The healthcare worker shortage is at the forefront of the issues plaguing the healthcare industry, so it’s no surprise that many physicians, nurses and other health professionals are looking for ways to recruit, retain, and educate the new generation of healthcare workers. While it’s important to focus on your hiring process, job advertising, and company culture, there’s another often forgot about way to promote an environment that will create a close bond between your staff. Starting a mentorship program within your facility will give you the opportunity to create a better company culture by giving new staff members an experienced member of your team to guide them through adjustment stage. It just might be the closest you’ll ever get to making a business decision that has an exclusively positive impact. Mentoring can improve employee satisfaction and retention, enrich new-employee initiation, make your company more appealing to recruiters, and train your leaders. Below are some tips and tricks for starting a successful mentorship program within your facility!
Three Steps to Starting a Mentorship Program Within Your Facility
Create a Structure and Set Goals
The most important thing to do when starting a mentorship program within your facility is to create a structure for your mentoring program. Some companies find that group mentoring is the most useful. This can include weekly or monthly meetings that will cover various topics and issues that new healthcare workers might come across. Others will opt to pair a veteran up with a new employee. This way, the mentor can pass on knowledge while on the job, and the new employee has someone that they can turn to with any questions he or she may have.
As far as goals, it’s important to define what you and your employees hope to get out of the program. One way of allowing input might be to have mentors and mentees fill out an information sheet about what they hope to offer or obtain from a mentoring relationship. You might want the goal of the program to be to pass down the best practices and to easily teach new staff the usual procedures. Or, others simply want to promote a better company culture and bring together different generations of healthcare workers. Don’t forget that the millennial generation of healthcare workers is much different than any other generation.
Find a Mentorship Program Manager Who is Flexible
After you figure out the structure of your new mentorship program, you then need to find a manager of the program to oversee the process. Whether it’s yourself or a trusted staff member, it’s important that you have someone to ensure that the process is running smoothly. Program managers provide essential ongoing support, training, and coaching to participants. They identify opportunities and troubleshoot issues, working with stakeholders to make ongoing adjustments to keep the program thriving.
It’s also important that the manager of your mentorship program is flexible as well. Mentoring is about individual learning and growth, which means participant needs will vary in outcomes, sought and preferred methods of learning. When planning a mentoring program, identify areas that require flexibility and build them into the program. Your manager should be willing to adapt and modify the program based on the strengths and desires of the staff.
Figure out What Worked and What Didn’t
Establish a formal process that brings closure to the mentoring experience. Within this process, provide an opportunity for both the mentor and mentee to reflect upon what was learned, discuss next steps for the mentee, and provide feedback. It might be worthwhile to conduct an exit survey for both the mentor and mentee so you can decide what aspects of the program are worth keeping and what aspects need altered. Close out the program by praising those involved and showcasing all the good that has come from the experience. At the end of the program you will hopefully be left with a better culture, closer staff, and a brand new batch of dedicated staff members.
When it comes down to starting a mentorship program, the best thing to do is to define what you want to get out of the program, and communicate to your entire staff what you hope to get out of it. This program should bring together new and old staff as well as reiterate company policies and procedures. Your staff quickly will become a family, so give them the tools they need to strengthen that bond.