I am sure that many of you are trying to determine if it’s worth it to bite the bullet and invest in mentoring software versus continuing to do it manually. It might seem expensive as well as time consuming to get it launched, but I can assure you that in the long run mentoring or learning software is a more effective solution in terms of both costs and benefits.
Let’s start with the matching process itself. Our mentoring software, Wisdom Share, uses 18 compatibility factors to determine the perfect match. These factors typically include functional areas of interest, skills and competencies, professional backgrounds and personality traits, although there is some flexibility in determining the most appropriate categories. Our proprietary algorithm then weights these factors based on prior experience and research into what makes a partnership work and then provides the mentee recommendations for best possible matches. Launching mentoring partnerships across geographical boundaries and business units is simple to arrange with mentoring software. Arranging these matches manually would take a manager hours to complete whereas it takes our software 5 seconds. In the long run, you not only save money on administrative costs but the match is more likely to succeed -- enjoy the experience and accomplish goals -- because they have been matched with the right person.
More Flexibility, Guidance and Collaboration
Mentoring today takes on many different shapes. It is not just traditional one-on one mentoring where a high level manager is being groomed. Today, there is a vast amount of collaborating being done among participants at all levels in both corporate America as well as universities, non-profits and government agencies. Software has the flexibility to match people and groups around different interests, functions and topics. And because all levels of the organization are now participating in some sort of mentoring or learning partnerships, the sheer number and complexity of the relationships would be difficult to manage manually.
Mentoring software today also helps guide participants through the process. Participants know what to do next. They are automatically sent reminders. They can set goals and monitor progress. They have resources they can access at the click of a mouse and they have tools that help them communicate, share and collaborate with their partners, groups and others in the community.
Next let’s discuss the reporting that can be run with software and how much easier it is for program administrators to manage the program and track progress and success. Mentoring software gives managers insight into participation, engagement and commitment levels, goals established, diversity goals and when to intervene. Keeping tracks of these metrics manually would be a daunting, time-consuming task. It is these results that help administrators understand what they need to do to improve the program.
It would take super human powers to be able to provide the results and flexibility that today's software can provide. Before you make any final decisions, perform a cost-benefit analysis of a manual mentoring program versus an online program. If your program includes more than 20 pairs, you would be remiss not to seriously consider software.