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 mentoring programs have been proven to work. And that’s why over 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs in their workplaces.
To unlock the benefits mentioned above, mentoring programs need to do one thing really well: the mentor-mentee match. The foundation of a mentoring program is creating meaningful pairings that will help employees grow.
The limitations of pairing manually
For program managers, however, how do you make sure every mentee has the perfect mentor, best suited to their goals and personality? In the past, many HR managers and L&D leads championing these programs would use spreadsheets and surveys to collect information on every employee and then decide who would be best with who.
They may have an intuitive understanding of the participants and have confidence in choosing the right pairs. But as the program scales, it’ll be harder to juggle all the different pairing combinations in their head. Likewise, it’ll take significantly more time to consider each pairing.
There needs to be a way that program managers can take into account the goals and skills of mentors and mentees and quickly pair them based on certain parameters, or considerations. This is where mentorship software becomes essential. It makes pairing (and more) quick, informed, and scalable. Unconvinced? Read on...
What is mentorship software?
Mentoring software facilitates your workplace mentorship program. It can be used to pair participants, schedule meetings, track relationship progress, and generate reports.
Purpose of mentoring software
As mentioned above, it can be challenging to run a large-scale workplace mentoring program because the administrative burden can be overwhelming. Programs are usually run by HR managers, L&D teams, DE&I directors, or managers. They have existing responsibilities and running a mentorship program can quickly become a full-time job. This is one of the most significant advantages of using mentoring software like Together.
Our platform cuts down the time to do the menial (but important) tasks so program administrators can focus on the strategy of the program. By strategy, we mean the purpose of the program.
There are many types of mentoring programs for different audiences. Before we jump into how to get a good mentor-mentee match using software let’s pause to look at the different types of mentoring programs you can run:
Using mentoring software for matching
Using mentoring software for pairing does not mean the computer is in control. With Together, there are different methods you can use 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.
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, and the pairing process begins.
- The mentee ranks five possible matches
- An automated message is sent to the first mentor choice for approval
- If the first mentor choice is unavailable, Together will send automated messages to the next option until a mentor accepts.
This method of pairing is designed to fit into any workplace mentoring program parameters. It 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 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.
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 - The software cultivates possible pairings using an algorithm for the admin to review.
- Manually matching - Admins can go through each registrant’s details and manually pair mentees and mentors together.
An administrative-lead pairing is often the best way to create successful matches in executive mentoring programs. With Together, the admin can maintain control over the pairing process.
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 discussion between admins, which can be a valuable feedback tool for the pairing process. Together also enables 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:
Begin with the end in mind. What is it you want to achieve with your workplace mentoring program? It’s essential that the goals you use for your mentorship initiative align with your business goals. For example, if you’re looking at creating a robust succession plan, consider a high-potential employee mentoring program. It can be used to connect executives with up-and-coming leaders from your ranks.
You’ll also need to consider how to measure the success of your mentoring initiative. So, once you’ve written down some goals, consider the KPI’s you’ll use to measure your ROI for your mentoring program. Ensure that these indicators are specific and can be easily measured.
Set matching priorities
The pairing process is one of the most critical parts of a successful mentoring program for your workplace. If you’re using mentoring software like Together, you’ll be able to customize the matching process for more success.
If the mentor is a part of the pairing approval process, they’ll need to be knowledgeable about mentoring and how to be a great mentor.
Creating the best possible pairing will boost the experience for participants and also the reputation of your company for running an effective workplace mentoring program.
Keep in mind that there is no ultimate answer for making a successful match. Sometimes, you’ll have to use your best judgement whether you are paring mentors and mentees manually or using Together’s algorithm.
The mentorship experience is about learning, growing, and expanding one’s perspective. So, if a mentor-mentee match does not seem ideal, don’t forget that it can still be suitable for participants.
Get things off to a good start by preparing the mentee to get the most out of the relationship. Equip them on the dos and don’ts of being a good mentee. The more realistic you can be, the better the experience will be for everyone.
Some mentees or mentors may need some extra guidance through the process. This can be vital if it is their first mentorship experience. Admins need to be available to answer questions and offer them resources to make the most of the mentoring program. It’s also good to follow up with participants throughout the mentorship to see how things are going. Checking-in, whether informally, or with survey and reporting tools like those provide by Together's platform is essential to reporting on your program.
Pairing mentors and mentees is the foundation of a successful mentorship program. If you want to learn more about starting a mentorship program, check out our comprehensive guide or Book a demo with us to learn more about how Together’s mentoring software can take your workplace program to the next level.