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Peer Mentor Champion Training (PMCT)

Peer Mentor Champion Training

Virginia Tech’s Peer Mentor Champion Training is designed to build capacity in public organizations by providing the tools and training employees need to create customized peer mentoring programs that are meaningful for their specific environments.

Traditionally, workplace mentoring refers to relationships where advice, guidance and support are offered by more experienced colleagues to those with less experience or who are new to the organization.

The purpose of peer mentoring, however, is to support colleagues in their professional development, facilitate information‐sharing, and build a sense of community. Peer mentoring de‐emphasizes concepts of hierarchy, judgement, and evaluation (OPM, 2008).

Peer mentoring, a subset or “alternative” type of mentoring, is a cost‐effective approach that focuses on an expanded set of outcomes linked to group and work‐ based learning. These outcomes are tightly focused on supporting the mentee’s acculturation and realization of fit within the organization, not necessarily the teaching of technical and professional skills needed for a given job role.

Peer mentoring is well‐studied in the professional setting and is often identified by employees as more effective in comparison with traditional mentor‐protégé relationships.

There are many key benefits identified by human resource and organizational development research including:

Recruitment – Job seekers are are looking for more than just basic compensation and benefits when they contemplate a new job. Peer mentoring programs are another mechanism to attract high quality talent.

Onboarding – A peer mentor can play a big role in socializing a new hire, especially if they’re involved right from the start.

Retention – In a five‐year study, retention rates for mentees (72%) and mentors (69%) were much higher than for employees who didn’t take part in the mentoring program (49%) (Gartner).

Tacit knowledge transfer – A lot of the taken‐for‐granted knowledge of employees comes from personal experience and interactions with colleagues. This information is hard to transfer. Peer mentors are key in supporting this process.

Well‐being – Because peer mentoring develops trust, employees are more likely to share their actual state of mind and concerns. Having a peer mentor in these challenging times can ensure employee get needed support.

Engagement – Peer mentor programs promote job satisfatication and the personal and professional development of both mentees and mentors which in turn impacts their engagement and commitment to the organization.

Research indicates intentional planning and training to stand up a peer mentor program is an important ingredient in program success (Herrera et al., 2008). The training is delivered over a 3‐day period. The venue for this training is determined by the organization sponsoring the project.

Topic areas of the training are focused on how to create an organizational structure for a successful peer mentoring program. These include organizational readiness and preparation for a mentoriang program; mentoring contexts and practices specific to dyadic peer mentoring; and development of a marketing and messaging program to promote and inspire active participation in the expanded mentoring initiative.

Individuals who are selected to participate in the PMCT should be people who are interested and willing to contribute to the design, delivery and monitoring of the organization’s peer mentor program.

PMCT participants should be considered from all parts of your organization – leadership, supervisors, and frontline employees. An organization should have enough people who have completed the PCMT to establish an initial peer mentor committee in their organization.

After completing the PMCT, Participants will:

  1.  Understand the necessary organizational development principles and processes related to the "readiness" for a mentoring program.
  2.  Develop a strategy for creating the readiness needed to establish a program.
  3.  Understand the mentoring context and approaches for developing a customized peer mentoring program in their organization.
  4.  Discuss and develop a communication plan to promote and inspire recruitment and participation in the program.