Image of a globe flanked by the text 'Resources for Recruitment and Retention, Support in the Workplace' and wrapped in a banner that says 'Plan It.'

Training Intervention Strategies


What is the origin of the word “Mentor”? 
Mentors often operate informally by helping new employees learn the ropes as staff come to them with questions. They may be the new employees’ supervisors or simply approachable coworkers. These individuals can make a major difference in the performance of new employees and the time required for them to get “up to speed” in a new role.
Organizations sometimes choose to formalize the role of mentor. They may do this by providing specific guidance and resources for both mentors and mentees, while ensuring that mentors have the time required to fulfill the role well. When organizations choose to designate mentors, they should be sure that mentoring is recognized as a contribution to the organization and considered in performance reviews as part of the individual’s responsibilities. If mentoring is required but only as an add-on, uncompensated responsibility, it may be performed grudgingly by already-busy individuals.
An example of mentoring is the use of regional mentors to orient new performance reviewers at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which developed a mentor-guided curriculum to orient performance reviewers to their responsibilities. Mentees were given access to a series of online modules that explained different elements of performance review and gave them an opportunity to apply what they learned at the end of each module in running case studies. New performance reviewers came to their mentor after completing each online module to ask questions and present their answers to the case study for discussion. Mentors were also instructed to use suggested discussion questions to engage their mentees and respond to their individual needs.

HRSA’s mentoring system allowed regions to benefit from centralized development of materials but to continue to provide region-specific guidance through their mentors. Instructions given to mentors in the book the Mentor’s Guide (book for purchase) further illustrates effective mentoring in action.

Submit your Feedback

Upload or attach a document:

Go to Chapter: