manner through all the apparent odds they are about to face in the new work environment.

Considering the above delicate situation, some corporations have adopted a proactive approach by utilizing formal mentoring programs during new hire onboarding and for good reason. Effective mentoring has been demonstrated to increase employee engagement and help retention.


The Role of a Mentor

Designating a mentor for the new employees is a carefully chosen task of management. The nature of designating a mentor varies depending upon house policy of the organization.

In some organizations, an employee called a buddy, is assigned to a new employee for new employee orientation and onboarding. The buddy performs a role that is like that of a mentor but the buddy is usually a coworker and more experienced peer of the new employee.

The purpose of a mentor is to help the new employee quickly absorb the organization's cultural and social norms and act according to the nature of the job. The mentor can help the continuing employee become more accustomed and effective in their current job.

Mentoring a New Hire during Onboarding

Following are the six useful tips for assigning an employee mentors during new hire onboarding −

  • Goal defining to the Mentoring Program − It’s important to establish and articulate what you hope to accomplish with your mentoring program. Having a clear objective will enable you to secure buy-in from leadership, mentors and new employees.

  • Assigning a Qualified Employee as a Mentor − It takes a special blend of expertise and experience to effectively mentor a coworker. Not only must mentors possess experience with their job functions and extensive knowledge of the company, but they also must have the capability to teach or train the new breed.

  • Make the Mentors Participate in Onboarding − Don’t wait until that everimportant first week of employee onboarding is complete to involve mentors in the process. Even if your collection of mentors has yet to be assigned to individual new hires, these employees can assist HR by leading onboarding presentations or exercises.

  • Practice with Patience while Assigning Mentors − If tasked with the role of playing mentor-mentee matchmaker, don’t necessarily rush to judgment. It is desirable to wait and watch until the new employee’s first week is complete to designate a mentor. By this time, you will have a better perception as to the choice of a befitting person who would be a strong fit from the point of matching the body chemistry of the mentor and the mentee.

  • Assigning both a Buddy and a Mentor to the New Hire − Ideally each new hire will have two helpful advisers. Whereas a “buddy” shows the new hire the ins and outs of the office, assists with introductions and answers general questions not pertaining to job function, a “mentor” should be someone from the same department as the new employee. The mentor helps the new employees in building their career in the organization by guiding them in their actual job performances.

  • Building a Good Mentor-Mentee Relationship − Once each new hire has been assigned a mentor, it’s worthwhile to formally launch your program in a fun manner. Begin with a get-to-know-your icebreaker activity and a group lunch outing. When you start off each fresh generation of your mentoring program on the right foot, you better position mentors to help prep their paired employees for success with their new positions. It proves highly beneficial for the organization as it gets a breed – well-trained, groomed and knowledgeable.

In the best-case scenario, mentor-mentee relationships prove mutually beneficial. The mentee (the new employees) receive guidance towards growing within the company while the mentor has an opportunity to refine his or her leadership skills.

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