23 Jul Key Mentoring Program Decisions, Part 1: When To Automate
A 3-part series on making informed decisions about your company’s mentoring program.
Like Rome, effective mentoring programs aren’t built in a day. They require thoughtful planning, clear goals, and strong instructional content. Lots of decisions both small and large go into the program design, and the effects of those decisions color the entire participant experience from start to finish. In this 3-part blog, we’ll take a look at three of the largest decisions that go into a strong mentorship program. The first decision we’ll examine is when to automate your mentoring program.
You might think that a blog produced by a company that offers mentoring software may not be the ideal place for objective counsel on when you should automate your mentoring program. In truth, program automation is not the correct answer for every situation. If your manually-administered solution is meeting your current and future needs, why try to fix what isn’t broken? If your manual solution is falling short, you already know a few of the considerations that drive the conversation around automating. Scalability is near the top of the list.
If you’re thinking of expanding the number of program participants in a meaningful way, it’s probably time to automate. Manually administered mentoring programs are only discreetly scalable, and don’t really offer any of the myriad scaling advantages of an automated platform. With an automated cloud-based platform in place, you’ll be ready to scale up a successful local program to your entire global workforce, in the language of their choosing. The top benefits of scaling with an automated program are the savings of time and cost, which can really add up over time when trying to expand a manual program. Automated programs do have an up-front expense, but the resulting scalability is nearly unlimited.
If your participants have participated in multiple mentoring programs, an automated platform offers the opportunity to leverage past participation for increasing engagement. For example, perhaps after X times of being a mentee, your participant can now serve as a mentor, thus growing their leadership capacity. Can you determine X without manually searching for their name in multiple spreadsheets? An automated program will maintain an engagement history for each participant, empowering administrators to understand their exposure with a glance. This benefit is particularly useful when using your mentoring program for training purposes.
If the process of matching mentees and mentors makes your head explode, it might be time to automate. Automated programs allow participants to build their program profile that can include areas of expertise, areas of interest, preferred channels of communication, personality type, and more. You can also include data points that are unique to your company: division name, department, geography, and others. Mentees can use these points to choose their mentors, or the automated program can use an algorithm to assign mentees to mentors based on a unique value formula. Whatever path you choose, program automation turns the matching process from a nightmare into a dream. (See our white paper for more info)