Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How to Measure Mentoring Program Effectiveness

Most organizations tend to think about measuring their mentoring program success in terms of qualitative rather than quantitative, when really, you need to look at both to get the full picture and prove results.

Measuring Your Mentoring Program Qualitatively

Qualitative measurement is sending out the evaluation survey at the end of the mentoring program to ask questions along the lines of:

  • Did you get what you wanted to out of the mentoring program? Y/N.
  • Did you like the mentor matching process? Y/N.
Qualitative measurements don’t look at hard numbers, and organizations that only measure qualitatively usually do so because they don't believe you can measure mentoring. Not only is this absolutely not true, it goes back to looking at mentoring as a business strategy rather than as a warm fuzzy program. Qualitative measurement is fine – but when you’re looking at program sustainability, and needing to prove results and ROI to management, it isn’t going to cut it by itself. That's why you need to be careful to use talent development analytics and report on your mentoring program.

Measuring Your Mentoring Program Quantitatively

Quantitative measurement looks hard at putting dollars and cents to program results. Some of the typical ways people choose to do this involve looking at the accelerated learning curve. For example, mentoring is often used for leadership development. If I'm working with someone who can target the specifics of what I need for my specific role, it's kind of like going to a three day class and only needing one day of it, and gaining the practical skills at the same time.

Another example: mentoring for onboarding helps people get up to speed faster. I can go to a training class, but I may not get everything I need in terms of how that knowledge works in practice. Mentoring helps me get that knowledge and practice, and saves my organization training dollars at the same time. Mentoring not only accelerates the learning curve, but the level of commitment and engagement is higher. And while these are pretty intangible things, they come out on employee scores. Everything else we can put dollars and cents to. We can very specifically measure if someone gets up to speed faster.

Judy Corner is an expert in mentoring training and program planning. Her other posts in this series include:

Part I: Corporate Mentoring: Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
Part II: Mentoring Training (and Why You Need It)
Part III: Do You Know About the Problems in Your Mentoring Program?

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