In order to retain talent in today’s competitive job market, companies realize they must better engage employees and provide meaningful career development opportunities. To accomplish this, mentoring programs are once again increasing in popularity within corporations.
Traditional mentoring has transformed into many styles and uses. Mentoring programs exist to help junior employees become acquainted with their job roles and organization, help train and develop existing employees, and prepare tomorrow’s leaders all while increasing overall job satisfaction and performance.
Many organizations are turning to software to help harness that vital human connection for creating effective mentoring programs. Software can help administrators start, manage, and measure their internal mentoring programs, all while making the program fun and engaging for participants. Here are five ways in which software can help make your talent development program more successful.
1. Software platforms engage users and improve program participation
Often manual mentoring programs fail because the actual mentoring takes place too infrequently. Using a software platform gives participants a variety of tools and resources to encourage participants to communicate more often. Software offers interaction options including messaging, emailing and video conferencing—even from mobile devices. Participants can connect anywhere, anytime at their convenience.
Participants within online mentoring programs also create user profiles, similar to any social media platform. Investing personal time and information helps make better matches and participants feel more connected and engaged.
Additionally, organizations have the ability to extend the value of the mentoring program by offering a “community layer,” and encouraging users to reach out to other members of their community for help or guidance on any number of topics. In other words, software can help foster a culture of “engaged mentoring.”
2. Mentoring software improves efficiency and saves you money
Are you using Word or Excel to monitor your mentoring program? If so, you’re missing a big opportunity for greater efficiency. Manual entry of data is not only incredibly time consuming, it also increases the risk of making mistakes.
Using a software platform designed specifically for mentoring improves efficiency and better tracks your employees’ information and progress. Mentoring software has built in features to help with the following:
- match mentors and protégés
- encourage them to communicate
- report on progress
- perform administrative tasks.
Basically, software can help eliminate the time you would have had to spend plugging in data and assessing raw data, thereby saving you time and money.
3. The right people are matched together
In manual mentoring programs employees are often matched with mentors based on limited information and without understanding their development goals and needs. This creates a significant number of mismatches. When an employee feels as if his or her needs aren’t being met through the mentoring relationship, they will not resist engaging in the mentoring process.
Software platforms have the capability to create detailed profiles of users quickly. Administrators can gather the right data to make high quality matches based on needs and expertise as well compatibility factors such as shared interests. Mentors and mentees who are highly compatible with one another are more likely to build a strong working relationship and accomplish greater results—faster—from their mentoring relationship.
4. Best practices are built into leading software to lessen the risk of failure
Although the mentoring process continues to be one of the best ways to facilitate the transfer of knowledge, expertise, skills, and insight, administrators everywhere are spending unnecessary time “reinventing the wheel” on mentoring programs. Today software platforms wrap up market-proven best practices from successful mentoring programs.
Whether your company needs help developing a recruiting strategy, matching mentors and mentees, or facilitating the program and participants in an efficient way, any leading software program will have those building blocks built in from the start to get you and your program off the ground faster.
5. You will have the ability to assess the program’s performance at any stage
In the talent development field, it’s incredibly important to know that your mentoring practices are working. In a manual mentoring program, it is often difficult to assess your program’s strengths and weaknesses until the end of the mentoring relationship. Even then, the program’s administrators may only have a general idea of whether or not the program was successful.
Software programs offer built-in, quantifiable metrics for all stages of the mentoring relationship, adding a real-time layer of transparency. The program’s facilitators have the ability to administer surveys to users to establish what’s working and what needs to be changed. This enables smarter, faster decision making in driving your mentoring program’s success. Finally, software enables you generate reports so that you can share the proof of success with other key decision makers in your organization.
Bottom line: In today’s data-driven, fast-paced business world, talent development programs must deliver clear results. With manually run mentoring programs, it very difficult to achieve the reach, efficiency and insight to demonstrate success. Software-enabled mentoring programs increase participant engagement, improve program management efficiency, drive productive mentoring and provide the necessary deep insight into program performance to measure the return on investment.