Tuesday, October 1, 2013

How to Prove Mentoring Program Success

Mentoring Program Success Throughout the Program

Getting the data in your mentoring software to track the your mentoring program’s success is a challenge for every organization for whom we’ve implemented a system. (See our blog "Your Mentoring Software Is Not Your Mentoring Program".)

As you can imagine, it’s even more challenging when the organization trying to establish a mentoring program doesn’t have a defined mentoring process in place.

What usually happens as a result six months after implementation is the organization realizes, in quick succession, that:
  • there are specific things they should have gotten program participants to record, 
  • those things haven’t been recorded
  • they need to present that information to management
  • they aren’t going to be able to prove program success.
Ultimately, your reporting and talent analytics really depends on your company culture. If the culture is naturally very analytical, and the numbers piece is the goal, mentors and mentees will of course set up their learning plans with defined goals, and will state if those goals have been achieved.

Realistically, however, that doesn’t always happen.

Mentoring Program Success After the Program

If you still need quantitative proof of success – or alternatively proof of why the program was not a success – the mentoring program administrator can still send out a qualitative survey at the end, and require program participants to answer questions that will help quantify what the mentoring program was worth. The qualitative survey is the common end of almost all formal mentoring program, but if you’re going to try to extract specific data from the survey results, ensure that your questions will require specific answers.

There are also two common problems that you’ll need to be aware of and to try to avoid getting data that could taint your results:
  1. While a mentee might have really liked their mentor, they might have talked about nothing that pertained to the mentee’s goals and/or how they could develop in the organization.
  2. If the mentor and mentee got on really well and became friends, they’re going to be a lot more positive and less critical in the survey than pairs for whom it was just business. 
So you have to be very careful about what kind of questions you’re going to ask in a qualitative survey, if you’re going to use those responses to quantify your mentoring program success. Don’t ask “On a scale of 1-5, rate your experience” when you specifically need to know “On a scale of 1-5, rate your presentation skills before and after the program.“


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