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Dear Workforce Our New Career-Mentoring Programs Are Falling Flat. How Do We Salvage Them Before Its Too Late

September 7, 2011

Dear Caught in the Middle:

Many organizations sport well-thought-out programs for managing human resources—and then fail to successfully implement them.

Managers have many demands on their time, and thus may view internal requirements as too time-consuming or immaterial to accomplishing their managerial accountabilities. As a result, either the work will not get done or it will be given short shrift.

Effective implementation, therefore, is critical to success. The most admired companies do things that typically are not all that different from what their peers do. Where they stand out is somehow finding a way to do those same things more effectively.

To get managers to embrace HR management, your company's top leadership needs to champion the cause. You also should include "managerial effectiveness in HR management" as an important category in evaluating your managers' performance. Further, managers have to be convinced that these programs work.

You are right to characterize these career initiatives not as HR-driven, but as a larger effort to drive management effectiveness. Perhaps the management directive has not been given teeth.

It is also possible that managers have not been properly oriented and trained to use the new coaching and career development tools in a way that supports their job needs. In other words, managers need to recognize how these employee-centric tools add value and time efficiency to their own job tasks. Otherwise, don't expect them to throw their support behind something they don't understand and may even resent.

Present these investments to individual managers as tools that will help to drive execution.

There is no doubt that creating "stickiness" around internal initiatives has long been the greatest challenge. Assuming top leaders support it, and the program has a compelling vision, a second point to emphasize is effective communications, in multiple forms, that repeat messages and key themes and measure impact along the way.

SOURCE: Jim Bowers and Bonnie Mueller, Hay Group, Philadelphia, June 12, 2009

LEARN MORE: Rolling out mentoring initiatives is only half the battle. Clear metrics are needed as well.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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