State of Mentoring Survey

2015 State of Mentoring Survey

The mentoring space is changing. It's time to take stock of what's new, what's the same, and - most importantly - what works.

Monday, January 26, 2015

2015 State of Mentoring Benchmarking Survey

Attention all corporate mentoring program managers! This announcement is for you!

Insala is excited to announce that we're conducting a research survey to discover how you and practitioners like you are using mentoring as an employee development method in order to help you benchmark and determine best practices for your program.

The mentoring space is changing. It's time to take stock of what's new, what's the same, and - most importantly - what works.

About the 2015 State of Mentoring Benchmarking Survey:

This survey will look specifically to provide benchmarks regarding:

  • Program methodology (e.g., mentor matching, program size, mentoring partnerships, and success metrics)
  • Program objectives (e.g., succession planning, leadership development, and strengthening culture)
  • Perceived program effectiveness in conjunction with all of the above.

As a thank-you for your participation, we will share a free copy of our survey report with you following our analysis of the results.

This survey will be open through Friday, March 27, 2015.

All answers will be analyzed collectively, and will not be linked to the individual completing the survey. The survey will take less than 5 minutes to complete. If you have any questions about this survey, or concerns about confidentiality, please feel free to contact us at

Are you in? Great!

We appreciate your input!

(Bonus: Share with colleagues and peers! The social share buttons are below - don't be shy using them!)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Business Mentoring and What to Expect

business mentoring what to expectIf time is a chief worry of your mentors and mentees when deciding to join a structured mentoring program – and you can be sure that it is – you’ll need to be very, very clear about what to expect in business mentoring.

4 Things to Clarify About the Business Mentoring Commitment

  1. Mentoring roles and responsibilities. Make sure that everyone – potential mentors, mentees, and managers of mentors and mentees – are clear on what their responsibilities are when you start recruiting mentors and mentees. It’s especially necessary to make it clear that mentees must take a proactive role and drive the mentoring partnership, because everyone else will need to understand what that looks like, and what that means for their own roles. 
  2. The time commitment. The time commitment – how long the partnership will last – must be understood before anyone signs up for their role. This prevents confusion later on regarding their own expectations and any potential gaps between those expectations and reality. 
  3. Manager’s respect of mentoring partnership. Managers must also understand and respect the times that mentors and mentees will meet. This is best put into an agreement worked out beforehand for each partnership, so that when mentors or mentees meet and an item that one or both of their managers may see as a higher priority comes up, there is the agreement to fall back on regarding committed times – and if necessary, contingency plans.
  4. Mentor and mentee accountability. Make sure that everyone understands that the program manager or administrator will be checking in with them regularly to see how the partnership is going – or if it’s going at all. When they’re not meeting, mentors and mentees tend to use lack of time as an excuse, and it’s important not only for program admins to know that from the get-go, but for mentors and mentees to know that they’ll be held accountable for meeting and progressing.
Learn about how mentoring software can assist you with managing your mentoring program - including helping your mentors and mentees make time for mentoring.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Your Business Mentoring Program Is Still Business

Working on a Business Mentoring Program Is Working on Business

We’ve talked elsewhere about the importance of positioning mentoring as a business strategy when you’re pitching your business mentoring program to leadership or upper management to get buy-in for your mentoring program.

If you missed it, here’s the summary: leadership cares about a healthy bottom line. Focus on your mentoring program contributes to a healthy – or better yet, growing – bottom line, and you have at least the foundations of a good pitch.

But don’t think that once you’ve won support from leadership that you can stop positioning your business mentoring program as business – especially if you want your mentors and mentees to take it seriously, and devote their time to it. Before anything else is said to your potential mentors and mentees about the mentoring program at all, you’ll need to do exactly what you did when you were pitching to leadership: position mentoring as a business strategy.

Why? Because it’s important for them to know that working on mentoring is working on business

There will be many times that mentors and mentees may be tempted to cancel or postpone meetings because they feel stressed for another work item: maybe an approaching deadline, a major project or client on the line, etc. And in these cases it may be all too easy to brush aside mentoring as a “feel good” and/or unnecessary item on their to-do list.

You know this isn’t so. Now you need to communicate it to them. Not just once, not just twice, but many times before and after the program starts.

First impressions are incredibly important, and your mentoring program is no exception. That means it has some PR work to do, especially if you want it to be a long-lasting program that both grows and recycles.

The PR work is actually a great opportunity if this is your organization’s first mentoring program. Once you start another cycle or iteration of the program, you won’t have another chance to fully control what’s said about it - and you can guarantee that your mentors and mentees will be talking about it to their colleagues. Whether it's good, bad, or neutral talk, this first opportunity to position your business mentoring program is down to you. 

