As a common practice among undergraduate and graduate programs at universities, peer mentoring not only increases student retention, but it also establishes life-long relationships. When each new student begins their time at a college or university, they are connected with an upper-class student who is trained to assist new student in the higher education environment. By equipping new students with resources and lessons-learned, the fear and anxiety of college are alleviated as the mentor has been in the shoes of the mentee.
Research has shown that peer mentoring in academia provides the following benefits:
- It increases student retention
- It increases emotional intelligence (EQ) in both the mentor and mentee
- It makes learning fun by celebrating milestones
- It builds leadership qualities that can be implemented in all facets of life
Though the primary objective is to discuss peer mentoring programs in an academic setting, the same holds true in industry. Peer mentoring for new hires and college graduates enables the mentee to immediately feel like they are a part of the organization’s family and culture. Just as in leadership, the mentor must make this relationship about the mentee. The mentor’s satisfaction and accomplishment should be in seeing the mentee succeed and advance in their career. In turn, the mentor’s responsibilities will grow as well given they have displayed leadership qualities within their organization.
In a peer mentor setting within the workplace, the mentor should do the following:
- Understand the mentee’s needs and goals
- Have weekly, candid conversations regarding the mentee’s development
- Share lessons-learned and propose how the mentee can learn from their experiences
- Continually empower and celebrate accomplishments
Regardless of your situation, if you do not have an established peer mentoring program at your academic institution or workplace, you can establish an ‘unofficial’ program.
To establish an effective peer mentoring program, an individual or organization can implement the following steps:
- Determine goals and objectives
- Establish a leadership team
- Create a diverse group of mentors
- Coordinate an intensive training program for mentors
- Hold regular check-ins with the program director and mentors to collaborate on program improvements
Though this is not an exhaustive list, the above bullets are the initial steps in creating a successful peer mentoring program. Though this journey will be an iterative process, the results will be rewarding for all involved.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about peer mentoring, please reach out to the team at Academia Worldwide at www.academiaworldwide.com.
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