How to Create an Effective Mentoring Program

How to Create an Effective Mentoring Program

Last Updated: Jul 23, 2018
An effective mentoring program will help your best employees grow and become leaders within your company. Here are ten guidelines for creating an effective mentoring program for your business.

How do you retain and prepare your best talent to lead? Mentoring programs are one of the most effective tools in achieving business results. The authors of the book, War on Talent reported, “Of those who have had a highly helpful mentoring experience, 95 percent indicated it motivated them to do their very best, 88 percent said it made them less likely to leave their company, and 97 percent said it contributed to their success at the company.”

Many organizations have discovered providing a mentor for high performing employees not only helps them settle into their job and company environment, but also contributes to a lower employee turnover rate and greater job satisfaction.

A mentor, basically, is someone who serves as a counselor or guide. Being asked to serve as a mentor is an honor. It indicates the company has faith in the person’s abilities and trusts him or her to have a positive impact on the situation. The use of a mentor may be an informal, short-term situation or a more formal, long-term assignment.

RELATED: Fundamentals of Effective Mentoring

In an informal mentoring program, the mentor usually helps the mentee for a limited period of time. Advice from the mentor may include the most basic of information about everyday routines including tips about “do’s and don’ts” not found in the employee manual to helping the employee learn job responsibilities and prepare them for future roles in the organization. A mentor who is available to answer questions and provide leadership development also saves time for the supervisor or manager. In addition, mentees often feel more comfortable asking questions of their mentor than their supervisor.

In a program of this type, mentors often are volunteers. Forcing someone who does not want to serve as a mentor to do so can quickly create problems. Obviously, someone with a negative attitude, who might encourage a new employee to gripe and complain, should not serve as a mentor.

A more formal version of mentoring occurs when an organization appoints a senior manager with extensive knowledge and experience to serve as a mentor to a professional the company feels has excellent potential for growth. The mentor’s role usually lasts for an extended period of time.

RELATED: 7 Inexpensive Ways to Retain Employees in Your Small Business

Effective mentoring programs must have senior level support from the beginning, otherwise it will fail to get the attention and support it needs to become part of the organization’s culture. Experience shows the most effective mentoring programs are run by senior level executives, not just the human resources department.

Whether informal or formal, both parties need to understand the parameters. These may be more important in a long-term, formal mentoring situation, but can also influence the success of short-term, informal mentoring.

Before you look for employees, you should conduct a detailed job analysis. Save time with our free Job Analysis Form. The reusable template lets you type in your requirements and skills needs and save it. You can get the form free when you subscribe to the free Business Know-How Newsletter

Request your free Job Analysis Template

Greg new photoGreg Smith’s cutting-edge keynotes, consulting and training programs have helped businesses accelerate organizational performance, reduce turnover, increase sales, hire better people and deliver better customer service.  As President and Lead Navigator of Chart Your Course International he has implemented professional development programs for thousands of organizations globally. He has authored nine informative books including his latest book Fired Up! Leading Your Organization to Achieve Exceptional Results.  He lives in Conyers, Georgia.  Sign up for his free Navigator Newsletter by visiting or call (770) 860-9464.



8 Ideas for the Perfect Facebook Cover Photo

8 Ideas for the Perfect Facebook Cover Photo

Last Updated: Mar 27, 2017
Wondering what kind of picture should you use for your Facebook cover photo? Here are eight ideas that will help your business stand out on Facebook.

At this point, you probably understand the value of Facebook for your business. Its merits have been touted everywhere, and it is undeniably popular universally. But the success truly is in the details when it comes to effectively marketing on Facebook, and one of those often overlooked details is the Facebook cover photo.  As a busy small business owner, there are probably a hundred things on your mind other than uploading a cover photo to your Facebook Page—it seems a bit inconsequential. But, an appealing cover photo can attract new customers and keep current fans engaged and coming back to your page.

However, finding the right image can be a challenge. Here are some great ideas to inspire you:

1. Create a collage

Collages are a simple yet fun way to display your business in a non-salesy way. The mixture of photos is eye catching, appealing, and very inviting. There are free online tools that can be used for creating collages and other types of Facebook Cover Photos.

2. Highlight your members or customers

Featuring your members or customers is another great use of the cover photo. Having an event? Capture a great shot during it. By highlighting a successful event, your loyal customers act as an endorsement for your outstanding business.

3. Feature your stunning location

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a picturesque business location—be sure to take advantage if you do. Photos of your storefront or business sign can make a wonderful cover photo.


4. Introduce your employees

Showing your employees in your cover photo is a great way to humanize your brand. It is good for your fans to recognize your business by the people that work there. It inspires trust and at the very least, a friendly face to relate to. Your customers don’t want to see models that are unknown to them, but rather the actual employees that are behind the brand and make it what it is.

5. Show off your products or services

Use your cover photo showcase what your business has to offer. By showing off your product services, your fans can better understand your business and its value.  The prominence of the cover photo provides a great space to display your products in a professional and eye-catching way.

6. Take an action shot!

This one might seem a bit more applicable for certain businesses—the ski resort can have a great action shot of people on the slopes, the bike shop can feature cyclists in action—but it can apply to a bunch of other business types as well. Get creative. Own a coffee shop? Take a cool action shot of the beverages making process. Run an inn? Feature action shots of guests visiting local attractions. The possibilities are endless when you put some thought into it.

7. Give a behind the scenes look

A panoramic photograph of your store is an excellent way to invite your fans in. This photo gives fans a glimpse inside the store that may trigger them to stop by sooner than they would have. Another great idea is to take your fans behind the scenes and showcase what they may not get to see — the ingredients of your product or the inner workings of your B2B.

8. Show your impact in the community

Use the cover photo to show the great community involvement of your business. Look at your cover photo as an opportunity to visually show fans what your business is, who you are and why you do it.

Keep things interesting…

It is important to keep things fresh and update your cover photo every once in a while. Take advantage of new seasons, special events, offers, and holidays to change your cover photo and customize it around the topic. (Don’t forget about Facebook’s cover photo rules & regulations!)

An impactful Facebook cover photo is an easy way to stand out on social media without spending tons of money on advertising.  Facebook is all about individual people connecting, so when you’re choosing the right cover photo for your page, think about what they’ll like as people, not just as potential customers.

Editor’s note: Not using email marketing yet? Or not happy with your provider? uses and recommends Constant Contact. Try it free today.

Business Know-How may receive a commission if you make a purchase.

Ellen Williams, Constant Contact Regional Development Director, New York and Southern Connecticut

Ellen has over 20 years of technology and marketing experience and has presented to over 4,000 small businesses, nonprofits, and associations. Her advice on best practices help organizations understand how to build great customer relationships that inevitable grow their businesses.