All mentoring programs have one absolute requirement and that is a way to measure their success, if you cannot prove the program is successful, even if it is working, then it is at risk of either being shut down or people losing interest. A solid way of tracking progress is essential.
To get the most out of a program and illustrate its success you need to track from the start. Even if that start is somewhat rocky, showing that it started off with a few issues but then after six months is running smoothly can be as useful as showing outright results, movement in the right direction is a good thing and things rarely are perfect from day 1. Showing adaptation and change after feedback is also another useful measure.
If you can try to impact a program whilst it is ongoing to make it better for the current parties and all those who will have future involvement you are already ahead of the game.
Proving the Program
To prove the program, you must first have results. By using Together Mentoring Software, you will already be provided with a solution that contains everything you need to see the steps through from start to finish.
- Together handles the registration process of mentors and mentees, collecting the critical information to run a successful program.
- Pairing is another crucial part of a mentoring program, and software like Together can leverage both existing employee data and the data collected from registration to make optimal matches.
- Beyond pairing, Together can help ensure mentors and mentees are meeting at the right frequency by sending reminders, and hold them accountable by automatically tracking sessions through calendar integration.
- Development guidance is also readily available with the platform, and designed specifically with mentees in mind to provide a tailored experience that is trackable.
- Reporting features are present in the software to ensure that program administrators can monitor the progress of the program and demonstrate its results.
The data is being captured from beginning to end making it simple to identify progression as well as areas for improvement.
With easy to read reports, statistics and graphs, the buck does not stop with the Human Resources department, and you don’t need to be a data analyst to be able to read the figures the program produces. One of the key concepts of Togethers software is to keep things accessible and straight forward, so employers, talent development managers, or even finance directors can see how their investment is working.
Feedback to the Organization
All employers thinking of adopting a mentoring program need to think about how they will gain access to the information they need regarding program success (such as staff retention with vs without the program/vs industry averages etc). Understanding how well a program is working enables overseers to make adjustments accordingly. Incorporating a HR portal that allows ability to demonstrate its own results will make light work of analyzing the data.
Whilst it is important to measure business growth, from a Human Resources perspective, the areas of interest, at least in the short term will be more focused on how mentors have been matched, whether meetings have been taking place and at the appropriate cadence. Togethers mentoring software makes this level of monitoring a breeze and does so using applications and software that most office staff are already familiar with and using on a day to day basis so the learning curve and time spent setting up is minimal.
Organizational feedback is not limited to big data and overall program analysis, data driven everything is a trend at the moment and not without good reason, however, individual feedback from key people is also critical. Usually individual hunches or opinions can be verified by checking into the overall data, however, the feedback from the individual is the initial driver for looking into a new area.
Mentors should be encouraged to provide feedback about how the program is working in their opinion based on their own unique experiences. It is usually possible to gauge how well something is working from feedback of those directly involved, often before the big data is there to provide the analytical level of feedback we so frequently rely on in 2019.
A successful program will allow mentors to have an element of freedom to have their own say on what is working and what isn’t based on the individuals involved. Individual feedback may prove to be the most important data to come out of a mentoring program.
Mentor To Mentor And Mentee To Mentee Feedback
Allowing mentors time to discuss the whole process with other mentors and mentees to meet as a group where they are able to talk freely about the process in an open forum is another great way of further backing the process and getting the most out of it. The whole concept of mentoring is really people sharing ideas and it may be that some mentor mentee combinations benefit from understanding how others successfully work together.
A mentoring program is not just measurable by business growth, but for the most part on how well received it is by the mentor and mentee and how engaged they are in the process. While the purpose of mentoring is to try and bring the best out of a person, enhance their existing qualities and to shape their ways of approaching more difficult tasks, there would actually be no process in place if mentors are not kept in the loop with their own progress or even able to track how things are going for themselves.
Scheduled meetings are arranged at the convenience of mentors and mentees, but mentors will also have their own job to do, so keeping track of it all and making sure that parties attend will become an additional task that shouldn’t just fall on them.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? This old saying is responsible for the way a lot of people think within a workforce, especially people who have been with a company for a long time and are perhaps more stuck in their ways than newer starters.
