Mentor Program

Challenge:

Recognizing the importance of effective onboarding to reduce turnover, and the expenses that go with it, the Human Resources team at Presbyterian SeniorCare Network in Pennsylvania decided to train a group of individuals to help new hires feel welcomed and valued from day one. Frontline team members, who work closest with new team members, rose to the challenge. Presbyterian Senior Care Network includes 53 communities that provide a variety of services, and 2,000+ team members serve approximately 6,500 older adults annually.

Solution:

In 2017, the Human Resources team formalized the new mentor program. It consists of nomination criteria and a formal process, a 3-hour training session for those who are selected, ongoing skill-building sessions, a tri-annual newsletter, and an incentive program for mentors as they successfully mentor new team members.

Implementation Details:

At least twice a year, HR Directors ask managers to submit nomination forms for team members who are interested in becoming mentors and meet the criteria. During a CORE Mentor training, the team members learn about onboarding – what it is and why it’s so important. They learn about the Network’s onboarding commitment and its person-centered approach to onboarding. Human Resources Directors review why they were selected, and what their responsibilities will be with each new team member they mentor. They receive a mentor toolkit – a binder that includes their training materials, as well as forms they must complete with their “mentee” at 30, 60 and 90 days. Mentors also assist the mentee in completing the Department-Specific Onboarding Checklist. In return for their timely efforts, mentors receive an incentive payment at each milestone (30, 60, 90 days; 6 months; 1 year). This payment varies based on the mentee’s status (FT, PT, or casual status).

Mentor Selection Criteria:

  • Leader recommendation.
  • Current team member with greater than one year of service with the network.
  • Team member in good standing (no discipline beyond a verbal and rating on last performance review the equivalent of a meets expectations or higher).
  • Always role models the Presbyterian SeniorCare Network Standards of Behavior. Supports a welcoming and respectful work environment.
  • Demonstrates effective communication skills.
  • Attends all required in-services and completes all required training within required timeframes.
  • Is familiar with and understand all aspects of the Network’s person-centered culture.

Mentor Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Builds a relationship with new team members and supports their integration into the team.
  • Assists new team member in learning the culture of the community and specific team in which they will be working.
  • Familiarizes new team member with the community policies and procedures.
  • Role models behavior standards and coaches new team members on how to follow them.
  • Shares information about the application of the network’s person-centered culture in their team.
  • Supports new team member in becoming integrated into the social atmosphere of the community.
  • Maintains open communication with new team member throughout the onboarding process.
  • Supports new team member for 6 months (or longer depending on the needs of the new team member).

Once the mentor completes the CORE Mentor training, they are required to attend 2 out of 3, 1-hour skill-building trainings offered throughout the year, such as conflicting resolution, team building, etc. Information about the skill-building offerings is included in Connections for Mentors, which is sent out 3 times per year. Managers and mentors also provide feedback on the program, which has led to positive changes and are included in Connections.

Factors for Success:

  • Buy-in at all levels – from top-level managers (to support incentives and time commitment) to front line team members (to assume mentoring responsibilities)
  • Appropriate incentive payments based on status plan
  • Meaningful training and implementation materials that are effective, “easy and quick”
  • Listening to participants to improve the program

Outcomes:

  • By 2018, over 150 team members had participated in CORE mentor training
  • Overall network retention improved by 6% from March 2017 to November 2018
  • At network locations where mentor processes have been fully implemented, retention from March 2017 to November 2018 improved by 22%

Need more information?

Contact Tanya Ulrich, at trulrich@srcare.org or Jen Benson, at jbenson@srcare.org.