Formal mentoring programs are incredibly powerful tools to boost employee engagement, productivity, retention and satisfaction. Mentoring Programs leverage resources your company already has: new, excited employees and veteren employees full of invaluable years of experience and knowledge.
Mentor programs don’t ever reach their full potential if the matching process is botched. Instead of flourishing and engaged employees, a mismatched program creates discord through matching incompatible people.
In order to get the most out of a program and avoid any negative effects amongst employees the matching process needs to be gotten right from the start.
Here are 4 steps to perfectly match Mentors and Mentees for maximum gains.
One - Clearly Define the Program Purpose
Don’t expect to slap a mentoring program together, gather up employee names and email addresses, upload it all to a software program, click a button and have wonderful results. Successful mentoring programs require care and planning.
The first step is to define the program purpose. Usually, there is a problem to solve. Are employees bored and disengaged? Are employee retention rates really bad? Is the company on-boarding process problematic?
Once you've identified the problems you want the mentoring program to address, it becomes very easy to lay out the program purpose. With a clearly defined program purpose in mind, you can determine the best method to match mentors with mentees.
Two - Decide the best matching method
There are four main ways to go about matching mentors and mentees:
Admin Matching - Here we have an administrator who has control of the matching process. The admin can create matches on behalf of the participants. This form of matching is best used when the mentoring program goals are to groom future leaders and further develop high potential employees. If an organization has selected out specific people for potential promotion, they can be matched with existing executives to learn the ropes and see if they would be a good fit higher in the company.
Bulk Matching - In bulk matching, an admin can match large numbers of program participants at the same time. This saves a tremendous amount of time and often has to be done if the program has hundreds or thousands of participants. This form of matching usually involves enrollment surveys to be filled out by both mentors and mentees. Parameters can be set by the admin and in conjunctions with mentoring software, many matches can be generated in bulk in very short order.
Self Matching - This method allows mentees to select their own mentors. Mentees go through catalogs of potential mentors and submit requests or a list of top choices. This method is very broadsheet and works well to improve retention rates, engagement and employee satisfaction. Also, a lot of the burden and workload is taken off the Admin’s shoulders as participants do a lot of the heavy lifting in the matching process.
Hybrid Matching - This method combines all the above approaches. Sometimes one approach can’t handle all the programs needs and goals. When there are 50 mentees and 50 mentors, it could be pretty simple to manually match them using surveys and knowledge about their basic character. Good mentoring programs expand and oftentimes very fast. So what do you do when 1000 people decide to sign up for the program over the course of 2 weeks? You may need to utilize all the above methods systematically for best service all participants and pull off expert matching.
This is where Mentoring Software (like Wisdom Share provided by Mentor Resources) can really save you. Mentoring Software has advanced algorithms built into them that can be put to work, matching mentors and mentees based on tabulated surveys and participant profiles. Running a larger mentoring program (or a small one that is projected to expand) without the proper software will give even the most organized HR wizard a headache.
Three - Generate Profiles and Criteria
Every mentoring program participant will be different. Each will have unique knowledge, experience and viewpoints to bring to the table. You need to match them all using the right skill traits.
Precise profiles and surveys need to be filled out early on. Keeping the program purpose in mind, participant profiles can be assessed for compatibility and potential matches.
It’s important to have mentees establish their preferences when it comes to a mentor. Some mentees will want to learn a specific skill set while others it's more important they are mentored by someone with a big tenure.
Keep surveys and profiles short, but precise. 20 questions is a good ballpark to shoot for. Too short or too long and they don’t contain enough information to be useful or they are too inflated with useless information.
Four - Supervise the program
Even if you have done all the above steps perfectly, there is still a chance that some mentorships will fail without further guidance. Mentoring is not part of most people’s daily routine. If a senior executive is expert at his job, that doesn’t mean he is expert at showing or mentoring another in his tradecraft. Guidance needs to be provided.
Guidance and education can and should be very simple. Mentors should be informed on how to best conduct mentoring meetings. Mentors can also be grooved into providing constructive criticism and tracking mentee goals.
Mentoring Programs should offer very brief training programs and/r resources to help participants get the most out their mentor relationships.
Mentoring is an extremely powerful tool that can take an organization to the next level of prosperity. Done right and it boosts productivity, retention rates, improves on-boarding and grooms future leaders. Get off on the right foot or more time will be spent correcting botched matches instead of improving company culture.
Mentor Resources can help any company to leverage technology to create tailored career development programs that are cost-effective. Our mentoring software - Wisdom Share is a cloud-based program that is simple and comes with guided workflows. Included are tools for administrators to attract, enroll, connect, and guide participants. We also provide analytics to ensure you can monitor your employee development program and easily see ROI metrics.
Reach out to us today for a Free Demonstration of our software.