Mentoring Systems: Tracking success and feedback

May 25, 2019

There is one very important requirement for all mentoring programs – the ability to measure your success. If you can’t prove the program is succeeding, or even if it’s working, there’s risk that the program may be shut down by management or that participants will lose interest. Establishing your metrics for success is essential.

These metrics for success should be decided on and tracked from the onset of the program. The program may start off slowly or with a few speed bumps along the way before it takes off. Showing adaptation and change after receiving feedback is a useful measure and helps to tell the story of the path towards success.

If you can impact and improve a program while it’s ongoing, you’ll make it better for current parties and those who will have future involvement, staying ahead of the game.

Proving the Program

To demonstrate a successful program, you’ll need to be able to show results. Using Together mentoring software, you’ll have a solution that covers every step to take your program setup from start to finish and great reporting features to monitor your success.  

• Together handles the registration process of mentors and mentees, collecting the critical information to run a successful program.

• Pairing is another crucial part of a mentoring program, and software like Together can leverage both existing employee data and the data collected from registration to make optimal matches.

• Beyond pairing, Together can help ensure mentors and mentees are meeting at the right frequency by sending reminders, and hold them accountable by automatically tracking sessions through calendar integration.

• Development guidance is also readily available with the platform and designed specifically with mentees in mind to provide a tailored experience that is trackable.

• Reporting features are built right into the software to ensure that program administrators can monitor the progress of the program and demonstrate its results.

The data is being captured from beginning to end making it simple to identify progression as well as areas for improvement.

With easy to read reports, statistics and graphs, the buck does not stop with the Human Resources department, and you don’t need to be a data analyst to be able to read the figures the program produces. One of the key concepts of Together’s software is to keep things accessible and straight forward, so that employers, talent development managers, or even finance directors can see how their investment is working.

Feedback to the Organization

Employers who are thinking of adopting a mentoring program will need to consider how they’ll access the information they need to determine program success. One such measure might be staff retention with the program in place vs. without the program. Understanding how well a program is working allows overseers to make adjustments accordingly. Incorporating an HR portal that allows the ability to demonstrate its own results will make light work of analyzing the data.  

Employers considering adopting a mentoring program will need to think about how and what information they need to gain access to in order to measure program success. The initial areas of interest will be: how mentors have been matched, whether meetings have been taking place and at the appropriate cadence. Together’s mentoring software makes monitoring these metrics a breeze, and does so using applications and software that most office staff are already familiar with or using on a daily basis. This makes the learning curve and setup time minimal.

Organizational feedback is not limited to big data and program analysis. Data driven ‘everything’ is a trend at the moment, and not without good reason. However, individual feedback from key people is also critical. Individual hunches and opinions can usually be verified by looking into the overall data. It should be noted that the feedback from the individual is the initial driver for looking into the area to begin with.

Feedback from mentors should also be encouraged, as they will be able to provide their opinion based on their own unique experiences in the program. It’s usually possible to gauge how well something is working from the feedback of those who are directly involved, often before data Data is there to provide the analytical level of feedback that’s so frequently relied on in 2019.

A successful program will allow mentors to have an element of freedom to have their own say on what’s working and what isn’t. Individual feedback may prove to be the most important data to come out of a mentoring program.

Mentor To Mentor And Mentee To Mentee Feedback

Creating an open forum for mentors to discuss the whole process with other mentors and mentees is another great way of gathering feedback and further backing the process. The main concept of mentoring is people sharing knowledge and ideas, and some mentor-mentee relationships will benefit and improve their connection from learning about how other mentors and mentees successfully work together.

In addition to business growth, another measure of importance is how engaged the mentor and mentee are in the process. The purpose of mentoring is to bring out the best in a person, enhance their existing qualities and guide their approach to difficult tasks. However, if mentors and mentees are not tracking their progress, they may not be able to quantify and plainly see that the process is working for them.

Meetings between mentors and mentees will be scheduled at the convenience of both parties, but it’s easy for these appointments to get pushed aside or lost due to the busyness of the daily grind. Keeping track of these meetings and ensuring that both parties attend will become an additional task that should not just fall on the mentor.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This old saying is a good description of the way many people within the workforce think, especially people who have been with a company for a long time and are perhaps more stuck in their ways than newer employees.

