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You Want an Automated Mentoring Program. Here’s How to Get It Funded.

grants for mentoring programs

You Want an Automated Mentoring Program. Here’s How to Get It Funded.

Walking sixteen dogs can help make your case.

We’re deep into the third quarter and if you listen very closely, you can hear a peculiar sound. No, not the scurrying feet of secret office betting pools! It’s the quiet sound of executives collecting data as they prepare to develop next year’s budget. This means it’s time for talent and leadership development professionals to ensure that their mentorship program is included in the final Big Number. We’ve developed a few simple talking points to help you march upstairs, lay out the impact of effective mentoring and knowledge transfer programming, and secure the needed funds like a pro.

First, the impact…

Improves Productivity

Effective mentorship programs must demonstrate a positive impact on the bottom line, and that means increased productivity. A recent study examining the productivity of managers found an 88% productivity increase in managers who had a mentor, versus only a 24% increase in managers without a mentor.

Reduces Costs

Mentoring programs are famous for increasing job satisfaction, which drives retention. Depending on where you look, the estimated cost to replace a seasoned employee is between roughly two and three times their annual salary. Of course, mentoring programs have a cost – but it’s not nearly as much as the cost of not having a mentoring program as part of your retention strategy. And don’t forget that unemployment is at a historic low, which heats up the job market and makes retention more important than ever.

Improves your candidate pool

A mentoring program makes your company a more attractive place to work. Why? American job seekers place a high priority on opportunities to learn and grow in a new job. The emphasis on advancement is vastly greater for Millennials, now the largest generation in the US.

Next, your implementation pitch should include these steps:

Address a key obstacle

Every company is constantly trying to improve on some stubborn aspect of their HR strategy. Fortunately, mentoring is particularly effective when applied toward a specific goal. Frame your program clearly by identifying your participants and stating a clear purpose that addresses the issue at hand. A few solid examples:

Strengthen company culture by providing peer onboarding for new hires

Promote in-house succession by connecting high-potential associates to execs

Increase employee agility with a cross-training knowledge transfer program

Emphasize low entry cost

Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, effective mentorship programs commonly start with a pilot rollout for a small set of participants (anywhere from ten to 1,000, depending on company size) and clear articulation of deliverables. Happily, the pilot program has a smaller price tag, making implementation more doable for decision makers. If the pilot isn’t delivering, adjustments can be easily made. If the pilot program is hitting on all cylinders, it’s time to add participants!

Automate to grow

Responsible for the manual administration of an existing mentoring program? We’re so sorry. Manual mentoring programs are increasingly complicated, made more so by the countless other demands of your time. And if your program is successful, it’s probably starting to grow. But growth in mentoring isn’t a mathematical increase in complexity; it’s an exponential increase. Here’s an easy exercise to illustrate this. Ask your supervisor to visualize walking a dog. Now give them another dog, and then two more. Now add twelve more dogs. They’ll quickly understand why it’s time to bring in a professional! If your bottleneck is participant matching, notifications, reports, or dashboards, automating your mentoring program will deliver a whole new level of impact.

America’s workforce wants to learn and to advance, while their employers are counting on improved productivity and retention. High-performing TD/LD professionals know that mentoring bridges these interests – and delivers much more. Hopefully this guide will improve your ability to cement the resources for your 2019 program. Your colleagues are counting on you!

eMentorConnect (www.ementorconnect.com) is standing by to help you strengthen your budget request with impact data, accurate pricing estimates, and a demo of our platform customized to your brand specifications. Contact us today.

Mark Brodbeck, MSW

Director of Marketing at eMentorConnect. Passionate about people intent on elevating others, and other examples of enlightened self-interest. Frank Sinatra said it best: 'It's one world, pal. We're all neighbors.'