Getting management buy-in

You may feel as though corporate mentoring programs are a good idea, but you might be wondering how your company's leaders and managers will react to your suggestion that they should support such an intiative. Or you might be put off by the idea of having to make the arguments to various people in the company who are, perhaps, rather more sceptical and resistant to the train of new initiatives that come across their desk.The simple fact is that mentoring can be extremely beneficial to your company. So what can you do to promote people's adoption of the mentoring program and their desire to participate? How can you clarify the benefits of introducing a corporate mentoring program?
Buy-in is the state when people are committed to something, when they are convinced of its worth to them and no longer have objections or fears they get in their way of adopting it. It's when they feel a sense of ownership about it. And it's when they're actually motivated about wanting to participate in your mentoring program.

You will maximise your chance of getting buy in for your mentoring program if you take care of the four following aspects:

  • Define who are the people affected by the introduction of the mentoring program.
  • Explain the link with strategy.
  • Have a relevant outcome measure.
  • Explain the benefits of mentoring to different people affected by the mentoring process

Define Who is Affected. The following groups will want to know about the mentoring program:

Senior management, who will probably want to know about budget details, what they, in particular, can do to help you implement the program and how the mentoring program is going to help the company to achieve its strategy.

Middle management, especially those who are the target market for mentors and mentees, and also line managers who will be providing mentees to the program.

And then there are the special cases. In the context of change program reorganisation or merger other stakeholders will be relevant. So your first step to giving management buy in is to identify the relevant stakeholders, given your context.


A recurring theme - Link with Strategy!

The next most important point is to be able to link the mentoring program with your company's strategy. Approach this question by understanding what the strategy means to each stakeholder group and explaining the mentoring program to them in those terms, rather than having the approach of ‘selling' the program to the stakeholders.

The aim overall is to build trust and understanding, not to ‘sell' the mentoring program. 
Corporate mentoring programs, when implemented effectively, go on to sell themselves such are the positive benefits they bring to employees and companies. All you have to do is be a trusted advocate from the outset.

Explain the Benefits to your Company.

Once you've worked on these first two points you're now well placed to understand explain and demonstrate the benefits of your proposed mentoring program to the company. However, here are some universal benefits:

  • Mentoring is a pragmatic tool for creating learning organisations. This means that people learn faster and smarter, and because of this they help create competitive advantage with less cost.
  • Mentoring is cost light in comparison with other development programs. You are recycling and reusing an already existing internal resource.
  • Mentoring creates a new more engaged leadership culture throughout the company. By engaging different people in smart strategic knowledge sharing conversations and by promoting positive corporate citizenship behaviours. People learn better, and they learn how to help one another, more effectively.

What gets measured, grows.

The final point - you should have a relevant outcome measure:

By this point you'll be glad that you know and understand fully the link between your mentoring program and your company's strategy, and that you understand this better than anybody else in your company!

Your outcome measure, when it's related to strategy, will dovetail with your company's other performance measures and KPIs.

Your outcome measure should capture the relevant benefits of mentoring to your company. Incorporating this into your outcome measure will mean that you have to be clear about the benefits of the mentoring program, which in turn will help you get management buy in.


So what are the key points of how to get management buy in for your mentoring program?

  • Link to the aims of your mentoring program with your corporate strategy!
  • You're building trust through questions and enquiry rather than selling your mentoring program.
  • Explain the benefits of your mentoring program and show that you can capture, measure and demonstrate the benefits of your mentoring program with a good outcome measure.

Projektgruppe wissenschaftliche Beratung GbR
Dr. Andre Lehnhoff Managing
Wendy Kendall Partner of PwB
Ohlanden 35
25582 Hohenaspe
Tel.: +49.4893.220256
Fax: +49.4893.220256
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Projektgruppe wissenschaftliche Beratung GbR

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