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Mentoring – Investing in Human Capital

One intervention in the road to succession planning is mentoring. This paper provides an understanding of the design, implementation, and evaluation of a resource-lean, internally developed and maintained, protégé driven mentoring program. Additionally, copies of The Mentoring Startup Kit are available to interested parties. The kit easily allows any organization to transfer and customize this program to meet its specific needs.

DSRSD's Mentoring Program

The Mentoring Program was designed as an employee development initiative and in support of future Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) succession planning. DSRSD strongly believes in the development of its employees. The Strategic Plan's Organizational Culture component clearly outlines the responsibility of each manager/supervisor to ‘coach/mentor’ employees.

The Mentoring Program, implemented in June of 2002, fosters relationships within DSRSD that are meaningful to the mentored employee and DSRSD (e.g., information sharing and increased retention). Any employee may function as a mentor and/or protégé. Coaching, interpersonal skills training, and support tools are provided for all employees who would like to engage in a mentoring relationship and desire additional skills.

DSRSD's mentoring program is protégé driven and confidential (i.e., only the Mentoring Program Coordinator knows who is participating in the mentoring relationships.) Mentoring relationships are initiated by a potential protégé selecting a mentor from the candidates in the mentoring pool. The protégé selects the mentor based on his or her own developmental needs and takes the lead in setting objectives, tone, frequency of meetings, and structure of the mentoring relationship. Additionally, each person joining the mentor pool must also identify his or her protégé capacity, i.e., the number of protégés he or she can support. Once selected by a protégé and after agreeing to become a mentor, the mentor supports his or her protégé through providing expertise and guidance.

The Mentoring Program Coordinator and DSRSD's Intranet site are available as resources, as well as to provide guidance. After six months, and again after twelve months, an on-line survey is released to the entire organization. This survey is aimed at determining satisfaction, identifying potential improvements, and ensuring the program is providing value to the organization. Based on our first online survey results (42% response rate), the Mentoring Program meets the needs of the organization. Mentoring relationships have resulted in the following: employees are obtaining additional certifications for future staffing needs within DSRSD as attrition increases; utilization of the educational assistance program has doubled; and on-the-job training for positions employees wish to pursue in the future at DSRSD or elsewhere is increasing and even occurring on the employees’ own time.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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