It’s tumultuous times for technology companies, especially in times of layoffs like those experienced during 2023. In this year alone, we have seen over 500 tech companies lay off over 148,000 employees in light of recent global turmoil.
During periods of uncertainty and change, tech employees can feel disoriented and can struggle to maintain motivation and focus. For a technology company, having mentors who provide guidance and support to employees can help them navigate these challenges and maintain a sense of direction.
- New hires can benefit from a mentor to help them understand the company’s culture and expectations, while
- middle managers can use a mentor to improve their leadership and management skills.
- Highly skilled employees can also benefit from a mentor to help them reach their full potential.
There are seven key steps you can take to successfully implement a Together mentorship program within your tech organization, so let’s take a look.
Why do you want to start a mentoring program?
It’s arguably more important than ever for tech organizations to ensure all of their employees feel supported and connected, both to the company and to their peers.
Mentoring is an effective tool for developing an organization’s talent and can be used to foster collaboration and the exchange of knowledge between employees.
The technology sector is unique in that it is high-paced and dynamic, and having a mentorship program in place allows for knowledge transfer between experienced employees and those who are newer to the company or the industry.
This can help to mitigate the negative impact of layoffs by ensuring that important institutional knowledge is preserved and passed on to the next generation of employees.
Some of the use cases for mentorship programs in the technology sector commonly include:
- Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion by providing all staff members, regardless of background, with the opportunity to understand their roles and advance in their careers.
- Supporting professional development, allowing employees to gain new skills, boost their confidence, and build stronger relationships. Cruise Automation, for example, leverages engineering mentoring programs to train new talent on key technologies.
- Facilitating leadership training and equipping staff members with the necessary skills to lead teams effectively.
- Providing career advice, such as guidance on job opportunities, resume and cover letter writing, and interview technique mastery.
- Increasing retention by instilling a sense of community and belonging in employees, which encourages them to stay with the organization. NetApp, for example, runs intern mentoring programs that help early professionals find their place at NetApp. Their programs build a solid pipeline of future talent.
- Increasing workplace well-being by assisting employees in dealing with stress and overcoming obstacles.
It is important to note that not all use cases are relevant to every industry.
Given the technology sector is so unique in this regard, having an idea of what you're trying to achieve will help you to structure your program.
Once, you have an idea for the goal of your program, follow the below seven steps to establish your organization’s mentorship program and tailor it to your company's needs.
Step 1: Decide on a 1-on-1 or Group program
At Together, we offer support programs for mentorship based on the individual needs of your organization. We've built two options that can be further customized from which you can choose – 1 on 1 pairings, and group programs.
One-on-one mentorship programs can be highly effective for individualized learning and growth. The mentor can provide tailored guidance, feedback, and support to the mentee, addressing specific strengths and weaknesses.
This can be especially valuable for mentees who are seeking to develop specialized skills or expertise in a particular area. 1 on 1 mentorship can be facilitated by a senior member or from within a peer group.
Group mentorship programs, on the other hand, offer the benefit of shared learning experiences and a sense of community. In this format, the mentor works with multiple mentees who are often at similar stages in their careers.
Group mentorship programs can provide a more collaborative and dynamic learning environment, where participants can share ideas, provide feedback to one another, and build a network of professional contacts.
These group programs are optimal for where tech companies require group onboarding for short-term projects such as database integrations or system migrations.
Choose the best program suited to your organization's requirements within the Together platform like so:
The screenshot below shows the 'Pairing Format' page.
Step 2: Decide on a Cohort or Evergreen program
Together has two distinct program categories – Cohort and Evergreen. It is important to understand the distinction between the two and make a choice based on the needs of your organization:
A cohort mentorship program has a set start and end date and consists of a specific group of mentees and mentors who work together. In tech companies, this type of program is frequently used for specific initiatives or projects, such as launching a new product or preparing for a conference.
Cohort programs can be particularly useful for system implementation projects, or system upgrades that have a defined timespan.
Cohort programs are ideal for addressing short-term goals because they are structured and time-limited.
