You built a truly effective mentoring program with seamless program onboarding; ideal matches; and awesome supporting content and resources. Perfect right?
But what do you do when your boss asks you to show you how successful the mentoring program is or was? Bummer right?
This is the unfortunate reality for many program coordinators, who often start and run their mentoring programs in a bit of a vacuum. But fortunately, this doesn’t need to be the case. Because today, mentoring programs are genuinely measurable.
Today, you can quite easily gather and compile the data, analytics, and reports to reinforce your gut instincts and anecdotal evidence surrounding your mentoring program. Meaning that you can walk into your bosses office with your chest puffed out and a bunch of impressive data to support your mentoring efforts.
Tracking mentoring program success
There are a number of ways to track your mentoring’s program success, starting with:
Engagement with any program is typically a pretty good way of gauging success. If you create a large event and no one shows up, it will probably be perceived as a failure. If you create a mentoring program and there isn’t much/any mentor-mentee interaction, then your mentoring program wasn’t a success. In saying this, ‘engagement’ is somewhat subjective, which is why we encourage mentor and mentees to set their own expectations early in the program. If two very busy professionals schedule to meet once a month – and do so – that’s great engagement.
Measuring this engagement can be done in a few ways. You can track actual communications including messages, tasks set, and events created (in-real time and retroactively) with a mentoring software solution like Mentorloop, or have the mentors note down in-person meetings or frequency of communication manually – to be tallied and tabulated later on. A mentoring software platform is obviously ideal here as it can track every mentoring program engagement – and formulate it in digestible information.
Goal tracking is a great way to measure program success because it is output oriented. And at the end of the day, the true measure of success is whether or not the mentees (and potentially the mentors) progress in some tangible way. Tracking against goals is pretty simple because goals are initially set – and then either achieved or not. Pretty black and white.
This means that as long as you do an initial survey of program participants, and they set goals effectively, you can measure against them as many times as you want during the program to track goal attainment – and therefore personal (and program) success.
Similarly, you can create macro goals for your organisation. This involves a little more coordination and a deeper dive into the data, but is extremely valuable in validating your mentoring efforts; especially to the executive team or board. For example, you may set an organisational goal for your mentoring program to increase diversity at the management level; or to increase succession planning (leadership development); or to increase employee retention.
As long as you have accurate statistics/data on the pre-mentoring state of these areas, you can easily see whether progress was made. While not perfectly scientific (it’s difficult to control for other variables in the workplace), you can trace specific mentoring outcomes by then more closely exploring why retention has increased (was it due to mentoring?).
An often overlooked and very simple way to track the success of any workplace program (including mentoring) is to simply ask your employees what they think. To ask them how satisfied they are with the program. If your employees are satisfied with the mentoring program, you can quite confidently assume that it there will be a number of positive outcomes. This is also extremely valuable data i.e 95% of our employees are satisfied with our current mentoring program.
Reporting on mentoring program success
Data and insight alone are not enough; you also need to be able to compartmentalise the data and outcomes in a way that is digestible for other people (so you can put it on your bosses desk). So if this are the outcomes we are seeking to track and measure – what are the outputs of the data?
Analytics requires technology. If you want to gather detailed program analytics including full engagement data and activity, then you will need to use a software platform. The benefits of having access to this data – and all of the exporting/reporting options accompanying them is obvious: it removes the need for manual and admin heavy efforts. If you would like to be able to track mentoring program analytics – check out our software features here.
Surveys can fill in the more qualitative gaps that analytics fail to arouse. Having good or bad engagement analytics may tell you a large story – but they don’t tell you the full story. The full story requires asking people how they are doing; how satisfied they are; and how the program could be better. And the best tool for this is the survey. Mentoring software platforms integrate surveying into the platform so that it’s less frictional for users and more contextual; or you can build your own surveys, send the survey to mentors and mentees, and then organise your results.
There aren’t many things in life better than organised and coherent data. The best way to showcase your mentoring program efforts – and your new program tracking capabilities – is with a nice clean (and sexy) report. There are a number of ways to build great reports. You can use your manually collected data to assemble reports yourself, or export and download accurate software derived insights from your mentoring software platform.
Tracking mentoring program success
There really is no excuse for NOT tracking your mentoring programs outcomes and success. You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to options for proving the success of your mentoring program. In the year 2017, you can quite comfortably report on program engagement, employee satisfaction, employee development, and organisational goal attainment without breaking a sweat.
So next time your boss asks you why you’re running that mentoring program, or how successful your mentoring program is or was – turn to your analytics, surveys, and/or reports – and prove it with data.
If you are interested in seeing how Mentorloop can help you track your program success, get a live demo with one of our mentoring specialists right here.
Or read about how mentoring software can help you start a mentoring program here. Happy tracking.