More and more organisations are turning to mentoring programs to get better employee and business outcomes. With this comes increasing pressure to make sure programs are effective and managed efficiently. That means mentoring software that can make admin less onerous and outcomes more measurable is now a must-have.
There are a lot of players in the market now and with that comes difficulty in finding what software is right for your organisation and its needs. So what should you look for? What should you be wary of? How do you determine what’s right for your organisation and its unique needs?
In this post, we help you answer these questions and choose the right mentoring software for you.
Let’s get to it.
Before you even start asking for demos, determine what features are important to you. Ask yourself and the program’s stakeholders some questions to determine which features really matter so you can get the most bang for your buck. If you do it the other way around, you can run the risk of buying into features that you don’t even need.
So, what kind of questions should you be asking when shopping around for mentoring software?
What Is Their Mentoring Philosophy?
It is very important to get an early read on the type of mentoring philosophy a vendor is preaching. Is their mentoring ideology based on HiPo (high potential) growth? Is it an enterprise solution that requires long sales and training cycles? Is it focused on bringing low performers off the sidelines? Or is it focused on being accessible and affordable?
Like with all products, if a product was built for a specific purpose and audience, it is more likely to work very well for that specific use case.
How Do We Want To Match Participants?
If manually matching your cohort is an important factor in your program, software with a powerful matching algorithm won’t be of much use to you, but one that allows for rich user profiles with a customisable user filtering system might be invaluable.
Alternatively, if you want to completely remove unconscious bias in your matching, or are looking to match more than 100 participants, you definitely want a matching algorithm. And not just any matching algorithm but one that matches based on your unique criteria and makes equitable matches for your entire cohort.
Curious about how Mentorloop does matching? Check out our guide!
What Are Your Pain Points as a Program Coordinator?
In the past – and still today – many mentoring program admin activities have been conducted via spreadsheets and email, which is completely unnecessary. Does the mentoring platform you are buying solve these pain points? Does it remove the menial tasks and annoying busywork that mentoring programs have typically involved?
As an example, if you foresee managing your program’s momentum becoming a big issue for you, consider software that has a great bulk messaging system. A great user filtering system that allows you to see things like the number of users who still aren’t matched or haven’t had a meeting with their mentoring partner might also be a great tool.
What Will The Participants’ User Experience Be Like?
Oftentimes, because mentoring software vendors are selling into HR, D&I, or L&D teams, they get caught up building solely for program coordinators and overlook the needs of the end-users – the participants. But if you are to build a scalable and sustainable mentoring culture at your organisation, you need to make sure that program participants are having the best experience possible. After all, who will want to keep using a product that doesn’t work for them?
Check what programs and apps each software integrate with. Do these integrations fit in with the way your organisation works? Is the software accessible for all? How easy will it be for participants to learn how to use? In a post-COVID world, people expect seamless remote experiences. Integration to common assets like Teams, Zoom, and Slack should be included right off the bat.
How Will The Provider Support Our Program & Set Us Up For Success?
All software platforms and programs have some kind of learning curve. Will your mentoring software vendor help you and the users through this part of the process? Do they have the infrastructure in place to support thousands of users in addition to hundreds of program coordinators? Will they help you share the most useful outcomes with your stakeholders?
Mentoring isn’t a plug and play activity for most people. It isn’t a practice that people naturally do well. Is teaching mentors and mentees your responsibility? Or is it the responsibility of the software provider? A good mentoring provider has expertise in what good mentoring looks like – and will ensure that users follow a framework that results in success.
How Does This Software Analyse And Report Data?
“You’re only as good as what you measure” rings true when it comes to managing a mentoring program. What kind of data does this software give me? Does it only record the time my participants spend meeting? Can you easily measure ROI on your program? Can you see who is getting the most out of their match and who isn’t? Does it show you when to intervene and rematch a pair of individuals? Quality mentoring software can assist with reporting on the health of your program – right down to the individual.
Does This Fit My Budget?
And finally, after all these things are said and done – can you afford it? Many enterprise software solutions can be exorbitantly expensive, which creates a real barrier to entry. Look for a provider who fits within your budget – but also within the context of your program. Weigh up the costs and benefits of your mentoring program, as well as the mentoring software platform to arrive at a place where you feel comfortable.
Mentoring software is a fantastic piece of kit for anyone running a mentoring program – be it for an industry body, enterprise, academic institution, or not-for-profit. The way to choose the right mentoring software is to make sure you know what you need and want from one and that you get really familiar with how to maximise all the tools and features available to you.
We’d love to show you how Mentorloop can ease the admin burden of managing your program! Have a chat with us and see a demo of how Mentorloop works by booking a demo below.