Criteria for Matching Mentors and Mentees for Career Development

July 18, 2019
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Career development is no longer an optional benefit for you to offer. Your employees are demanding it, especially your millennials. In fact, 87% of millennials say career development opportunities are an important factor when choosing an organization.

A great way to satisfy this need for career development is through mentoring. However, this will require some thought. When starting a mentoring program, a specific area you should focus on is the mentor matching process. It is a crucial step that can make or break your career development mentoring program.

They key to a good match is determining criteria for both participants based on the business objectives. Good business objectives that will satisfy your career development goals will set your mentoring program up for success. They should be determined early in your career development plan.

The criteria you pull from these objectives should focus on the right skills and competencies. Optimizing these will create more successful mentor matches. Here are some criteria for matching a mentor and mentee for career development to consider. 

Need for mentoring

One of the first things to consider when creating mentor matches for career development is need. Your mentors and mentees should both need and want to participate in your career development program. They should also be willing to participate at a high level and for the required time.

You should choose mentees that are high potential individuals looking to further themselves. These employees will invest in their future with the company and acquire the skills needed to climb the corporate ladder. These particular career development mentorships should focus on leadership mentoring.

The mentors should have an advancement mindset for the organization. They need to buy into the program and invest in their mentees fully. This will allow for everyone to be on the same page in regard to goals of the program.

Commitment

In order to elevate the career development for their mentees, your mentors need to have ample availability for the mentee. This includes a few hours a month for sessions, as well as a willingness to help the mentee outside of the formal mentorship.

To make the most of mentor meetings, the mentor needs to be an active listener and give helpful advice. They should also constantly consider the career development goals of the organization.

Credibility and skills

Good mentor matches should have mentors with a firm foundation in the company to establish credibility. They need to be in a field relevant to the career the mentee is looking to develop. They also need to be qualified in both the hard and the soft skills required to help the mentee develop.

However, good mentor matches require capabilities beyond these skills. Great knowledge bases don’t always indicate great mentors. Matching a mentor with a mentee for career development involves mentors with good communication and interpersonal skills as well.

Similar function in the organization

The mentor needs to have a function in the organization that the mentee needs development in to facilitate career development. It is advisable that the two are in the same field so that the knowledge transfer can be understood.

For example, a mentee in the marketing department that needs to develop skills in online engagement should not be matched with a mentor in finance. Similar departments and roles give the mentee a long-term relationship with a mentor they will likely continue working with.

Matching by career level

The mentee needs to be paired with a mentor that is at a higher career level, especially for career development. A mentor in a higher career level allows the mentee to “look up” to the mentor, and it establishes some credibility from the beginning.

Additionally, the mentor has been where the mentee is. This indicates that they have the competencies needed to move up. They know what the mentee needs to develop their careers in the right way. This knowledge and experience make employees in higher career levels optimal mentor matches.

If a mentor and mentee are not properly matched from the beginning, it can be a waste of time for everyone involved. One way to ensure a great match between mentor and mentee is to invest in mentoring software.

Mentoring software helps you implement your criteria for matching a mentor and mentee for career development. It can optimize your entire program and make it easily manageable for the program admins.

Insala specializes in mentoring software that will allow the mentee to choose his or her mentor based on their profile and proficiency. For more information on mentor matching technology, contact Insala today to schedule a demo

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