Organizations looking to improve productivity, boost employee engagement and reduce turnover rates often turn to workplace mentoring programs as tools to help. That’s because mentorships have been proven to work. And that’s why over 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs in their workplaces.
One of the essential keys to success for these programs is the pairing of mentors and mentees. Suppose you are able to get the right match between your participants. In that case, you can unlock the benefits of mentorship, including expanding employee skillsets, increasing their loyalty to your company, and cultivating an engaging and positive atmosphere at work.
How to get a good mentor-mentee match
Finding the right mentor-mentee match depends a lot on the goals of your mentoring program. For example, if your goal is to onboard new hires, you’ll want to pair them with a senior employee who can show them the ropes. The mentor would ideally be from their department or section of your organization and one who has developed good working habits. However, if your goal is to cultivate a more inclusive workplace, you may want to match a mentee with a mentor that is quite different from them. By pairing a mentee with a mentor from another section of the organization or even a different background or gender, you can help them build understanding, which leads to acceptance.
Ultimately, you’ll need to develop a pairing process that is streamlined, efficient, and reliable. While manual pairing gives you the feeling of being in absolute control over the matching, it is time-consuming and not a practical way to run a workplace mentoring program for larger organizations. Mentoring software like Together simplifies the pairing process while enabling you to maintain control over the criteria for matches. Moreover, there are several ways that mentoring software can make a match.
Using mentoring software for matching
Using mentoring software for pairing does not mean the computer is in control. With Together, there are different ways you can use the software to pair mentors and mentees. Depending on your program and the goals you have for it, you can allow a mentee to pick their match, have an administrator select and pair participants, or use the software’s algorithm to create matches quickly.
- Mentee-led match: Following a mentee’s registration into the program, Together’s software will produce a list of potential mentor matches. The mentee can then shortlist up to five potential mentors they’d like. Then, the mentee ranks each of the five possible matches from 1-5. A message is then automated and sent to the mentors based on their rank. So, the first mentor on the list will get a message requesting them to agree to the match. If that mentor does not agree to the match, then the software will send out another message to the next person on the shortlist. The process will continue until a mentor accepts the match. This method of pairing is designed to fit into any workplace mentoring program parameters. It also gives control to both the mentee and the mentor, who will each need to agree to be matched together. Using the mentee-matching process can help to get a mentorship off on the right start. Participants will be able to build on the things they have in common. One drawback of allowing mentees to select their match is that it does not allow admins the opportunity to be involved. This method also gives the mentee the chance to pick a mentor that they feel safe with rather than a mentor who may challenge them. If the goal is to develop a mentee’s skills and capabilities, it might be better to have an admin do the pairing.
- Administrative-lead pairing: Organizations with multiple workplace mentoring programs may prefer to put an admin in charge of the pairing process. Together’s software is built to simplify managing many different mentoring programs and participants. From the dashboard, the admin simply selects the mentoring program they need. Then there are two options: auto-matching or manually matching. Admins may opt to go through each registrants’ details and manually pair mentees and mentors together. This is often the best way to create successful matches in executive mentoring programs. Using Together, the admin can maintain control over the pairing process. However, if manually matching is too time-consuming, admins can also select the auto-matching option. This powers up the software’s algorithm, which can pair employees together based on various criteria.
- Software-algorithm matching: Using mentoring software’s algorithm still allows admins to alter the criteria for matching until they are satisfied with the results. The algorithm used in our mentoring software can be adjusted and changed by setting different priorities for your mentoring program. By altering these priorities, Together can quickly create possible mentor-mentee matches. Final approval can still be given to admins before the pairing is confirmed. This allows for some discussion between admins, which can be a valuable feedback tool for the pairing process. Together also allows you to send a notification to mentors to see if they are interested and have the capacity for a mentorship. In this way, everyone can be on-board before the mentorship match is made.
Tips to improve mentoring pairing
Even before you begin making the matches, there are some things you can do to help improve the pairing process and enable successful matches in your workplace mentoring program. These include:
Define goals - your mentoring program should have clearly defined goals that align with your business goals. Knowing what areas you want to improve in your business can help you narrow down the types of mentor-mentee matches that will get you there.
Set matching priorities - if you are using mentoring software for your program, you can set different priorities that will significantly impact the matching process.
Be realistic - remember that there is no easy way to make a successful match. In some cases, you’ll have to use your best judgement, whether pairing mentors and mentees manually or relying on Together’s matching algorithm.
Be available - some mentees and mentors may need extra guidance, particularly if this is their first mentorship experience. Be available to answer their questions and offer them resources to help them make the most of the mentoring program.
To learn more about how Together’s mentoring software can take your workplace program to the next level, book a demo today.