[WEBINAR] 7 Tips to Get Mentors and Mentees to Make Time for Mentoring

Join us Thursday, November 20 at 11am EST / 4pm GMT for a presentation of 7 strategies that will help you ensure that your mentors and mentees not only commit time for mentoring into their schedules - but also stick to that time commitment.

How to Engage Your Corporate Alumni Community

Engaging corporate alumni communities can be tricky because you’re working with a truly multigenerational community. Read for some of our best practices.

The Top 6 Reasons to Start Your Corporate Alumni Programme

It's no longer a theoretical concept - and it can improve your entire business.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Improving Your Talent Development Program with Analytics

The second way using talent development program analytics can benefit you is by improving the strength and efficiency of your talent development program by:
  • Proving whether or not it’s successful
  • Determining why and where it’s not successful
  • Providing context for how and which adjustments should be made.

A lot of this will come down to running reports, and ordering and analyzing the data from there. Here are just a few examples of ways you might do that:

  • Who’s logging their activities? Run a report within the first 30 days to make sure everyone has logged at least their first set of goals so that you can pinpoint who you need to reach out to in order to encourage them to take action. 
  • What is the goal percentage completion for employees in the program? Run this report periodically to ensure that employees are not only continuing to log their goals, but are making progress toward them. This will allow you to actually see the effects of your talent development program. 
  • What does activity look like in a particular department or region? Knowing this will help you focus a campaign to encourage activity.
  • How are employees using the software? Knowing how employees are or are not using your software can help you optimize it so that they are more active in it, and therefore more likely to log goals and actions. 
  • If I’m doing a self-directed career development program, do I need to introduce or reintroduce the manager assessment level?  The only way to determine this is to hold individual employees accountable for documenting their actions, goals, and information. 
Again, it ultimately is a matter of comparing before and after, which is why it’s necessary to ensure that your reports and your reports’ schedules are consistent.

Read other posts in this series by Trinity Hill:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Developing People with Talent Development Program Analytics

There are three main ways using analytics for your talent development program can benefit you. The first way is that it helps you better develop your people.

This goes back to the steps I discussed previously about using quantitative measures with qualitative measures to back them up. This happens practically by making a career development plan based on 360 degree assessment of an employee’s skills, gaps, strengths, and weaknesses, and following up with another round or two of 360 degree assessments.

How-To Talent Development Program Analytics

The quantitative part measures how much of a change happened, and is critical for proving ROI of your program. However, as you can see in the example step-by-step below, the bulk of it is really in obtaining and collating the qualitative data:

  1. Employees iterate what level they feel their knowledge or skills are at and where the gaps are.
  2. Managers and/or colleagues identify each individual employee's strengths and weaknesses with assessments.
  3. Develop a career development plan based on this information, and determine which success metrics you’ll use.
  4. Reassess employees, managers, and/or colleagues after the employee’s development plan has been completed to compare before and after. 
  5. Collate the data and measure the change.
  6. 6 months to a year after the program’s end, reassess one more time to examine how the employee has used the skills they learned during the program, and how they have potentially moved in the organization as a result of putting those skills to practice. 
  7. Collate the data and measure the change.

Of course, these steps can be used outside of a targeted program too, as part of a broader self-directed career development or general HR initiative, by removing the 360 degree element. The only drawback is that you sacrifice objectivity and allow your employees to develop their own development plans and action items based on their subjective understanding of themselves… and there’s usually a pretty significant gap between the way we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us. However, fewer assessments means easier qualitative assessment because there’s less data to deal with.

So it really depends on how accurate you and your management want to be. But as long as you work this out with them beforehand, along with your success measurements, you should be good to go as far as determining the details of the rest of the program.

Read other posts in this series by Trinity Hill:

1. Talent Analytics and Your Talent Development Program
2. How Can I Use Talent Development Program Analytics?
4. Improving Your Talent Development Program with Analytics
5. Improving Your Overall Business with Talent Development Analytics

Monday, December 1, 2014

How Can I Use Talent Development Program Analytics?

Once you have your talent development program data and a way to manipulate it, it comes down to a three step process:
  1. Segmenting different groups of your talent development program(s) – by activities, dates, location, competencies, etc. – or any combination thereof.
  2. Communicating to those segments to promote specific actions – such as career development activities in your portal or outside of it. 
  3. Testing – Compare your before and after reports to see if there’s been a positive change.
But the bulk of the work isn’t in #1 or #3.

