Your mentoring program is off to a great start. Pairing mentees to mentors went smoothly. Everyone is engaged and making progress toward their learning goals. You are enjoying watching your program hum along without a hitch. Beyond monitoring program metrics and responding to the occasional question, how can you get more from your mentoring program?
An easy way to further increase the value of the mentoring experience is to create opportunities for participants to network and interact outside established mentoring relationships. By connecting participants to one another via online topical discussion groups and community Q&A boards, you can multiply the opportunities for additional learning many times over.
Here are 3 tips to ramp interaction across your mentoring program community:
- Find some flag wavers: As with any online social network, many will watch for a while before jumping in. Find a few mentors and mentees who are willing to start discussion threads and post content. This will help catalyze the rest of the community to engage.
- Post frequently: After the initial effort of seeding content, don’t stop posting if there isn’t a surge of participation. This is completely normal. Building participation takes some time. Develop a posting calendar with your core group of contributors and post weekly. But, don’t make creating content a heavy effort. If it is, it will burn out your core contributors. Focus on short, frequent posts.
- Keep it light: This is a mentoring community, not a lecture. The key is to encourage connectivity, which means your members must be drawn into a conversation. Content should have an informal, even a fun feel to it. There is no reason why content and resulting dialog cannot be both professional and engaging.