Accounting Mentor Programs Part 3: Recognizing a Well-Structured Mentorship Program
In the final post of the mentorship series, Lewis Daidone discusses the importance of finding a high-functioning mentorship program with clear objectives. Lewis Daidone is a Certified Public Accountant and a consultant to tech companies and financial services firms.
Although mentorship programs are definitely becoming more common in the financial and accounting sectors, not all programs are created equal. Here are a few indicators that you’ve found a well-constructed and effective mentoring program.
- Goals are thoroughly defined. “Mentoring” can be a vague concept. When businesses treat mentoring programs like a cross between an introduction to the company culture and a probation period, they are failing to exploit their full organizational resources. Look for a program that has specific objectives. Does the company want to encourage cross-departmental familiarity? Does it want to give new hires the tools to pass the CPA exam? Does it want to optimize team-member performance?
- Timetables are set and maintained. One of the most common reasons mentorship programs fail is because of a lack of commitment to any set schedule. (This is particularly true during tax season, where offices get hectic.) There should be consistent meetings between the mentor and mentee throughout the duration of the mentorship. Furthermore, there needs to be regular benchmarking of achievements, so that progress can be assessed and challenges addressed. If there is no adherence to any schedule, it is likely that the program is going, or has gone, stale.
- The mentorship program is organization-wide. It might not be reasonable to expect every senior-level employee to mentor another employee, but everyone in the entire company has to be accessible to the mentorship program, and offer guidance when necessary.
- The program has strong oversight. The management team should make its interest in the success of the program evident by involving itself in its operations.
Mentorship programs can be a boon to both companies and individual employees. As workplace expectations continue to develop and industry practices continue to innovate, mentorship programs will become indispensable in helping organizations meet diverse challenges.
Lewis Daidone, a certified public accountant, works as an investment management consultant with BlackRock. Learn more about him by visiting this blog.