Workplace mentoring programs have been proven to be one of the best ways to reengage employees and reduce turnover rates. To establish a successful mentoring program, there are some tools that can help participants and the organization along the way.
As businesses realize the positives and potentials that mentorship can bring to their employees and their company as a whole, the number of workplace mentoring programs continues to grow. Statistics report over 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies that rely on mentoring programs in their organizations. This is likely because it works. Research has uncovered that employees with mentors are more productive in their workplaces. As well, employees that have mentors also have a 23 percent higher retention rate than workers who don’t have a mentorship.
To ensure that your organization develops a mentoring program that works, there are several tools that you can incorporate that can help your participants succeed.
Whether you are just developing your workplace mentoring program or are looking at a revamp, there are some mentoring tools that can help you be more successful. These include assessment and goal-setting tools, technology that can improve communication and connectivity as well as forms for participants to offer their feedback and input.
SWOT Assessment: The very first thing that a mentor and mentee should do when they meet is a SWOT assessment of the mentee. This stands for strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. By assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the mentee, goal-setting will become clearer. In the same way, identifying opportunities for growth and threats to the mentee’s development can help define the steps needed to be taken to achieve the goals.
SMART goal-setting: One of the key elements of a successful mentor-mentee relationship is goal-setting. It is also one of the things that set mentorships apart from other workplace relationships. A mentor should guide their mentee to create goals that fit the SMART technique. This means a goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive. It is important that the mentee write down their goals and check to make sure it fits the SMART approach. SMART goals are ones that are easy to track and measure so the mentor and mentee can see the benefits of their mentorship.
Application forms: Although it is not always seen as a tool for mentorship, the application that participants fill in can provide a lot of useful information. These details are particularly important when it comes to the matching process. Mentoring is built around the relationship between the mentor and mentee. That means getting the right match is one of the best ways to ensure success for the participants and the mentoring program as a whole. Workplace mentoring program managers should assess the information they need or want to have from their applicants and ensure those questions are on the application form. However, keep in mind that the application process needs to be balanced. That is, if you are too invasive or if the application process is too time-consuming, you may find you are short of participants.
Resources for a successful mentoring relationship: Mentoring can be a new experience for some mentors and mentees. Administrators can help them have a blueprint for their meetings by providing resources like agendas, handbooks, helpful articles, and questions they can ask one another. These resources can help fill in the gaps when a mentor or mentee isn't sure what to ask or what they should expect from a mentoring relationship.
Feedback forms: Following a mentorship, it is important to get the feedback from both the mentor and the mentee about their experience. This can be done with simple questionnaires or forms, including online survey-style forms. The more specific the questions the better information you can solicit from participants. Feedback is a valuable tool for assessing a workplace mentoring program. It can help managers determine if there are some elements of the program that need to be reworked or changed. Participant reports can also be useful in gauging the success of the mentorship program.
Advances in technology have provided many different tools that can be used in mentoring programs to improve connection and communication. From mobile technologies to video conferencing, scheduling and mentoring software, technology provides workplace mentorships with a wide range of tools to help facilitate the process.
Mobile apps: Our world is a mobile one. Statista reports that over half of people accessing the internet do so from a mobile device. That means that organizations with a mentoring program need to allow for the use of mobile technology like apps. Established tech services like GoToMeeting, Slack, Skype, Zoom and Evernote can be useful tools for mentoring. They all offer different ways for a mentor and mentee to stay in touch and connect. Workplace mentoring programs that make use of mobile technology will also appeal to younger employees, which, in turn, can improve employee retention rates.
Video conferencing: Larger organizations that have mentoring programs can take advantage of video conferencing tools to help mentors and mentees connect over geographical areas. Online video conferencing can benefit the matching process as employees can connect with others outside of their region. Most of these tools also feature a mobile app or support for mobile devices.
Scheduling: Mentors and mentees lead busy lives. Getting together can be a challenge, which is why the right calendar can improve mentorship immensely. It is important that participants and the workplace mentoring program manager all use the same scheduling tool. Apps like Asana, Outlook and Google are good calendar schedules that offer alerts between those scheduled for a meeting. For example, if a mentor and mentee are scheduled to meet but the mentor has something come up at the last minute the right calendar app would allow the mentor to alert the mentee about the situation. Calendar integration can also mean rescheduling or changing a meeting location can be done smoothly.
Mentoring software: One of the most diverse mentoring tools, mentoring software can streamline a workplace mentoring program. From the application process to matching, to scheduling and reporting programs like Together make mentorship easier. By using algorithms, mentoring software helps identify good matches between applicants. Moreover, these algorithms can be customized to parameters that are important to your organization’s mentoring program. In addition, Together provides comprehensive reporting that can be used to gauge the strong and weak points of your workplace mentoring program.
As the number of workplace mentoring programs grows, so do the variety and range of mentoring tools that can be used to develop a successful mentoring program. From tools like SMART goals to technology such as mentoring software, there are several ways to ensure your workplace mentoring program is relevant and efficient.