Three Years On: Mentoring at the Department of Justice and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada
This study sought to explore how the National Mentoring Program and mentoring relationships have been working for members. An electronic survey was sent to all matched associates and mentors from the NMP in the summer of 2011. Those who responded to the survey were able to volunteer for an in-depth interview that allowed them to provide more in-depth opinions about their experiences.
One of the NMP's three indicators of success is to achieve an 80% overall satisfaction rate amongst participants. This research project sought to measure this indicator with two questions on the electronic survey; the first question focused on satisfaction with the National Mentoring Program and the second question focused on satisfaction with the mentoring relationship.
When asked about their satisfaction with the National Mentoring Program, three quarters of associates (74%) and mentors (75%) said they were Very satisfied or Satisfied. Results from self-identified members of EE groups are similar. Furthermore, the remaining 25% are not dissatisfied (19% for both associates and mentors fell into the Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied or the neutral category). So with very small percentages of Dissatisfied or Very dissatisfied (8% of associates and 7% of mentors), it is possible to conclude that the NMP is working very well indeed for those who responded to the survey.
The second question to assess satisfaction focused on the mentoring relationship; here, 84% of associates and 88% of mentors said they were very satisfied or satisfied with their mentoring relationship. Again, the results from those who self-identified as members of EE groups were similar. These levels of satisfaction regarding the mentoring relationships themselves are above the target 80% level.
Mentors and associates were also asked about specific services the NMP offers and for both groups, a third or more said they had not used any services. Study participants commented that the NMP needs to establish its purpose; it needs to do more than match up mentors and associates. Participants provided a significant number of comments, both on the survey and in interviews, about additional activities they would like to see provided by the NMP. These might include formal and informal training, networking events and a way to acknowledge the time and efforts of the many mentors. In doing so, the NMP could raise its profile and the profile of mentoring at JUS/PPSC.
There is room for improvement for the NMP as a program in terms of overall satisfaction, but the comments and ideas provided by those who participated in the study are overwhelmingly constructive. There is much enthusiasm amongst the members to see the program continue and become even stronger in the belief that a stronger program would be better placed to support and strengthen mentoring relationships and foster a culture of mentoring within JUS and PPSC.
A second indicator of success for the NMP is to meet its 90-day standard for matching associates to mentors. The administrative data indicated that overall, it is meeting its standard. As of October 1, 2011, there were only two individuals who had not been matched within 90 days. Ninety days, however, can seem like a long time to someone who is waiting. When asked on the electronic survey, 60% of associates were very satisfied or satisfied with the matching process; nonetheless, there were numerous comments from both associates and concerned mentors regarding what they regarded as the “slow” matching process. The NMP will be implementing an automated matching service by early 2012 that should address delays.
The third indicator of success for the NMP is to improve job satisfaction. Of the associates who responded to the survey, almost half (49%) indicated that their mentoring relationship had improved their job satisfaction to a great or some extent. Another 21% indicated that it had improved their job satisfaction to a little extent. On many other measurements (see Tables 6 and 7), associates and mentors indicated that their mentoring relationships had helped them improve their ability to do their job.
TheNMP is a formal program in that it has a structure and some resources to match associates and mentors and provide some orientation, guidance and materials. Those working in the Department of Justice and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada are busy professionals and yet a large number volunteered (n=64) to be interviewed to provide more in-depth comments on the NMP and their mentoring relationships. These individuals have clearly indicated through the study results – both from the survey and interviews – that the NMP has begun to establish a firm place at JUS and PPSC.
The success of mentoring relationships depends upon those involved (both mentors and associates) and it is evident that managers and employees do want a mentoring program that actively supports these relationships. The words below, from a mentor who was interviewed, aptly capture the interest in and support for mentoring and the National Mentoring Program at the Department of Justice and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada:
C'est une idée formidable !
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