Why Should I Measure My Mentoring Program?July 10, 2014
Mentoring Success Measurements
Mentoring is a very human development method – and that’s definitely part of the beauty of it. One of the reasons mentoring tends to work as well as it does within organizations is precisely because it’s individual-to-individual, and facilitates conversations and connections between employees.
These conversations and connections mean a few really great things for the organization, among them stronger bonds between and across teams, a greater wealth of shared knowledge, and more developed people overall.
However, the flipside to the “humanness” of using mentoring as a developmental method is the subjectivity that comes along with it. This presents a challenge.
A mentee might think that they have achieved their goal, but their mentor may not agree. Or a mentee’s manager may not see the development they were hoping for or expected to see, and not agree that the mentee’s goal was reached. Or leadership may disagree that the mentoring program as a whole met its organizational objectives.
All of this translates into bad sentiments all around, bad word of mouth within the organization, and the dwindling possibility that your mentoring program will grow and thrive the way you want it to. That's where mentoring success measurements come into the picture.
There’s a balance between encouraging that person-to-person interaction and development, and being strategic. No matter where you are with regards to planning, implementing, or running your mentoring program now, ask yourself the following questions about your mentoring success measurements:
- If there’s a dispute with leadership or management, how will I prove what objectives were agreed upon in the first place?
- How will I prove that goals and objectives were met?
- How will I prove the success of my program overall?
40% of Mentoring Program Managers Don't Know How Successful Their Program Is
At our webinar “How to Make Your Mentoring Program a Success,” a staggering 40% of attendees reported that they didn’t know how successful their last mentoring program was – because they hadn’t measured it.
This was by far the leading answer, far ahead of 28% of respondents who said that their program was “Somewhat Successful” and 22% who said that their program was “Mostly Successful”.
That 40% who reported they didn’t know if their program was successful or not is really quite alarming considering that without the ability to record objectives, measure results, and provide transparency about both objectives and results to all stakeholders, your program will be hindered by doubt, lack of information, and potentially your inability to prove why you should keep your funding.
Reporting for mentoring success comes down to three things:
- 1. Recording mentoring goals, objectives, and progress. Administrators record organizational goals and objectives set by leadership. Mentors and mentees record how often they’ve met, their learning agreement, individual learning goals, and activities, and their progress toward these goals.
- 2. Measuring mentoring success and spotting problems. Administrators track and report on overall progress toward the organizational goals, and spots potential problems as they occur. Problems can crop up at the partnership level, or overall. Noting inconsistent or infrequent meetings, or little to no progress toward learning goals are a big red flag no matter whether they’re occurring in just one partnership, or across the entire program.
- 3. Adjusting the mentoring program and resolving conflicts where needed. Spotting these red flags allows administrators to take care of problems before they spread further and get the partnership and/or entire program back on track.
Ultimately, all of this allows for transparency in mentoring programs – and don’t underestimate the importance of transparency at all levels.
Transparency not only keeps everyone on the same page and prevents major disagreements from coming up – it also helps keep everyone accountable. Mentors and mentees are held accountable for their own development, administrators are kept accountable for supporting the program, and leadership is kept accountable for the initial goals and objectives that were set at the very beginning of the program.
That 40% of people who self-reported that they didn’t know how successful their mentoring programs were because they weren’t able report? Their issue goes far deeper than simply being unable to prove their success. The overarching issue is that they are hindering themselves from being successful in the first place – and they aren’t acknowledging it.
So Why Should I Measure My Mentoring Program?
Not convinced yet? To sum it all up, here are four good reasons to report on your mentoring program.
- 1. Keep your funding year to year. Presumably, you will need to report to your manager what occurred in your mentoring program, and what occurred as a result of it in the organization in terms of development, promotion, recognition, etc. – even if you haven’t tied your mentoring program to organizational objectives (which we strongly recommend you do!) Set yourself up for success from the get-go.
- 2. Keep all your stakeholders happy and prevent disputes. When it comes to what has been accomplished, why it was accomplished, and what the purpose of your mentoring program is in terms of your organization’s goals and growth, you never want any of your stakeholders to be in doubt. This includes all participants, managers, administrators, and leadership. At the first whiff of purposelessness in any initiative, productivity tends to go down. Don’t let this happen to your program.
- 3. Encourage momentum and good word of mouth. The better experience your participants have in your program, the more likely they are to not only volunteer to be part of future programs, but spread their excitement to their friends and colleagues at the organization. That means more willing mentors and mentees, and program growth from cycle to cycle.
- 4. Develop a mentoring culture. The more infectious your participants’ excitement, the more mentoring becomes a part of the very culture of your organization. And even if this is informal mentoring and goes unmeasured, your organization is still all the better off for it.