Matching employees into mentorships is arguably the most important element of any mentoring program. Get a match wrong, and the mentorship is destined to fail from the outset.
The problem with any matching tool or process – whether it be a 3rd party, ‘artificial intelligence’, or the people taking control of connecting themselves – is that you are never sure how any coming together of two people will turn out until they have come together (hence why so many friendships, relationships, and mentorships are less than ideal).
However, while you can’t ever guarantee a successful match, you can guarantee the best chance at success by using the most effective mentor mentee matching tool: dedicated mentoring software.
Coordinated software matching
Mentorloop’s smart matching combines the best of the old and the new. The manual matching efforts of the pre-software days had a great premise, with the coordinator seeking to match mentors and mentees based on their skills, goals, level of experience etc. The problem with this method was that it was slow and messy, with the only option often being spreadsheets and manual pre-matching surveys.
Mentoring software has improved this process in two main areas: (1) Gathering mentor mentee data and (2) Efficiently and accurately matching based on these data.
Gathering matching criteria today is as simple as sending out one recruitment form. This recruitment form can be customised to each organisations needs (e.g a university might want to match on area of study, whereas a startup accelerator may want to match based on number of previous startups). Each mentoring program participant completes this form – and sends it back to the coordinator for matching.
What type of data do we usually capture as standard for our clients?
- Skills: strategic planning, marketing, negotiation, writing etc.
- Relationship goals: career progression, career plan, new networks etc.
- Work experience: 1-3 years, 10-15 years etc.
- Interests: sports fan, foodie etc.
And now you have the data with which to make productive matches.
Mentorloop’s smart matching maintains the integrity of manual matching, with much greater efficiency and consistency. The coordinator has the ability to quickly filter through mentor and mentee data, comparing them for suitability side-by-side before initiating a match. This kills wasted time, and allows the coordinator to drill down and accurately match based on a number of criteria.
You can read more about the features behind coordinated mentor mentee matching here.
Self-matching via My Match
The other option (a more modern L&D approach) is to allow your program participants or employees to match themselves. My Match acts like a mentoring social network, with any and all participants having the power to browse other mentors and mentees; view their profiles; and request to match with them. Once a mentor or mentee finds someone suitable and the request is accepted, they begin communicating via their private portal in the same way that they would if they were manually matched.
We love My Match, because it fosters greater employee buy-in, and creates a more consistent and perpetual approach to mentoring. The problem with a lot of mentoring programs is that they quickly become stale and predictable with an employee being matched for 6 months – and then matched again etc.
In contrast, My Match allows employees to build out a personal network of mentors or mentees, creating better outcomes for employees and a more knowledge share and mentoring oriented culture for the organisation. It’s also more interesting for the employees from the outset, and creates that additional layer of engagement and mystery which keeps program participants on side.
You can read more about My Match here.
Matching employees into their mentorships is only half the battle. Now the battle turns to keeping employees engaged, and measuring and reporting on outcomes.
But matching is and always will play a huge role in employee mentoring. And we are here to help you make the best mentor mentee matches possible – whether through conscious coordination, or relinquishing control to employees who want to control their own networks and development.
Want to see a live demo of our matching processes? Easy. Request a demo of the software here.