Maybe financial results are looking positive, and staff retention is at an all time high. It would be easy to stick to the status quo. If you leave any business process in place for long enough it can become stagnant, practices can become outdated or short cuts are taken. A best practice mentorship program will always run alongside the day to day function of the organizations and adapt with it.

Together Means Tracking Isn’t Boring

Tracking does not have to be spreadsheets or ticking boxes. These tools can seem impersonal or meaningless and don’t always speak to the importance of the work being done in a mentorship program. Gathering data and feedback needs to be quick, easy and personal. Some questions to consider when tracking success:

  • Have we retained a higher percentage of staff this year, vs last year?
  • How many promotions have come from the mentor program vs people outside of it (this can be a real driver to get people to join the program)?
  • Have new ideas been implemented ensuring efficiency and cost savings?
  • Have mentors and mentees been paired correctly?
  • How many mentor meetings that have been scheduled have also been attended?

Feedback to the Mentee

Mentorship programs exist because there is a demand for good leaders to inspire the next generation of effective leaders. Employee satisfaction should not come at a cost to the mentee, so the goals set for them should be realistic and achievable. Feedback should be provided throughout the process, otherwise things can quickly fall apart. Common issues triggered by a lack of feedback or engagement include:

1. Monotony

The mentoring program slowly becomes something run of the mill. Participants stay where they are without asking questions, as no one has asked them questions. The exercises, meetings and mentorship becomes another laborious task to complete each day, week or month. But they carry on none the wiser to the fact that they are perhaps not where they should be right now, or that their mentor has maybe been too busy to attend all scheduled meetings and maybe the program isn’t working as well as everyone thought.

2. Complacency

Sometimes people are of the opinion that no news is good news.  They believe no news means they are doing well, they are still actively participating and as far as they can tell, they are still making progress. This is not usually the case.  

These are two key examples of individual feedback being critical, and perhaps even more important than big data. Over time, big data might reveal that there is an element of disengagement in the program, but individual feedback on the program can more quickly address issues of monotony or complacency before it becomes a widespread issue. While the company benefits from a best practice mentorship program, the individuals involved must also see the benefits and feel that their time spent is valued.

Trust

As mentioned in other posts, the trust between the mentor and mentee is very important, especially at the start of the relationship. This trust is critical to the mentor mentee partnership but also to the program overall. Openness and willingness to provide and accept constructive feedback is key. If participants become frustrated with the program but don’t feel they are able to provide feedback, the program will not be a success in the long term.

Constructive criticism is a term that gets thrown around a lot, and you may have heard of the ‘sandwich’ approach to feedback. The conversation is started with a focus on positive traits what the mentee is doing well. Next, the conversation moves on to the things they need to work on or an area in which they could improve their skills. The ending should again be positive, a recap on the great work that the mentee is doing. This technique is used in most performance review meetings and it should definitely not stop there as it can make the whole feedback process more comfortable and productive for both parties.

When offering feedback, the meeting should be planned in advance with all parties aware of what is going to be discussed. Taking time to plan out  what praise or critique will be given will go a long way with a mentee as they will see that they matter, that this time is valued and it hasn’t been rushed. It would be hard to trust an opinion from somebody who hasn’t taken time to draw upon the information with the intent to make things better.

Making the Program Better Based on Feedback

Collecting all the data in the world in encouraging feedback based on opinions is step 1 of improving the mentoring program. This feedback needs to be fed into the program, and the program adapted based on the information. Mentoring software can be a huge timesaver when it comes to looking for opportunities for program improvement.

Final Words Of Encouragement

Statistics show that mentees are five times more likely to be promoted than those not in a mentorship program. You can use this stat to compare the effectiveness of your program and internal promotions but can also use this information as a way to increase buy in from the people involved.

It’s not what you know, its who you know!

Networking counts when it comes to career progression. We’ve already looked at how some social groups may struggle to effectively network and will benefit from having a more formal process in place for building a network. Having a network of people who know and understand your goals could make all the difference in furthering your career. If this network stretches to the higher ups and people who matter when it comes to awarding promotions, it has even more benefits for entry level staff. The people who engage with and put the most into a mentoring program are always the ones who get the most out.

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We interviewed and surveyed employees from 50+ leading North American Companies including McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, IBM, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Capital One, Norton Rose Fulbright, Mackenzie Investments. Get the results below.
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