Here we will see common challenges in mentoring programs and how to mitigate them.
Mentoring program is a great way of creating a positive company culture, leadership development or employee onboarding. The benefits for mentors and mentees are valuable but implementing the mentoring programs is a challenge.
There are good challenges you will come across them:
If you are organizing a mentoring program for the first time, it’s hard to generate demand for it. The first challenge is to generate the interest of your employees. You can also make them aware of the program and explain why it’s important to be involved. Don’t hesitate in pulling your communication and marketing team in to broadcast that there’s an ongoing mentorship program and everyone’s invited.
Creating the Right Mentor and Mentee Match
The first part of the program is to attract the right mentees to sign up. The second challenging part is choosing and attracting the mentors for the program. The success of the program mostly depends on the quality, experience and training of the mentors.
Low-engaged mentors won’t be motivated to help their mentees succeed. As a result, the mentees will be less active resulting in a poor experience overall.
After choosing the right mentors and attracting the right mentees, the next important step is focusing on mentorship training to set the expectations right.
Regardless of the enrollment of the program participant, matching is hard. Think of a small pool of 100 mentors and mentees. Each possible combination of mentor-mentee pairs sums up to 10000. It takes too much time and resources to go through the profiles and application forms of the members to find out their expectations and be able to match them effectively. A mentorship matching software automates this process. Mentorink has a unique module to help organizations manage their matching processes. Program admins can configure the Mentorink matching algorithm according to their strategic goals by selecting fields of areas and giving them weights in the overall matching score. This ensures that the platform offers the best possible combination set in the overall matching pool.
Setting the Right Expectations
Not setting the right expectations for all applicants enrolled in the program can be a problem. In fact, unrealistic expectations and assumptions can take a toll on the mentoring relationship. Ideally, the right expectations must be set at the beginning of the program so that everyone’s on the same page.
Actually sometimes organizations want to offer different types of mentoring options to their participants. Informal or Formal mentoring types make the difference to provide structure and context about the expectation or not.
Although initial kick-off training, conferences or webinars are absolutely helpful, mentors and mentees need clear guidance in their journey. Mentorink enables program managers so as mentors and mentees with contextual information and guidance materials.
Keeping Mentors and Mentees Engaged
When mentees are uninterested, the engagement is low. This happens when the mentees are frustrated with the mentoring process, the program isn’t engaging enough, the program lacks structure, limited guidance, or the expectations of the program aren’t defined before starting the program. It is closely related to the previous challenge. The initial groundwork should be done in terms of mentorship program design so that the participants can benefit and enjoy the clear guidance and rules of engagement.
Mentoring is a two-way process. Both mentor and mentee must be actively involved. Even if one of the parties is not living up to their role, the engagement is low. For the kickstarting the relationship, clear expectations is a key. However, it is very important to have digital support for notification and timelines because we are living in a world of transient information overflow and sometimes we tend to forget and underpriotize the activities if we are not proactively notified. Mentorink does it exactly to keep mentors and mentees informed and active about their journey and relationships.
Tracking the Outcome
Many businesses find it hard to track and trace the outcome of the program. The only way to prove the worth of the program is when it has met the program objectives and eventually the business objectives. Without a tracking and reporting tool, it is hard to measure and report.
The traditional way is to send out spreadsheets and documents to the program participants and expect that they fill out the surveys in a timely manner. This may work in small groups and small programs up to 50 to 100 participants. However, with the number of participants getting higher, the efforts to manage this process is getting bigger. Then the business case of establishing a mentoring program turns into negative values because of the inefficiencies in the process.
Another disadvantage of offline tracking and reporting is that it must be executed time-based rather than event-based. The program admins must identify certain timelines such as “monthly”, “after 3 months” etc to get the feedback out of the process. Nevertheless, this timeline never fits into individual mentor-mentee pairs.
Mentorink software enables an award-winning user-experience to mentors and mentees. This includes feedback and performance reviews after each session. Of course these metrics and program statistics are used to build a tracking mechanism to report on mentoring KPIs.
How to Mitigate the Challenges in Mentorship programs?
Here are some tips through which these challenges can be overcome:
- Set the objectives of the program before getting started
- Choose the mentors carefully
- Provide the mentors and mentees the training before starting the program
- Carefully pair the mentors and mentees
- Set the expectations right and make sure all participants know their roles
- Track and measure the progress using a mentoring software
Both parties (mentors and mentees) must know that they can speak to the manager of the mentoring program if they are faced with a challenge. The manager must dig into the heart of the matter, offer complete support, and reassess the match. If the pair don’t connect well, discontinue their partnership.
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