Training

Mentoring Women: Part 2

In last Friday’s Advisor, we looked at mentoring programs for women. Today, we’ll get more expert advice on mentoring women.

Thomasina Tafur, a former FedEx senior manager who is now the president of Thomasina Tafur Consulting (www.thomasinatafur.com), which provides HR executives with advice on positioning females for leadership roles, gives us these tips for you to consider when offering a women-mentoring program:

  • Conduct a needs assessment. Determine what upper management expects from the mentoring program, and survey the workforce to assess their needs, she recommends. “People do like to believe they have a voice and that they are going to be heard.”
  • Identify specific goals upfront. “The goals need to be very specific” and will vary by organization, she says. “For some, the goals are to have X amount of female leaders in C-level positions or in middle-level positions … or to promote up or out (laterally) to a department that doesn’t have a lot of females.”

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  • Be flexible with timelines. “Be open-minded,” she says. “Don’t be so adamant about your direction and timelines” that you hire unqualified female applicants just to boost your numbers and meet specified deadlines for your program. “You don’t want to hire women for the sake of developing women.”
  • Put it into place. After you have created a solid plan for implementing your mentoring program and have upper management’s support, it is time to implement the program. Consider creating a task force of employees to help generate ideas and oversee the program.
  • Measure your success. “It’s very important to measure what you didn’t do well as well as what you did correctly,” she says.

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Tafur offers very good advice for setting up a mentoring program.

Why It Matters

  • Mentoring programs focused on specific employee populations can be more effective than generic mentoring efforts.
  • Focusing on youth or women, for example, can demonstrate your thoughtful endeavors to develop a well-trained workforce.
  • By supporting your employees with career-building programs, you can help your organization retain top talent