Surprisingly (or not), it’s in #2 – communicating. If you want to facilitate change, you have to make it happen, and that happens by giving employees a defined path and clearly communicating your expectations.

Context Is Everything

We tend to focus our program analytics conversations pretty heavily around two kinds of measurement: qualitative and quantitative. Both are necessary to measure your talent development program’s success.

Ideally, you’ll be starting out with qualitative analysis and bringing quantitative measurements of what learning/development has achieved behind it to support and prove your results. The two keep each other in balance and reinforce each other’s accuracy.

However, when you’re doing your qualitative assessment, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have 360 degree element, so that you’re not basing your assessment of the situation only on what the employee believes are their skills, competencies, and gaps.

Just as important, you shouldn’t base your findings completely on data in your software without speaking to your employees. Context is everything. Problems only really start cropping up when there’s just not enough communication between HR and employees to make employees aware of what’s going on, what’s available to them, what they can do down the line, and how they personally are on a trajectory to be developed.

In short, for a successful talent development program do the following: Be transparent. Communicate. Measure and test.

Read other posts in this series by Trinity Hill:

1. Talent Analytics and Your Talent Development Program
3. Developing People with Talent Development Analytics
4. Improving Your Talent Development Program with Analytics
5. Improving Your Overall Business with Talent Development Analytics

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Talent Analytics and Your Talent Development Programs

Data-Driven Talent Development Requires Two Things

When used correctly, talent analytics help you target problems and/or opportunities, act on them, and measure what the effect of those actions.

That’s it. Even when you apply it to something as niche as a talent development program, it’s still the same formula.

Your talent analytics can be as simple or as robust as you want them to be. However, it’s worth reminding ourselves that technology is only as intelligent as what we put into it, and how we use it.

There are two parts to that. You must ensure that:

  1. Correct data gets put into your technology for you to measure and use.
  2. You’re using the technology in a way that gives you meaningful and usable information. 

No Fear Data Capture

The good news for you is that there’s been a revolution in obtaining and entering employee data in the last several years. Employees now have the ability to enter their own accurate data instead of hiring a bunch of data entry people from hard copies with probable errors. The battle is how you get employees to keep that data up to date.

While you can’t force them keep their data accurate, you can incentivize them. Make sure they get something out of giving you their data. Just determine which information is critical for you and determine in context how you can incentivize them to give you that data, or confirm it, on a regular basis.

If you’re integrating with other functions – for example, an alumni program, a CRM, etc. – consider also what information is critical for them.

Keep It Simple

I know what you’re thinking: you don’t have the time, skill, or data scientists to pick through and analyze all this data.

Don’t worry: you don’t need special training. It all comes down to how you plan - and to a lesser degree, what tools you have.

Just remember that simpler is always better. Set your objectives, pick your metrics, and then don’t stray from them. You won’t just do a dump of all the data entered into your software. At the beginning of your talent development program, you’ll set your objective(s), and then your success measurements. From there, you should know exactly which data points you need to be measuring.  

Read other posts in this series by Trinity Hill:
5. Improving Your Overall Business with Talent Development Analytics               

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Announcing Insala's First Corporate Alumni Leaders Event!

Insala is pleased to announce we will be holding our first Alumni Leaders Event on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 in London! And we want everyone to join in the conversation - whether you're just discovering the power of corporate alumni programs, have had a corporate alumni program for a while, or are somewhere in between.

We'll be tweeting under the hashtag #CorpAlumniLeaders, so be sure to either watch the Twitter feed at the right for updates or keep an eye out for us on Twitter.

We believe in the power of corporate alumni programs to transform organizations and the HR space, and because we do, we want everyone to join in the conversation. Everyone's perspective is valuable, because everyone is an alum of something - we all represent our organizations past and present.

Spread the word! Use the share buttons below! Let's make this conversation go viral! It's one we can't afford not to have anymore.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mentoring for New Hires [Resource Collection]

Onboarding is a crucial time for new hires and the organization - will the relationship work, or won't it? How you bring new hires on board has a lot to do with how quickly they get up to speed in their job, how well they integrate with your company culture, and how long they stay with your organization.

Mentoring is a natural complement to onboarding processes - and here's why.

Quick Stats: State of the New Hire

With the economy in an upswing, people are feeling secure enough to actively seek jobs as well as leave the jobs that, for one reason or another, they don’t feel are good fits for them anymore. While this has several different ramifications, from to recruitment to talent retention to knowledge retention, let’s focus for the moment on just one thing: new hires. Here’s some research on the current state of the new hire. Read more.

