Mentoring Best Practices: Survey for Future Needs


Surveying Mentoring Needs

So you’re considering starting a new mentoring program. That’s fantastic! But in order to make it truly successful, it’s important to survey and evaluate your mentoring program needs. For example, how would your organization use mentoring most effectively? How can you ensure participants get what they want out of it?

You can make some reasonable guesses as to what people want. But collected information from real responses is much more valuable.

What Should Surveying Future Mentoring Needs Accomplish?

That’s why I recommend surveying the landscape and validating that mentoring will resonate. It’s a smart step. I suggest you take this opportunity to bundle a few goals:

  • Generate excitement—this is the perfect moment to drive a learning culture. You don’t want anyone to say “no” to a mentoring program out of ignorance about what it can accomplish. Don’t be afraid to advocate for mentoring.
  • Learn about needs—Dig into your employees’ mentoring interests to find out exactly what compels them. This will give you a deeper understanding of your audience and their needs so you can more effectively design your program once you get approval.

How to Evaluate Mentoring

I’ve put together a sample survey that will help you:

  • Accurately anticipate mentee enrollment rates
  • Understand how many mentors you may need to recruit
  • Learn which interest areas are most popular so you know where to look for mentors
  • Learn how to design your matching rules and how structured to make your program

Note: When surveying your employees, it’s important to introduce and advocate for the concept. Some employees may not be able to conceptualize what would be involved in a mentoring program.

I also suggest that you include some testimonials from top leaders at your org about how they’ve personally benefited from mentoring in their lives. This will frame your program and provide people with more context about what mentoring can accomplish.

When it comes to the questions themselves, here’s what I recommend.

Mentoring Program Evaluation Survey

Survey Introduction

Our organization is looking at establishing a mentoring program. Our goals would be to:

  • Help employees find a compatible mentor
  • Provide the guidance to help employees create effective, long-lasting mentorships

We need your input to evaluate interest in this program. Please take the following survey to let us know your interest level.

Sample Survey Questions

  1. Could mentoring help you to excel in your current role or project?
    • Yes
    • No
    • Unsure
  2. If a mentoring program launched tomorrow, would you enroll?
    • Yes
    • No
    • Unsure
  3. If mentoring became available, in what areas might you seek guidance?
    • Leadership skills (developing others, managing change, setting strategy, decision-making, etc.)
    • Technical or functional skills (to enhance job performance)
    • Personal/workplace effectiveness (communication, influencing others, networking, time management, organization, etc.)
    • Business skills (analyzing needs, proposing solutions, driving results, project planning, thinking globally, etc.)
    • Career guidance (career planning, career growth tactics)
    • Industry knowledge (sector changes & trends, knowledge of current trends in own profession)
    • Insider knowledge (how to navigate & drive change at this particular company, rotational understanding of other departments & functions)
    • Help with a project (specific situational need)
    • Technology literacy (awareness of technologies, using tech effectively)
  4. What style of mentoring are you most interested in?
    • Long-term relationship with an experienced mentor
    • Conversations with multiple advisors/experts to gain perspectives
    • Help for 1-2 months with a certain project
    • Cross-functional or peer knowledge exchange
    • Job shadowing
  5. I would be most interested in mentoring from someone with the following expertise:
    • Finance/accounting
    • Marketing
    • Business development or sales
    • Design & media
    • Engineering or technology development
    • Customer care
    • Human resources or talent development
    • Senior- or executive-level-leadership

I hope you’ve found these questions valuable as a way to help determine your mentoring program needs. Having that accurate knowledge is the first step to running a successful program that’s integral to your organization’s learning.

For more information, please download our how-to about surveying mentoring needs. I’ve included an explanation of mentoring, basic advice, and the same questions you’ve seen.

Best of luck with your new mentoring program!

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