Maybe financial results are looking positive, perhaps staff retention is at an all time high. But if you leave any business process in place for long enough it can become stagnant, practices can change slightly or short cuts are found. A best practise mentorship program will always run alongside the day to day function of the organizations and adapt with it.
Together Means Tracking Isn’t Boring
Tracking does not necessarily mean having a spreadsheet or a tick box exercise that will soon become just another impersonal thing that needs doing quickly so that everyone can get back to the “real work”. Making the more mundane tasks of data gathering and providing feedback quick, easy and personal is essential to success.
- Have we retained a higher percentage of staff this year, vs last year?
- How many promotions have come from the mentor program vs people outside of it (this can be a real driver to get people to join the program)?
- Have new ideas been implemented ensuring efficiency and cost savings?
- Have mentors and mentees been paired correctly?
- How many mentor meetings that have been scheduled have also been attended?
Feedback to the Mentee
It could be argued that above all else, the mentorship program exists because there is a demand for good leaders to inspire the next generation to also become effective leaders. Employee satisfaction shouldn’t come at a cost to the mentee, so your investment in them should be with focus towards realistic and effective goals that are realistically achievable. If they are not provided with the feedback they need throughout the process, everything can all fall apart. Common issues triggered by lack of feedback or engagement include:
The mentoring program slowly becomes something run of the mill. They stay where they are without asking questions as no one has asked them questions. So the exercises, meetings and mentorship becomes another laborious task they have to complete each day, week or month, but they carry on none the wiser to the fact that they are perhaps not where they should be right now, that their mentor has maybe been too busy to attend all scheduled meetings and maybe the program isn’t working as well as everyone thought.
It could also work the other way, no news is good news, right? So they must be doing well, they are still a part of the mentoring partnership and as far as they can see, they are going places… aren’t they?
The above are key examples where individual feedback is critical over (or perhaps as well as) the big data, while the big data might, over time reveal that there is an element of disengagement in the program individual feedback on program monotony can help quickly address the issue before it becomes a company wide issue. While the company will benefit from a best practice mentorship program the individuals involved need to not only see the benefits but also feel that their time is being spent valuably.
We have covered in other posts how important mentor mentee trust is and ways to establish trust at the start of the relationship, this trust is critical to more than just the collaboration of the mentor mentee partnership but also the program as a whole. Openness and willingness to provide two way constructive feedback is key. If people become frustrated with the program but don’t feel they are in a position to criticize it as on every level it will not be a success long term
Constructive criticism is a term that gets thrown around a lot, and you may have heard of the sandwich approach to feedback. Starting the conversation with positive traits and telling the mentee what they are doing well. Then moving on to the things they need to work on or an area in which they could improve their skills. The end should again be positive, a recap on the great work that the mentee is doing. This technique is used in most performance review meetings and it should definitely not stop there as it can make the whole feedback process more comfortable and productive for both parties.
When giving feedback, the meeting should be planned in advance with all parties knowing what is going to be discussed. Planning out beforehand what praise or critique will be given will go a long way with a mentee as they will see that they matter and this time is valued and it hasn’t been rushed. It would be hard to trust an opinion from somebody who hasn’t taken time to draw upon the information with intent to make things better.
Making the Program Better Based on Feedback
Collecting all the data
in the world and encouraging feedback based on opinions is step 1 of improving the mentoring program, this feedback needs to be fed into the program and the program adapted based on feedback.
Mentoring software can be a huge timesaver when it comes to looking for flaws in a program.
Final Words Of Encouragement
Statistics show mentees are five times more likely to be promoted than those not in a mentorship program, you can compare the effectiveness of your program and internal promotions to general statistics like this but also use this statistic as a way of getting an increased level of buy in from the people involved.
It’s not what you know, its who you know!
Networking counts when it comes to career progression, we have already looked at how some social groups may struggle to effectively network and benefit from having a more formal process in place for building a network. Having a network of people who know and understand your goals could be the difference between furthering your career or not. If this network stretches to the higher ups and people who matter when it comes to awarding promotions it has even more benefits for entry level staff, the people who engage with and put the most into a mentoring program are always the ones who get the most out.