Many Chronus clients come to us after trialing a homegrown, spreadsheet-based mentoring program. The consensus is that running a program without software is like glimpsing great success, just out of reach. It’s like hand-plowing acres of fertile soil. It’s like serving people with a toothpick at an all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s like—well, you get the point. Are you encountering these common challenges?
Common challenges of homegrown mentoring programs:
1. Time-intensive matching based on guesswork and “gut feeling.”
2. Difficulty tracking progress on mentoring program goals.
3. Little or no reporting of mentoring program results on individual or the organizational impact.
4. Inability to create a program ROI metric.
5. Positive feedback from participants – but feedback is unstructured and poorly tracked.
6. Eager participants – but an inability to support very many.
7. Unwieldy program management due to decentralized communications and records.
8. Difficulty maintaining lists of participants.
9. Frequent partnerships that stall out of the gate but aren’t noticed in time for prompt intervention.
10. Difficulty conveying image of a polished, center-stage organizational priority – even with good sponsorship.
If you’re running a mentoring program on paper and found yourself nodding and grimacing at any two of the above, it may be time to consider automating with software. Software is a great way to scale while improving learning outcomes and generating analytics.
Software helps you:
- Scale above an easily manageable handful of participants. We find that magic number to be about 50.
- Improve quality of cross-site mentoring, using software as a communication bridge.
- Reach more participants with a multi-site program while keeping mentoring content consistent.
- Improve mentor/mentee matching through shared skill sets and interests –department, job ranks, competencies, etc. – for better targeted outcomes and mentoring success.
- Carefully track outcomes of individual partnerships, such as pre- and post- competency levels.
- Formalize the mentoring process and hold participants accountable for action plans.
- Tightly control & automate common actions, from bulk reminders to individual mentoring assignments.
- Integrate mentoring program results into employee or student records.
Whether you use a platform to serve thousands of mentees dispersed across a dozen locations, or you manage just twenty mentees with the homegrown trident of Excel, email, and live training, don’t forget: the nature of mentoring is sensitive. It’s hard to succeed without human touch. Even when you’ve semi-automated workflows, pre-loaded training videos, and programmed in helpful reminders and tips, these relationships are about people – not robots. They may need you to step in every now and then. The good news: you’ll have more time to dedicate to the people once you’ve automated the processes.