How Does Mentoring During Onboarding Support New Hires?

Context is important. Your new hires don’t know the culture of your organization because they haven’t become a part of it – yet. Because of this, there’s no structure into which they can put the new information they’re being given. Read more

How Does Mentoring During Onboarding Support the Organization? 

On the flip side, the biggest benefit for the organization is that new hires will more naturally engage with their new culture, coworkers, and work when given the right support. Read more.

Mentoring and Onboarding vs. Orientation and Buddies

In our recent webinar, we had a great question during Q&A: “What do you see as the difference between orientation and onboarding?” It boils down to this: orientation deals with the location of the printer, your computer, and your immediate coworkers. Onboarding deals with the job role and the culture of the organization. Read more.

How to Use Mentoring for Onboarding: Best Practices

Onboarding is a process that can really significantly be helped by mentoring, because mentoring allows you to structure onboarding from two angles: skills and culture. How? Simple – have two mentors, one for culture onboarding, and one for job-specific onboarding. Read more.

How to Use Mentoring for Onboarding: Best Practices

Onboarding is a process that can really significantly be helped by mentoring, because mentoring allows you to structure onboarding from two angles: skills and culture.

How? Simple – have two mentors, one for culture onboarding, and one for job-specific onboarding.

#1: Define your goals and objectives. These can vary depending on your program. Some examples include “Provide new employee guidance,” “Increase time-to-productivity of new hires”, and/or “Increase retention of new hires”.

(NOTE: We don’t usually advise organizations to include employee retention as an objective for mentoring programs, since there are a million reasons why people choose to leave organizations that are not anything that mentoring can help. But in the case of onboarding and new hires specifically, this is a good goal to measure and work toward.)

#2: Identify mentors and their respective roles. Consider how your mentors will fit into each of the following stages:

  • Planning. You will need the mentors’ help with putting together the mentoring partnership plan, specifically with regard to helping the mentee start to form a career path within the organization. 
  • Providing guidance and assistance. These include skills and behaviors that are needed to function in the culture of the organization. Mentors can also provide insight and access to opportunities the mentee wouldn’t have normally had via their own networks. 
  • Evaluation and feedback. Mentors can be invaluable in beginning to identify the mentees’ motivational factors and helping them work with the grain of the organization’s culture, as it were, instead of against it.
  • Communicating. First impressions are important – especially when it comes to the first internal introduction to the organization. It’s critical that mentors understand what messages they need to communicate to the new hires, and why. 

#3: Match participants on specific criteria. Because you have two types of mentors per new hire, you’ll need to match on two different sets of criteria.

  • Organizational culture mentor: Criteria for matching may include the number of years in the organization, business function, and location. NOTE: Even though I and Insala are big believers in distance mentoring, location may be a barrier for becoming integrated into the organization’s culture, depending on how localized the culture is. 
  • Job/Skill development mentor: Criteria for matching may include career level, business function, skills/competencies needed, and location. NOTE: Once again, if the mentor will be providing on-the-job reinforcement to the new hire, location may be a barrier. 

#4: Determine when to introduce the mentor. This will be different for each type of mentor.

  • Organizational culture mentor: Because the objectives of this partnership don’t have anything to do with training that the new hires will receive for their job, you should introduce the mentor to the new hire at the beginning of the onboarding process to ensure they have a warm, positive experience and support from day one. 
  • Job/Skill development mentor: The objectives of this partnership are tied to the new hire’s job, so introduce this mentor after formal training is completed when the new hire is first starting the new job. This will do much to reinforce the new hire’s learning after formal training, and provide on-the-job guidance and support.

#5: Provide online information and examples. It’s important to make information about the mentoring program available to participants. This information should include:

  • Information about mentor and mentee roles and expectations.
  • Information about mentors and mentees (e.g. career/personal bios) to help them learn about each other. This is especially helpful during the matching process.
  • Information about the mentoring program in general – e.g. program goals and objectives, so that all participants understand what they’re working towards.

#6: Measure what you achieved. This can take the form of qualitative measurements (e.g. a feedback survey taken by mentoring participants, or feedback from managers regarding how they feel their new hires have developed) or quantitative measurements (e.g. comparing what was planned to what was achieved.)

Read more: Why Should I Measure My Mentoring Program?

Check out the other blogs in our mentoring for onboarding series by mentoring training expert Judy Corner, or watch the recording of our recent webinar “So You’ve Got New Hires! Now What?