The mentorship program was developed to better retain and advance women and minorities in the digital organization at The New York Times. The primary focus is to help participants clarify their career vision, develop new skills and gain confidence in the skills they already have. We believe that focusing on career development will increase job satisfaction and organizational commitment, as well as develop a diverse pipeline of future leaders.
The ABI Mentoring Guide defines mentoring as “a one-to-one developmental relationship between a mentor with experience and knowledge in technology/computer science and a less experienced partner.”
Within The New York Times digital group we expand this definition to encompass mentors with experience and knowledge in product management, project management, digital design, and technology.
A mentoring relationship should not be prescriptive. Instead, the mentor should aid in the process of career development by helping their mentee discover their strengths and weaknesses in order to help focus, reframe and clarify their career vision.
Mentoring has been shown to be effective in increasing the retention and advancement of women and minorities. An evaluation of diversity management programs at 830 companies over 30 years found that mentorship programs are often “quite effective” and have the strongest positive impact on the advancement of women and minorities along with executive diversity task forces. (Dobbin, F.; Kalex, A., and Kelly, E. (2007). Diversity Management in Corporate America, Contexts, Fall, 21-27.)
Building a relationship with a colleague from scratch can be difficult. Successful mentorship relationships are built on a joint commitment of shared growth and trust.
Before the program starts, mentees will fill out a survey indicating the areas of focus they’d like to work on. Mentors will fill out a similar survey indicating the areas they feel comfortable advising on. We will use this information to pair people.
The broad topic areas will include:
Once pairs are formed, the leadership team and HR will review before pairs are finalized. The mentorship committee will then communicate with each mentor and mentee directly to share their match ahead of the kick-off meeting.
A kickoff email will be sent outlining the program and schedule. After the kickoff email is sent two workshops will be scheduled. One session will be dedicated to mentees for goal setting. Another session will be a workshop on coaching techniques for our mentors. We will support remote participants.
Mentors and mentees will meet for at least an hour every month for the following 6 months (there will be a total of 6 meetings over the course of the program, excluding the kick-off). In their first meeting, pairs should decide on a method for scheduling future meetings. They should also decide on what should be held confidential and what can be shared outside the relationship.
Ongoing Support for mentors and mentees
The mentoring relationship should be mentee-driven and mentor-guided. The mentee is expected to identify and drive activity towards his or her career goals. Effective mentorship is built on a solid relationship between the mentor and mentee, so take time to get to know each other, exploring passions and obstacles as they could become relevant (if not already so) to the areas of focus.
Requirements for mentors:
Requirements for mentees:
All information discussed or disclosed in mentoring conversations should be kept confidential unless specifically agreed otherwise. For example, if the mentor wants to make an introduction for their mentee, the mentor should confirm any details she or he wishes to disclose in the introduction.