Organizations use mentoring programs to overcome various employee challenges. While it can be about skill-building, statistics have found that employees with mentors are more productive in their workplaces. Employees that have mentors also have a higher retention rate than workers who don’t.
However, it can be challenging to build a successful mentoring program. But with the right tools, you’ll be able to get your mentoring program off the ground quickly and efficiently.
What’s involved in planning a mentorship program?
Starting a workplace mentoring program takes time and planning. Without clarity, it can be overwhelming from the planning stage, to launching the program, to the managing and reporting responsibilities. If that’s not enough, you’re often running the mentorship program alongside your day-to-day responsibilities.
Regardless of the goals of your mentoring program, administrators will have to add extra responsibilities to their busy schedules.
This can include:
- Planning sessions - to ensure your mentoring program gets off on the right foot and is aligned with organizational goals.
- Promotion - a mentorship program needs to be marketed to attract participants and supporters.
- Registration - gathering key information about employees who are interested in participating.
- Pairing - creating the right mentor match can be one of the most challenging aspects of managing a mentoring program.
- Tracking - staying in touch with mentors and mentees to ensure they meet regularly and have everything they need to make the most of the mentoring experience.
- Reporting - company leadership needs to see the numbers. They’ll want to know if the program is doing what it was designed to do.
It can be difficult for one person to do all this work on top of their regular day job. But it doesn’t have to be.
There are many valuable mentoring tools that you can use to make it easier.
Tools for managing mentor and mentee registration
Gathering information on those who want to be a part of your mentoring program is crucial but can also take a lot of time. Here are some tools you can use to streamline the registration process.
Registration questionnaire template
It’s not always easy to collect relevant information from mentoring program participants. You need to know what type of questions to ask. Having a registration questionnaire template to draw from can reduce the amount of time to find meaningful questions.
These can include:
- What other professional disciplines do you have experience in?
- Which skills are your greatest strengths, and which you can mentor on?
- Which goals do you hope to achieve in this program?
We’ve outlined more questions you should ask participants when they join your mentoring program in this registration questionnaire template. The template includes 11 of the default questions all mentoring programs on Together’s platform include. These are the essentials, but many programs add their own questions as well.
Tools to survey employees
Surveying employees can lead to a goldmine of information to help you during the registration process. And it’s easy to use email, digital apps or survey platforms to create one while still protecting your employees' data security.
But with a mentoring platform like Together, you don’t need to search for additional tools. Our program simplifies the registration process with a built-in questionnaire that you can use to create a successful mentor-mentee match.
Tools and advice for matching mentors and mentees
The pairing process can be one of the most stressful for HR professionals overseeing a workplace mentoring program. There are different approaches you can take to match your mentors and mentees.
Together’s free mentorship matching platform
We taken our enterprise-level mentorship platform and distilled its core features down into a free pairing tool. With the free version, the platform takes the work out of manually matching mentors and mentees.
We understand that there are different styles of mentors. Our process seeks to match the characteristics of the mentee with a mentor that will challenge and engage them.
The best part is you can try it for free.
Using a spreadsheet as a mentoring program tool may seem like an easy option and a way to keep program costs low.
However, if your mentoring program has more than 25 participants or you hope to scale it, spreadsheets are not a practical way to match participants.
It will become a time-consuming administrative burden that will take away from your other responsibilities.
1-on-1 interviews and manual matching
Some mentoring program managers aim to conduct interviews with employees who want to participate. The matching is then done with gut instinct.
Unfortunately, this is not the best approach if you're going to create a successful mentoring program. One Canadian non-profit organization used this method only to find they couldn’t scale their program.
Tools for goal setting with mentors and mentees
Setting goals is crucial at the beginning of the mentorship to guide the relationship. There are some different ways that mentors and mentees can do this, such as:
A mentor and mentee should do 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 more evident. In the same way, identifying opportunities for growth and threats to the mentee’s development can help define the steps needed to achieve the goals.
Another approach is to have the mentor guide their mentee to create goals with the SMART technique. This means a goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive. The mentee should write down their goals and check to make sure it fits the SMART approach. These goals are easy to track and measure so the mentor and mentee can see the benefits of their mentorship.
Resources for a successful mentoring relationship
Cultivating a connection that leads to learning and growth isn’t easy. Rather than just throw your mentors and mentees in the water to see if they can swim, consider providing some resources they can use. At Together, we’ve created some valuable tools that mentoring program participants can use to build successful relationships. These include:
- Handbooks - These help mentors and mentors understand their roles and what is expected of them during the mentoring program.
- Meeting agendas - We have customizable agendas that participants can use for each meeting to help guide the process.
- Discussion questions - It can sometimes be difficult for mentors and mentees to get a conversation started or keep it going. That’s why we provide discussion questions that participants can use.
- Mentor training - preparing mentors for their roles is essential to help them understand how-to guide and develop their mentees.
Tools for surveying employees and measuring the mentorship program
Tracking the progress of your mentoring program involves collecting feedback from participants. It’s important to know what mentors and mentees say about their experiences. This information can be key to understanding what works and what doesn’t. It can also help you identify quickly where your mentoring program needs changes.
There are different tools you can use to survey employees and collect feedback. Some of the methods include:
- Sending email questions
- Using a survey platform or app
- Holding 1-on-1 interviews with participants
Together also offers built-in reporting and feedback tools, so you don’t need to look beyond our platform for what you need to build, launch, and manage your mentoring program. Our feedback tool allows you to customize the questions you want to ask participants.
Tools for scheduling mentoring meetings
Together makes managing a mentoring program easier. We also aim to assist mentors, and mentees get the most from the experience.
One of the ways we do that is to help participants schedule their sessions. Our platform integrates with employee calendars, so they don’t need to search for other software tools.
This feature also lets the program administrator know if mentees and mentors meet regularly. It can tip you off to a potential mismatch if participants are not holding sessions.
Starting a mentoring program at your organization can be one of the best things for your employees and company. But getting it off the ground can take time and effort. Employing the right tools can help ease the burden for program administrators at critical points in the program, such as registration, mentoring matching, and reporting.
Together’s platform offers valuable tools that can streamline pulling a mentoring program off and make it easier for HR professionals to build a successful mentoring program.