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Since the pandemic, mentorship programs have really gathered momentum in organizations. The benefits of mentoring are numerous and affect several key aspects of an organization’s operations, such as a reduced turnover rate, increased promotion rates, increased employee satisfaction, knowledge transfer, etc. It is therefore not without reason that virtual mentoring programs are popular with leaders who wish to invest in strategies that will have a positive impact on their entire organization. This article, created by Elo’s co-founder and mentoring expert, Catherine Légaré, Ph.D., presents the essential elements for the successful implementation of your mentorship program.
What you’ll learn in this article:
→ What is mentoring?
→ Why launch a mentorship program in the time of COVID-19?
→ Steps for implementing a mentoring program
→ Conditions for the success of a virtual mentorship program
→ Questions to ask yourself before choosing a mentoring program
→ Start a Virtual Mentoring Program with the Elo Mentoring Platform
Mentoring is defined by Mentorat Québec as a means of development and learning, based on a voluntary, free, and confidential interpersonal relationship, in which an experienced person (the mentor) invests their acquired wisdom and expertise to foster the development of another person’s (the mentee’s) skills and abilities. The mentee then develops their confidence, aptitudes and chances of success in achieving personal and professional goals.
The benefits of a mentoring program in times of pandemic :
As we continue to navigate the pandemic, virtual mentoring programs offer the opportunity for your employees to benefit from customized and continuous support when they feel the need. Thus, a virtual mentoring program allows your team to create and maintain meaningful human connections with other professionals who understand their daily reality and issues.
When you start your virtual mentorship program, having clear goals will help you define your expectations, and therefore easily measure its performance. This will make it easier for you to recruit your participants and manage their expectations.
Examples of Mentoring Program Objectives:
To maximize the benefits of mentoring for your organization and colleagues, the willingness to offer a mentoring program must be part of your corporate culture. With the involvement of senior management, it will be easier to deploy and promote mentoring within your organization. This involvement goes beyond allocating resources to operate a program. Management must promote and value mentoring as a development practice that is encouraged in the company.
How to involve management:
To ensure the success of your mentoring program, you must, of course, promote it to future participants using a variety of tools adapted to your target audience. As far as the recruitment of mentors is concerned, do not hesitate to individually solicit people who will become ambassadors of the mentoring program.
People you consider good role models and who naturally inspire others to action. These ambassadors, through their involvement, would set the tone for your mentoring program.
Examples of means of promotion:
Research suggests that without training, only 30% of mentoring relationships are successful. Therefore, it is recommended that participants be given all the tools they need to fully and comfortably live the mentoring experience. With training, this success rate increases to 66%. That’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? Ideally, training is done before the match and continues throughout the mentoring experience.
Some examples of themes for training your mentors and mentees:
Once you have a list of interested mentors and mentees, one of the most critical steps is pairing mentors and mentees. Pairing is based on the development needs of mentees and your program goals. For example, to develop innovation in your organization, reverse mentoring (where the mentor is younger than the mentee) can be an interesting solution to create dyads with different backgrounds. Other situations may call for a match between people with similar backgrounds. Some mentorship programs and platforms, however, give freedom to mentees by allowing them to choose their mentor themselves.
Tips for successful matches:
Mentoring is voluntary, for both the mentor and the mentee. Highlighting their participation within your program gives visibility to their involvement in this unifying project. In addition to being rewarding for the participants, this recognition of these individuals could even encourage other employees to sign up for the mentoring program.
Examples of ways to recognize your employees’ participation:
Evaluating your program ensures that you offer a mentoring program that meets the needs of your employees and your organization. To effectively measure the performance of a mentoring program, it is recommended that you establish performance indicators (PIs) that will be used to measure the success of your initiative.
Most programs conduct this evaluation with a survey to measure learning, participant satisfaction, or career impact, depending on the program objective. If your mentoring program is virtual, you can track data in real-time and adjust the program accordingly quickly and effectively if needed.
Examples of performance indicators:
Mentoring expert Catherine Légaré shares with you the conditions for a successful mentorship program.
During the current environment of the pandemic, technology allows you to maintain your mentoring activities in a remote setting, all while lightening the workload associated with managing a mentoring program. Indeed, the use of technology allows you to automate certain follow-up tasks. Whether you want to make intelligent matches using algorithms, or easily work with your program’s participation data, there are mentoring platforms and software to simplify the deployment and management of your mentoring program.
In addition, technology also facilitates the networking of mentors and mentees (think LinkedIn!), promotes more equal relationships, autonomy, personalized and immediate (or almost immediate) response to needs. In addition, technology helps to expand the opportunities for mentor-mentee matching by allowing participants to interact with individuals who are not in close proximity. Say hello to modern mentoring and make your life easier!
The coordinator is the person in charge of the mentoring program in an organization. This person may have several responsibilities.
The most common responsibilities of the Program Coordinator:
The role of this person and the level of his or her involvement depend greatly on the structure of the mentoring program. An informal program will require less management, while a structured, formal program will require more involvement. To give you an idea, according to a survey of Elo Mentoring Platform program coordinators, there is a strong correlation between the amount of time spent managing the program and the number of participants enrolled. This varies from less than one hour per week for a mentoring program with 25 participants to up to 2 days per week for a program with 500 participants. Once again, technology helps to greatly simplify the management of the mentoring program, saving valuable time.
Before promoting mentoring within your organization, piloting your mentoring program gives you an opportunity to measure its performance. Lasting from 6 months to 1 year, the pilot must reach a sufficient number of people in order to gain a variety of perspectives on the benefits experienced, the course of the relationship, the pitfalls encountered, etc.
There are now several types of digital solutions available for mentoring. The first challenge is to identify the mentoring platforms on the market. It is important to ask the right questions about new mentoring technologies in order to make the right choice.
Questions to ask yourself before looking for a digital solution:
Interested in starting a virtual mentoring program? Discover Elo, the turnkey mentoring platform that allows organizations to easily launch and manage a mentoring program. With more than 20 years of experience in the world of mentoring, our experts are there to help you every step of the way in setting up your program. In addition, program coordinators, mentors and mentees benefit from personalized coaching.