Learn about how mentoring software can assist you with managing your mentoring program - including helping your mentors and mentees make time for mentoring.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

When They Don’t Have Time for Mentoring

“Time stays long enough for those who use it.” – Leonardo da Vinci

People often think that it would be great to either be a mentor or be mentored, but the issue always comes back to one thing: time.

Some of the questions mentors and mentors are going to be asking themselves before the program even starts include: Do I have time for this mentoring program? How much time will it take? How much time will I have to commit per week? Per month? I already feel really stretched – won’t taking on something like this just make it worse?

You might think that once they make the decision to be mentors or mentees and commit to the program, you’re in the clear. Wait, though – you haven’t solved their time problem. This quickly becomes your time problem, because they’re no longer just asking questions about how much time they do or don’t have – they’re making decisions based on how much time they don't have for mentoring.

Now they’re telling themselves and each other the following: I don’t have time for mentoring today, I have too many deadlines right now, let’s push our meeting back to next week.

No one can put more hours in the day, but we can give you a few tips and strategies to make the most of the hours you – and your participants – do have.

Let’s face it: You’ll have several “enemies” as an administrator of a mentoring program, including budget, obtaining buy-in false perceptions of stakeholders and participants, and proving your ROI. But just as these are all enemies that can be bested – or at least planned for – you can solve your mentors’ and mentees’ time problem, too.

Just remember you have to be crafty and clever about addressing it from Day One.

Check back for a series of tips over the next few weeks, which we’ll collect here:
  1. Position It: Your Business Mentoring Program Is Still Business
  2. Make the Commitment Clear
  3. Communicate the Benefits
  4. Get Manager Buy-In
  5. Book the Time Upfront
  6. ABC: Always Be Checking In
  7. Be Ready

Learn about how mentoring software can assist you with managing your mentoring program - including helping your mentors and mentees make time for mentoring.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Improve Your Overall Business With Talent Analytics

There tends to be a perception at senior levels in many organizations that HR is an extra overhead cost, and therefore there’s a need to figure out how to bring that cost down. In last 10 - 15 years, HR has been increasingly outsourced for that reason, which is why one of HR’s main uses of analytics to this point has been to prove how they’re fitting into organizational success – and one of HR’s main uses of HR technology is to cut down on the time they spend doing that.

But while proving ROI is a huge part of using HR technology and analytics, you shouldn’t stop there when analytics can help you dig way down into your data, find the story that data is telling you, and take specific actions as a result of understanding what the data is saying to improve your overall business – all the way to customer experience.

There are two main ways this occurs:

1. Improve your employee engagement and overall culture. 

A lot of this goes back to ideas that Insala has better fleshed out here and here regarding the connection between career development offerings, employee engagement, and customer service. One of our current clients has come to us for exactly this reason – their employee engagement survey returned not-so-great results, in large part because employees reported that they:

  • saw no direction they could advance or move within the organization, 
  • saw no options for career development, 
  • didn’t know who to contact to see if there were career development options, and
  • didn’t know how to gauge if or what kind of development they needed. 
At this point, we probably don’t have to elaborate on the link between employee engagement and customer experience – and of course, your bottom line.

Focusing on increasing employees’ perception of their own development options resulted in an uptake in career development activity, an increase in skilled employees, and a huge increase in employee engagement as based on their last survey.

If employees think that there’s nowhere to grow in the organization, they’re going to become disengaged; and the organization will likewise have problems with turnover and retention when they become more and more disgruntled to the point that they actually leave.

Having talent development program analytics not only help you spot changes in development activities – or the fact that no one’s taking you up on the development offer – they help you provide you a context to analyze what that activity or lack of activity can mean.

From there, it’s a matter of increasing those activities so that a succession pipeline naturally develops, you retain the employees you currently have so that they can be further developed in your company, and your employee engagement stats go way up.

2. Improve your sales process.

Another of our current clients is choosing to hone in on different aspects of the sales process and ongoing engagement efforts. You can do this by measuring the success of a client with a particular employee and examining things like whether or not the client is still a customer, if they have invested above and beyond the original sales agreement, and what their feedback has been throughout the process.

All of this requires you and your management or leadership determining what the success metrics will be first, and then documentation of information pertaining to those metrics by all employees involved.

This must be done at every level – sales, project manager, account manager, etc – in order to be effective. Above all, remember to communicate and get context for the data and information you receive.

Read other blogs in this series by Trinity Hill:

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