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Home / About Mentoring

About the Program

The HHS Mentoring Program is based on the OPM Leadership Competencies (create hyperlink) and includes the HHS Leadership and Core Competencies (create hyperlink).

Participants have the opportunity to develop leadership and technical competencies through just-in-time coaching and guidance which will improve their overall performance and success in the workplace.

To support development of these competencies, the HHS Mentoring Program offers two mentoring platforms: (1) Senior-to-Junior, and (2) Peer-to-Peer (P2P). These allow employees to experience mentoring relationships in order to fulfill a variety of learning needs, manage their own growth and development, and build and strengthen relationships throughout the organization. Participants can serve simultaneously as a mentor and mentee within their home OPDIV or through a cross-OPDIV relationship.

Throughout their participation in the program, mentors and mentees are expected to successfully complete the following program components:

Orientation – All employees must participate in the mentoring orientation to prepare mentors/mentees for an effective mentoring relationship. For in-person events, this will also allow pairs to participate in a “meet and greet.” Individuals in distant mentoring relationships should arrange a meeting with their mentoring partner following the online or instructor-led session.

Mentoring Agreement – This document is signed by both the mentee and mentor to help clearly outline expectations and establish terms for the mentoring relationship. When the pair completes the mentoring agreement, the mentee must log-in to the mentoring website to indicate completion in the online system which will alert the OPDIV Coordinator within one month of match confirmation date.

Individual Development Plan (IDP) – This document is developed by the mentee with the assistance of the mentor. The mentoring pair should identify strengths, developmental needs, activities, and track the mentees’ progress throughout the mentoring relationship. Thereafter, the mentee will obtain input and/or share the IDP with their supervisor/manager of record. When the pair creates the IDP, the mentee must log-in to the mentoring website to indicate completion which will alert the OPDIV Coordinator within one month of the match confirmation date.

At this stage of the relationship, the mentoring pair should review the IDP periodically and continue to work through stated objectives, making changes as needed. To assist the pair, the program coordinator and HHS U staff will provide other informational resources and quarterly training events targeting specific topics to enhance the mentoring relationship and professional development.

6-Month Mentoring Progress Report - In order to ensure positive mentor/mentee relationships, we monitor the progress of the mentoring pairs. The goal is to ensure that the relationship is mutually beneficial and to detect potential issues as early as possible. OPDIV coordinators may establish procedures for tracking the progress of participants within their organization.

Mentoring participants will submit a 6-month progress report. In the event that a mentoring relationship is not working as effectively as it should after 3 months, either partner may terminate the relationship. The role of the OPDIV coordinator is to provide guidance to the pairs prior to terminating the relationship.

1-Year Program Completion Survey - To evaluate the HHS Mentoring Program’s overall effectiveness, participants should assess the program via a 1-year completion survey in order to determine if the program objectives were met. Evaluation is important in measuring the program’s success. Information sharing between the OPDIV/STAFFDIVs and program administrators is essential to ensuring effective program implementation and goal achievement within the Department. The HHS Program Manager in coordination with the OPDIV is responsible for receiving the completed survey to assess program effectiveness and the Department’s return on investment.

About Mentoring 

Historically, the origin of the word “mentor” can be traced back to Homer’s epic poem Odyssey thought to date back at least 3,000 years.  The Odyssey tells the story of King Odysseus’ lengthy return from the Trojan War.  During his absence, he had entrusted the care of his kingdom, Ithaca, and of his then infant son, Telemachus, to an old friend, named Mentor.  The Greek mythology character “Mentor” is referred in contemporary literature as a wise and kindly elder, a surrogate parent, a trusted adviser, an educator and guide.  His role is described variously as nurturing, supporting, protecting, role modeling, and possessing a visionary perception of his ward’s true potential (Journal of Education for Teaching, 28, 3, Pg.247-263).

Like the original Greek Mentor, anyone who serves another as a counselor, guide, tutor or coach is a modern-day mentor.  Mentoring relationships are seen in various aspects of our society, i.e., learning institutions, organizations, and local state and/or religious programs.  Specifically, the HHS Mentoring Program addresses the rapidly changing work environment and provides opportunities to develop employees, increase staff productivity, and improve employee retention.

Current trends and research regarding mentoring has shown how essential it is to an organization. In fact, 35 percent of employees who are not being mentored within 12 months of being hired are actively looking for a job. Only 16 percent with mentors jump ship. Thirty percent of women executives and 47 percent of women of color pointed to "lack of mentoring" as a barrier to their advancement.


Last revised: 12/8/2008



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