Establishing a Peer Mentor Program
On August 13, 2019 by Jenna Kellerman
Mentor programs offer an important opportunity for staff to develop positive relationships, interact with friends at work, receive the peer support needed to succeed in a job, and increase meaning and purpose in their day. Beyond that, mentor programs have been proven to positively impact team member retention and satisfaction in all departments.
Some studies show, one in five new employees are at risk of leaving in the first 90 days. Five Workforce Solutions grantees are using Peer Mentor Programs to make new staff feel more welcome and supported during their first days on the job. The grantees include:
- St. Mark’s Living: Supporting New Employees and Promoting Staff to Mentor Roles
- Grand Village: Improving Retention Through Peer Mentor Program
- Perham Living Home Care: Upgrading Onboarding Process with Mentors
- Oak Hills Living Center: Creating Team Leads and Mentors
- Good Shepherd Community Sauk Rapids: Using Mentors to Improve Onboarding and Staff Retention
Each project is using different training materials for mentors, yet they have common elements:
- Coaching mentors in how to establish a trusting relationship with their mentees.
- Providing structured discussion questions at regular intervals (usually 10, 30, 60, and 90 days) to check-in on how things are going.
- Helping mentors learn to ask open-ended questions.
- Role playing to prepare for difficult conversations or awkward situations. Giving mentors practice and improving their comfort level in their role.
- Consider using non-clinical staff to administer the Mentor Program because it is difficult for nurses to meet mentor needs and to juggle clinical priorities.
- Recruiting mentors has been the biggest challenge across projects. While most mentor programs pay $1.00 per hour more for this role, the increased responsibility is not attractive to some people.
- Personally recruiting likely candidates and encouraging their participation has worked well.
- Look for informal leaders and good trainers.
Interested in starting your own Peer Mentor program? Get started with these tools that our members have used to launch their programs onsite.