[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, 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.                    

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?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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.


Buddies =/= Mentors

One of the biggest mistakes I see when organizations use mentoring to supplement onboarding, is confusing the function of a “buddy” with the function of a mentor.

Buddies are great, don’t get me wrong – especially since you do need to know the location of the printer, your computer, and be introduced to your immediate coworkers. Orientation is a necessary thing.

But to leave it at orientation, and stopping short of onboarding, is a critical error.

Mentors take it beyond the purely social function that a buddy fulfills, and addresses the cultural and job role-related aspects of the new hire’s start at their new organization. And because onboarding is two-pronged, you may well want to have more than one mentor per new hire – one to focus on culture, and one to focus on the job role. (Listen to our recent webinar to learn more about this.)


Keep Your Programs Separate

Finding qualified mentors is probably the biggest challenge any organization has – usually because there’s a lack of understanding of what that person in the role of mentor should be responsible for doing. There’s a lot to be said on this topic, as mentoring training is essential to clearing up what it is that you need mentors to do and tying it back to your program objectives. (Read more about it here.)

But can you have a buddy program and a mentoring program for your onboarding process?
Absolutely. Just make sure that:

  • The two programs stay separate from each other to prevent confusion (especially in reporting.) 
  • You clarify to buddies, mentors, new hires, managers, and leadership what the differences are between the two programs’ goals/objectives, strategies, success metrics, and roles of people involved. 

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?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How Does Mentoring During Onboarding Support the Organization?

Make It Easy for New Hires to Reach Back

I wrote in my last post (read here if you missed it) about how mentoring during onboarding benefits new hires.

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.

Think of it like going to a party where you don’t know anyone, and having someone take you under their wing, introduce you around, help you understand the social nuances of the group, and get you involved in whatever activities are going on. It takes minimal effort for that person – they’re already intimately acquainted with this group and how it functions. But it’s a huge relief for you, the new person, who would have otherwise had to observe from the sidelines, try to break into established cliques, and awkwardly initiate small talk for the rest of the evening.

How long do you think it will take you to feel welcome, under these circumstances? How long do you think it will take you to catch on to the inside jokes and activities?

And, more pertinently, how long do you think you’re going to stay?

Similarly, because the organization has already reached out to the new hire, it’s much easier for the new hire to reach back and engage with something they’ve already been made familiar with.

Just the Start of the Cycle… if You Do It Right

Just a short list of benefits that mentoring during onboarding can provide the organization includes:

  • Engender staff loyalty
  • Increase new hire engagement
  • Increase retention down the line/reduce turnover
  • Protect organizational investment in both recruiting and onboarding processes
  • Improve time-to-productivity and reduce associated costs
One of the most important points to emphasize is employee retention, which absolutely affects and is affected by engagement. It’s important to focus on the immediate pros and cons of different onboarding processes to be sure – but at a time when employee retention (and particularly new hire retention) is a huge concern for L&D roles, it’s important to engender, foster, and protect your new hires’ desire to remain with your company for years to come.

Stay tuned for our next post about what kind of mentors you need during the onboarding process.

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?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How Does Mentoring During Onboarding Support New Hires?

It's the Not Knowing That's Scary

Let’s start out by focusing on how mentoring during onboarding supports the individual. (We’ll get to how it supports and strengthens the organization in the next post.)

The biggest benefit is that it accelerates the learning curve of the new hire. Rather than simply throwing a lot of new information and a new context at a new hire, mentoring helps acclimatize a new hire to their new situation, culture, and job.

That part about lack of 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.

This is a big problem. It’s natural for human beings to see patterns and create structures – and it’s imperative that you give them that structure to prevent a very slow assimilation of that very vital information you need them to understand before they can start being productive in their new jobs.

Get Rid Of Your New Hires’ Fear

Every other benefit of using mentoring to support your onboarding processes follows from this acceleration of the learning curve, including:


  • They'll feel better about their start in the organization
  • Their self-confidence relative to their new job will increase
  • They'll have a higher level of connection to and engagement with the organization 
  • They'll feel that the organization genuinely cares about them and that they get off to a good start
  • They'll engage and settle into the established organizational culture

And as you can see, these too are no small benefits.

Maya Angelou once said that people will forget what you said or did, but they don’t forget how you make them feel. How you make your new hires feel on first impression is perhaps the most important part of setting the stage for their decision to stay with you for a long time to come – so make sure you set the stage correctly.

Stay tuned for How Does Mentoring Support Onboarding (Part II) – which will focus on benefits for the organization.

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?