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How Your Company Can Set Up Mentoring Programs That Work

Starting a mentorship program doesn't have to be a logistical or administrative burden. There's an easy way to get one up and running fast.

Matthew Reeves

It's been proven repeatedly that mentorship programs work. The goal is to pair mentors and mentees that  develop relationships based on mutual trust. When trust is established, the mentee's professional development advances quickly and in a direction benefiting everyone involved. However, not all programs  provide those results. That's where mentoring software enters the picture.

Pairing Mentors and Mentees Isn't Always Easy

In many instances, pairing mentors and mentees is difficult. Personalities don't always match and neither party may feel they're benefiting from the relationship. Most organizations simply assign a mentor for a specific mentee, and that's not always the best way to proceed. Research has consistently demonstrated mentees who have a say in the selection of their mentor do better and get more from the relationship.

By the same token, mentors who are randomly assigned mentees may feel they've gained another responsibility without any reward attached. Since a mentor should also benefit from the relationship, assigning mentors without carefully considering the benefits to both the mentor and mentee frequently leads to issues later.

Many mentor/mentee relationships never get off the ground. One or both the parties may fail to contact the other as needed to build or maintain the relationship. HR departments are notorious for failing to follow up and guide or monitor mentor/mentee relationships. That means no one, including the company, enjoys any benefits.

Mentoring Software Provides a Solution

Employee performance is always important, but so is the company's retention rate. It costs money to replace employees, and projects suffer when team members leave. Mentoring programs minimize those issues, and mentoring software is designed to be a major contributor to keeping replacement and training costs low.

A number of leading companies use mentoring software and report high success rates. That's because the software is flexible and designed to work well in virtually any environment. When you're looking for a mentoring strategy that delivers on its promises, consider mentoring software.

Advantages of Mentoring Software

Before deciding on a mentoring software provider, it's always important to clearly understand the benefits of the software solution and how it will fit into your company's culture. If you're still undecided on how to proceed, make sure the software you're considering contains the following features and benefits.

  1. Pair mentors and mentees from any location. Both parties should be able to access and use the program from anywhere. That means mentors and mentees don't necessarily need to be from the same corporate location. It also means users can use the software from home or while on the road. That's a great feature when both parties have busy schedules and meeting face to face would be problematic.
  2. Give mentees an opportunity to participate in the mentor selection process. Mentees who have options when pairing with a mentor are far more likely to take advantage of the relationship both now and in the future. Rather than risking a poor outcome for the mentor or mentee, allow the participants to have a say in the pairing process.
  3. Each relationship should be focused on achieving the set goals. At the same time, it's important to re-evaluate and alter the objectives as situations evolve. The mentee's needs tend to change over time, which suggests a static relationship won't provide the level of benefits needed for the mentee to succeed in the long term.
  4. Online mentorships are not tied to specific schedules. Mentees can access the program at any time and from anywhere. If a problem develops, getting advice is easier than having to schedule an appointment to meet a mentor in person.

Depending on the type of organization and the mentor and mentee, there are other advantages to using mentoring software rather than relying on face-to-face meetings. At the same time, the company also benefits.

How a Company Benefits When Mentoring Software is Used

Companies make an investment in any type of mentoring program and need to see a return on that investment. When mentoring software is used, there are numerous advantages a company can enjoy.

  • Employees are more engaged and tend to remain with the company longer.
  • Morale is enhanced when effective mentorship strategies are used.
  • The corporate culture is nurtured when mentors/mentees form solid relationships.
  • Leadership skills of mentors (and mentees) are shown to develop and grow.
  • One of the other benefits a company will see is an improved ability to monitor mentor/mentee relationships. Most old-school, face-to-face mentorships are rarely followed up on or monitored to determine how they're working. Management can easily monitor mentorships when the appropriate software is used to track the relationship. If changes need to be made, those needs become apparent quickly.
  • Mentorship software also makes it easy to identify and nurture emerging talent. It's also easier to provide talented employees with the knowledge and experience they'll need to enhance their careers and, at the same time, help the company grow and prosper.
  • Mentoring software  makes it easy to garner feedback from all participants. Everyone is looking for effective ways to improve their mentorship programs, and obtaining quality feedback from mentors and mentees provides the information needed to better evaluate existing programs and improve them.

Starting a Company Mentoring Program

Since every organization has unique needs, it's important to tailor the mentoring program to meet those needs. Mentoring software has templates to use, but the best software can be modified to match the company's requirements.

The mentoring software selected must also make enrolment simple for the company, mentors, and mentees. Look for a software solution that makes the setup process easy for everyone. That means mentor and mentee profiles must be relatively detailed to improve the odds of mentor/mentee matches being successful

If your organization has no formal mentoring program or an existing program isn't functioning well, now is the time to consider how mentoring software can benefit your company. Follow the lead of numerous major corporations and discover the many ways mentoring software can generate greater productivity and enhance relationships.

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Download our Whitepaper on Best Practices for Running A Mentorship Program

We draw from the first-hand experience of managers at various companies leading mentoring programs and our own expertise to outline the best practices for running a mentorship program. This white paper is a comprehensive guide to help you build a world-class mentoring program.