Evergreen Mentorship Porgrams

Evergreen: A new way to run a mentorship program

We've been working hard on the biggest change to the platform ever. A new type of program format has arrived, and we call it Evergreen.

Ryan Carruthers

Published on 

November 25, 2021

Updated on 

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It's time for an update on changes to Together’s mentoring platform! With this update, we’re introducing a new way to run an employee mentorship program. We call it Evergreen.

What are Evergreen mentoring programs?

Evergreen programs allows for great employee connection. Employees can register for your program and match with a mentor or mentee at any time. Evergreen programs contrast our legacy format (Cohort programs), which have a fixed start and end date. Evergreen programs make it easier to bring the benefits of mentorship to your organization year-round.

Evergreen vs Cohort

Let's look at some key differences between Cohort and Evergreen mentorship programs:

Legacy format: Cohort New format: Evergreen
• Fixed start and end date.
• Participants sign up within a certain time frame with little room to switch their matches.
• Typically run 1-3 times a year
• Employees who miss the registration window have to wait until the next cohort.
• It's a lot of effort to promote your program over and over again.
• Everyone has a mentor for the same duration of time and goes through the same session agendas.
• Registration and matching are always open.
• Employees can browse and request mentors at any time without having to wait until the next program.
• Programs can run year-round with no fixed start or end date.
• Employees can choose how long they want to match for and can extend the relationship if needed.
• Programs can grow in size and participation over time.

The limitations of Cohort mentorship programs

There are three main reasons we decided to transition from a Cohort-style mentorship program to Evergreen. Over three years of research, we’ve learned that the following things hinder mentoring success:

Limiting matching

Cohort programs are a great, structured way to run mentoring, but they limit each mentee to one match for 4-12 months, which doesn’t let them accomplish all their “just-in-time” mentoring and learning needs. Evergreen makes it easy to find a mentor on a timeline that works for you.

Limited participation

Mentees are limited in what they can learn and from whom if everyone in the company isn’t signed up and available for matching. Company-wide perspectives significantly improve the experience.

Taking too long to launch

Long, annual or bi-annual registration windows delay the benefit of mentoring. Infrequent matching teaches participants that mentoring isn’t available when they need it but when the organization makes it available.

Cohort programs can still deliver significant benefits to an organization, but as they get more mature in running mentoring programs, Evergreen is the best model to run with.

Benefits of running Evergreen mentorship programs

For program administrators, Evergreen has three main benefits:

Benefits to admins for running Evergreen programs

Less work for administrators

  • Admins don’t need to relaunch registration every year.
  • There’s no need to supervise the quality of the match - users can end the match early & match again with a new mentor whenever the time is right for them.
  • If a match isn’t perfect the first time, mentees can quickly find a new mentor instead of waiting for the next Cohort.

Less complex launch

With Evergreen, there’s no need for long registration windows: newly registered mentors are recommended periodically through email. In this way, mentees can more easily find a mentor that’s right for them.

Programs grow over time

  • Registration is always open.
  • Users can invite each other by sharing a link.

How do mentors and mentees benefit from an Evergreen mentorship program?

Evergreen mentorship programs are much easier to run for organizations. But mentors and mentees stand to benefit as well. Let’s look at the benefits to mentors and mentees:

Benefits to mentors and mentees to participate in Evergreen programs

Better mentoring experience

  • Mentees can meet multiple mentors according to their current needs.
  • Mentees have the flexibility to extend their match or end it early to meet other mentors.

Less time spent waiting for a mentor

  • Mentees don’t have to rush to find the best mentors or wait through a long registration window.
  • If a mentee finishes a mentoring relationship early, they don’t have to wait for a new cohort to start. They can immediately start looking at new mentors.

More engaging features than cohorts

Mentees and mentors have more access to new features through Evergreen programs. Evergreen programs include:

  • Mentor wishlists.
  • Periodic mentor recommendations.
  • Top mentor leaderboards.

Let’s look at these new features in more detail.

What’s included in Evergreen mentoring programs

There are several new features that are included in Evergreen programs. Let’s look at a few:

Matches can end early or be extended

Evergreen programs allow mentor and mentee matches to be more flexible, not locked into the time frame of a cohort model. 

For example, one pairing may be formed around a particular skill or developmental milestone of the mentee. Once that goal is reached, the pairing may culminate—possibly before the end of the full program. In this case, it would be great to free up that mentor's time and make them available to mentor another mentee, thus expanding the amount of value they can provide. 

Matches can end early or be extended with Evergreen

Browse mentors any time

In addition to a more flexible timeline, Evergreen programs allow mentees to browse mentors at any time. In this way, it keeps employees engaged with the program and what other mentors are available. If they find a mentor with the particular skills or experiences they’d like to develop, they can pursue that mentor and request to match with them. All this can be done at any time through the program, rather than just at the beginning. 

Mentees can create wishlists

From our data, we’ve seen that mentees spend over half an hour browsing mentors in their program. It’s a big decision and it makes sense that mentees would want to see all the options available to them. For this reason, we made it easier for mentees to save their favourite mentors. They can do so by adding them to their wishlist. 

mentor wishlist

If that mentor is currently mentoring someone else, our platform will notify them when they become available.

Participants are recommended new matches over email

Mentees spend a lot of time browsing mentors, but it can be a difficult decision to make. To make it easier, our platform will recommend available mentors to the mentees over email. 

Participants are recommended new matches over email

The recommended mentees are based on their goals, skills, experiences, and other information about the mentee. In this way, mentees can make more informed decisions about who to pursue as a mentor.

Programs grow organically and top performers are recognized

One of the key features of Evergreen programs is that they allow mentors and mentees to register at any time. In this way, employees can look for a mentor when the time is right for them. The programs become a part of the organization rather than a one-time period. In this way, the mentorship program will grow over time as employees meet with mentors, share the experience with their colleagues, and encourage them to join as well.

Leaderboards recognize top mentors and participation grows organically with Evergreen

Likewise, as some mentors invest in more mentees by completing sessions and taking on more matches, they’ll be recognized on the monthly leaderboard. The leaderboard will list the mentors with the most hours spent mentoring. A mentor leaderboard is a great way to encourage mentors to keep investing in their mentees and take on more.

Share a link to your mentoring profile and calendar

For mentors, scheduling meetings is the most boring responsibility they have. A new feature of Evergreen programs is that mentors can share their calendars directly with their mentees using a personalized link. With a calendar integration, finding a time to meet is easy and hassle-free.

Share a link to you mentoring profile and calendar.

Want to start an Evergreen program?

Evergreen mentoring programs make it easier to democratize the benefits of mentoring across your organization. With no start or end date to the program, it will grow organically, giving mentors and mentees more flexibility in who they choose to match with and for how long. Connect with us for a quick 30 minute chat to learn more about starting an Evergreen mentoring program.

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