Many companies have mentor programs to develop their employees and help them advance in their careers, and many companies would like to launch such a program but do not know how. NETSCOUT has worked to build a thoughtful, structured, and successful program and has even advised other companies on how to do the same. We had the opportunity to speak with Lisa Hull, HR Manager at NETSCOUT, to learn a little more about how the company has structured their offering.
What is the NETSCOUT Mentor Program?
The NETSCOUT mentoring program is a way for us to building internal networks and break down silos through a six-month partnership with a fellow internal employee who has a strong skill set in an area that could help to develop another employee. We start the program through applications and pair Mentors and Mentees based on what they know and where they would like to grow.
During the six months, we have monthly networking calls with the mentors for guidance they may need, we do one-on-one check-ins with participants, and we have three calls with everyone involved to make sure we are on track and meeting goals and objectives. At the end of the program, we send out a follow-up survey gauging how the program went, improvements we could make, and to see if the participants felt it impacted them in a positive way.
How did it get started?
Our program originated in a very organic, grassroots method that aligns with our company culture. At NETSCOUT, we have a work environment that mimics a start-up culture in many ways, even though we have been in our industry for over 35 years. This mentality empowered an employee who saw a gap within our employee development programs, and she became passionate about filling this gap by way of a mentor program. After discussing it with her supervisor, the idea began to snowball and gain traction as her passion eventually brought it to our COO as well as one of our Board Members, both of whom are still active in the program.
Who is this program geared towards?
The goal of the program was, and still is, not to target one area or one group, but to make our population stronger together, build bridges, and break down silos.
How large is this program or projected to be?
The program is open to everyone globally who would like to participate. To keep it manageable, we are keeping the pairings to 35 pairs (70 people). We are open to expanding this number in the future as needed.
How is this program making a difference in your organization?
The employees stated the top areas of impact on their personal situation is in skill development, networking, and personal growth through self-advocacy. More people that partake in this program feel they grew their business knowledge and learned how to recognize their personal strengths and challenges.
What is some advice you would offer organizations who are just getting started in their mentor effort?
A mentoring program does not have to be overly complicated if there is a passion to develop your employees organically and the employees are hungry for it.