An evergreen mentorship program, on the other hand, is one that is ongoing and has no set end date. Mentees and mentors can join and leave an evergreen program at any time.
This type of program is frequently used in technology companies because it can accommodate the industry's fast-paced and ever-changing nature.
Evergreen programs are more adaptable and allow for ongoing mentorship relationships, whereas cohort programs are more structured and time-bound.
The choice between them is determined by the tech company's specific needs and goals. Once you have ascertained which program is best for your company, you can select it as part of the Together workflow process.
Step 3: Name your program and add details
Naming your mentorship program may seem like a simple task, however, it’s actually crucial that you give time to construct a meaningful and relevant title for several reasons.
To begin with, a memorable name can help to attract and engage potential participants, generating interest and excitement in the program. A memorable and catchy name can help the program stand out from the crowd and communicate its value to employees.
Second, a well-named mentorship program can contribute to the company's positive brand image. A successful program can demonstrate the company's dedication to employee development and support, increasing employee satisfaction and retention.
Some great examples of what you could potentially name your tech company mentorship programs are:
- The TechWise Initiative
- The Spark Program
These names emphasize technology and innovation while also conveying a sense of growth, development, and support. They are memorable and distinct, emphasizing the advantages of participating in the program.
Finally, a good mentorship program name should reflect the company's goals and values while also attracting the attention and interest of potential participants.
Enter your preferred name and a brief description into the Together platform. That way, when participants go to register, they will see this, which will inform them of the program's purpose, who it is for, and what to expect.
Step 4: Configure the registration questionnaire and matching rules
Together has developed a platform that streamlines the administrative work and manages the pairing process automatically, and utilizes a unique and powerful algorithm to make this process as smooth as possible.
To begin designing your mentorship program, participants will need to answer a set of questions during the registration process. These questions are fundamental to your program as they are used by the algorithm to match mentors and mentees.
While most questions are already provided, you can customize them to fit your organization's unique requirements, providing a tailored and personalized approach. For a technology company, for example, you may wish to add questions pertaining to specific departments and roles, development and production, and so on.
Examples of registration questions include:
- How many years of experience do you have in the tech industry?
- What skills do you believe are necessary for success in the technology industry?
- Would you prefer to mentor remotely or in person?
- Which part of the business are you most interested in learning about?
- What are your goals in pursuing mentorship?
- What skills or areas do you feel you need to improve to achieve your career goals?
- How much time are you able to commit to mentoring sessions?
You can choose which questions are used for matching and which are for informational purposes only.
The Together questions and matching process also allows participants to fill in their own questions or pre-fill with information from existing human resource information systems, further streamlining the process.
Step 5: Prepare your program for launch
Once you have made decisions based on your organizational requirements and configured the registration questionnaire, you’re almost ready for launch.
Before you launch, however, there are a few small administrative tasks to complete. Once completed, there will be little in the way of administrative overhead of the programs, so let’s dive right in.
Review email notifications
Throughout the program, participants will receive updates and notifications. Together has implemented a customization process to allow your company to personalize these emails with branding and wording using email templates.
If you need to send customized welcome emails, progress notifications and meeting requests then Together has you covered. Download our email templates, and take a look.
Set rules for who can participate in your program
In the technology sector, you know all too well that access control is everything, and while occasionally an organization may wish to provide a global or company-wide mentorship program, more often than not, you will need to set rules based on eligibility to access the programs.
The rule definitions can be accessed in the Program Access on the Registration page and can be applied to users, mentors, and mentees.
At Together, we understand that technology companies typically have a wide range of crucial software platforms and applications for communication, active directory, and collaboration. The Together platform offers a range of integrative options to allow the mentorship programs to run seamlessly with your existing infrastructure.
You can choose from an extensive range of platform integrations such as:
- SSO federation with SOC 2 certified SAML and Azure Support
- Google Workspace Applications – Docs, Gmail, Meet and Calendar
- Microsoft Suite – Outlook, Teams
- SAP – SuccessFactors
- HRIS – Oracle, UKG, bambooHR, and more
- Collaboration and Video Conferencing – Zoom, Slack
Integrations can be configured through our simple Integrations page within the platform.
