A lot of time and energy is invested in developing and maintaining a workplace mentoring program. Organizations want to know that those efforts are well spent.
Determining whether or not your mentoring program is successful requires some type of measurement and evaluation process. This process should be built into the program design from the beginning. It will be related to the desired outcomes identified as the reason for building a workplace mentoring program. In other words, the very things that you want to achieve with a mentoring program become the benchmarks that will define success.
Every mentoring program should be monitored and evaluated at different stages. Monitoring refers to the regular tracking of the program and can be done throughout the mentorship. Evaluation involves a more thorough review of the program’s success and is usually done at the end.
Monitoring a workplace mentoring program involves creating a measurable process for the program. There are some ways and best practices that have been developed that can help simplify this step. These include tracking participant engagement and regularly looking over the metrics produced by your mentoring software.
Engagement levels - Mentoring programs that have high levels of engagement also signal success. However, this may look different for each mentorship. For this method of measurement to work, the mentor and mentee need to define their expectations at the beginning of their relationship. For some really busy professionals, meeting once a month may be a high level of engagement while for other mentorships it may be a warning sign that something is not right. Mentoring software can help measure engagement as programs like Together are designed to record and report on engagement activities such as messages and meetings. You’ll also want to check in with participants at different periods of the mentorship and see how they are feeling about the program.
Goal achievement - Mentees often develop some goals that they want to achieve during their mentorship. Tracking the progress towards their achievement can be another great way to show the success of your workplace mentoring program. To do this, have the mentor and mentee record the goals at the beginning of their relationship. Then check in regularly to see if they are moving closer to completing the goal. These goals can be professional, such as getting a promotion, or personal, such as developing a new skill or broadening the mentee’s network. Together mentoring software has a unique feature that allows mentees to assess their skill before the mentorship during their participation and again after the mentorship ends.
Review metrics regularly - Having mentoring software that can produce analytics and reports is a valuable way to measure the success of a mentoring program. Together has built-in reporting that can measure program activity and engagement. The software can keep program managers up to date with information such as how often mentors and mentees are meeting. After every session participants are invited to fill out a survey that Together uses to measure the success of the meeting and the mentorship overall. However, if this data is not regularly reviewed in light of the success of the mentoring program then its value will be lost. Mentoring program managers should make a point of reviewing these metrics monthly or bi-monthly to stay up-to-date on each mentorship and the program as a whole.
Monitoring a mentoring program at work usually involves keeping track and measuring the various signs of success. Yet, every mentoring program should also be evaluated regularly. This is a more involved process than monitoring. During an evaluation, the entire program is reviewed, from the goals and outcomes defined when it started to the reports and data collected during the monitoring phase.
Evaluating a mentoring program is a way to assess the overall strength of it. These reviews may uncover some weak points in the program that need to be addressed before a higher level of success can be reached.
All of the data and information collected during the monitoring stage of the mentoring program can be used for review during the evaluating stage. KPIs and feedback are two of the most vital pieces of information when it comes to evaluating a workplace mentoring program.
KPIs - Key Performance Indicators or KPIs of a mentoring program need to be observable and measurable. To do this, you take each goal or objective that the mentorship is designed to address and find some ways to measure that. For example, if you are trying to create a more diverse workplace, consider what that will look like. Would you like to see more minorities in leadership positions? If so, that is one of your KPIs. You can see over time if a mentoring program is creating more leadership opportunities for participants by tracking the change in representation at the management level. KPIs are most useful when they are set during the program planning stage.
Feedback - One of the best ways to measure your workplace mentoring program is by asking for feedback from those involved. When a mentorship runs its course, ask both the mentee and the mentor to fill in a survey. You can ask them how they felt about the mentorship and even see if they would recommend the program to others. This information can help identify key areas that still need to be worked out. It can also reveal the parts of the mentoring program that work well.
Workplace mentoring programs require a lot of time and energy for an organization and from participants. Undertaking regular monitoring and evaluation of the program and its success should be considered a way to protect your investment.