When it comes to developing new legal support professionals, few programs work as well as mentoring. Yet many firms overlook structured mentoring programs – to their detriment.
Here, we discuss the benefits of a mentorship program and offer some key tips on building an effective mentoring system.
How Does a Legal Mentoring Program Help?
When run well, mentorship programs are a low-cost way to generate huge benefits, including:
- Individual Growth. Both mentors and mentees experience growth in their individual skills, understanding and approach to their work. Mentored employees learn how to perform more effectively, while mentees gain the deep insight that comes from understanding their work well enough to teach it.
- Team Growth. Mentorship programs also help build team cohesiveness and trust. Both mentors and mentees improve their communication skills and learn how to implement these not only with one another, but also with the entire team.
- Recruiting and Retention. Top candidates actively seek employers who offer them growth and development opportunities, and employees who feel supported by their employers are less likely to seek support elsewhere. A strong mentoring program supports both these goals.
Best Practices for Starting a Mentoring Program
To get the most out of your mentoring program, it’s wise to put thought and care into the planning process. Here are some best practices for building a mentoring program:
- Tailor it to your organization and its goals. What skills do you hope to build in participants? What results do you want your mentorship program to provide? The goals of the program will guide other decisions, like its structure and focus. Your recruiter can help you identify challenges a mentorship program is uniquely suited to fix.
- Talk to your team. Communicate regularly with employees about what they would like (or dislike) in a mentorship program. Many of your top team members have likely had mentors in the past and can provide insight on what does and doesn’t work for them. Input also creates a sense of ownership, increasing engagement in the program.
- Talk to your recruiter. Staffing firms specialize in understanding the culture of their clients’ organizations and providing insight into how to build and develop effective cultural practices, including mentorship programs. Include your recruiter early for additional information and perspectives.
At Kent Legal, our recruiters help connect law firms and legal departments with some of the best legal talent in the greater Toronto area. To learn more, contact us today.