Set up the pairing process
Before you go live, Together provides a pairing process to be performed after the registration of the participants.
The report contains very useful information such as registered participants, mentor availability, and helpful information such as ratios of mentees to mentors.
Upon viewing the generated report, you will have a better understanding of your organization's capacity to launch the mentorship program and make any final adjustments.
Review program content
The final step, before you’re ready to launch, is to review the contents of your mentorship program.
Within the Together platform, you can navigate through your program subject matter on the content page.
Here you will see three main tabs of content: Resources, Agendas, and Tasks. Let’s take a look at each in more detail:
You can find a variety of pre-added LinkedIn Learning courses, Together handbooks, blogs, and articles here.
Select which to remove and add your own using the Add Resource button.
Your Agendas are the programs that you create for pairs to follow during their sessions.
You can add, edit, and delete agendas on the Agendas page based on the trajectory you want pairs to follow.
After making changes, always click Publish.
You can add tasks for mentors and mentees to complete after being paired on this page.
Some tasks, such as 'Book your next session,' are automatically added, but you can also add tasks and choose who sees them.
Reviewed your content and pairings? Congratulations! You’re ready to launch.
Step 6: Launch pairing
Once you’re ready to launch, all that is left to do now is Turn on Pairing and allow the Together algorithm to automatically create pairings based on the variables you set in the previous steps. You can begin inviting participants at this point, however, you will need to choose a pairing option.
Within the Together platform, navigate to the pairing page where you will be presented with two options:
- Admin-Led Pairing – You can go through a list of users and assign pairing based on suggestions from the Together platform.
- User-Led Pairing – This allows the users to submit various preferences and actually choose a pairing option. These can be auto-approved or reviewed manually at any point.
At any stage of the pairing process, the Together platform allows you to Turn off Pairing and pause or halt the process. Turning off pairing can be initiated by navigating to Pairing and select Turn Off Pairing
Emails to participants are not sent out as a workflow of the pairing process – rather, the Together platform creates draft emails of the selection process and no notifications are sent unless you explicitly choose to do so. This includes pairings that are conducted manually.
Step 7: Monitor and report on your program
After you have launched your Together mentorship program, you may be curious as to the outcomes and participation capacity of both your mentees and mentors. Reporting is a very important facet of any mentorship program and can determine your rates of success and what is, and isn’t working.
Together has you covered – the platform includes multiple in-depth and helpful reports to allow you to tweak the process on the fly. Let’s have a look at the reporting options and what data is generated:
- Session Report – If you navigate to Reports > Session Report you can view the number of complete and incomplete sessions as well as participant rates. The section also includes feedback scores represented visually in charts and graphs, allowing you to see a snapshot of user participation.
- Registration Report – This report, located in Reports > Registration Report, summarizes the number of registrants, as well as the Registrations per day. Again the data is represented visually in graphs and tables and allows you to break down and view responses from questionnaires provided by both mentors and mentees.
- Pairing Report – Navigating to Reports > Pairing Report allows you to see present and past pairing matches. This information is particularly relevant for your technology company as the differences between departments are often vast and completely non-interrelated. For instance, pairing reports allow you to ensure that a senior mentor from the infrastructure team is not being paired with a mentee from the application development team. Armed with this knowledge, you can ensure that all pairings are meaningful and relevant to your organization.
- Skills and Goals Report – This report can be found in Reports > Skills and Goals Report and provides an overview of the top skills and goals of the mentee and mentor throughout the program.
Regularly viewing and gleaning information from reporting is an important part of the tweaking process and ensures that your mentorship programs are providing the best experience for all participants.
Congratulations! Your team is fully equipped to launch a highly successful mentorship program specifically tailored for technology companies. With our top-of-the-line tools and resources, you have everything you need to create, track, and report on the progress of your program.
Rest assured, if any bumps in the road arise, you have the flexibility to make necessary adjustments until your program is optimized for maximum success. Our expert team is also available to provide valuable guidance, support, and additional resources as needed.
Get started and book a demo with us today!