ReadyTalk was founded in 2001 and has been successful in not only growing its customer base but also building a strong employee brand. We now have a total of 175 employees divided between two floors at our downtown Denver office. ReadyTalk has also been ranked one of the Best Companies to work for several years in a row by publications such as ColoradoBiz Magazine and Outside Magazine.
However, going from a small company to a medium sized company brings new excitement and new challenges which leads to new opportunity. The question is, “How do we keep our employees connected despite our growth?”
After much discussion with employees, competitive benchmarking and a few internet searches it was clear. ReadyTalk already has a very comprehensive benefits package which employees value very much. However, the one thing we didn’t have was a form of a mentorship program which could help build working relationships, educate employees on other internal business units and create an opportunity for employees to learn from one another.
The next question was, “how do we build a mentorship program from scratch?” I am going to provide a high level overview of the steps that were taken to get this program going.
• Answer the question, “What is the mission of the program?”
Answering this question helped establish the goals of the program. This was easy because ReadyTalk already has a set of core values. We were able to create our mission off of these values.
• Answer the question, “What will the mentorship program look like?”
Our program was created to bring people together, to share learning and educate one another. We chose to have our participants have the opportunity to cross-train or even better XTrain! Rather than implement the traditional mentorship senior/junior relationship we wanted to branch out and have various departments work together.
• Get buy-in from Executive Management and Managers.
Without the support of Executive Management and Managers the XTraining program may go nowhere. Managers want the best for their teams but also have the bottom line in mind. It is crucial to explain the benefits of having their team member’s participate in a mentorship program.
• Hold an All-Employee Kick-Off Meeting
In an effort to communicate the ReadyTalk XTraining program a kick-off meeting was held to share with the employees what this new program was all about. This was a simple power-point presentation highlighting the details with a bit of music for some flare
• Gather feedback and be open to constructive criticism
The only way to improve a process or a program is to ask the users what they think. We have been very up front with the fact that the XTraining program is in its infancy stages and we absolutely want constructive criticism. This is the only way we can tweak, enhance and create a program that employees feel is beneficial.
The ReadyTalk XTraining program is meant to be open, accessible and employee driven. We are excited to have implemented this program and look forward to its success.