One of the most crucial factors to success with mentoring programs is measuring outcomes. After all, how do you know if your goals were accomplished if you don’t take a hard look at the results of your program?
But how do you know what to measure? How do you know what questions to ask in order to ensure success? We recommend using the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model, created by Donald Kirkpatrick in the 1950s and refined by the Kirkpatrick Partners, is a widely used measurement framework that helps organizations evaluate the effectiveness of their learning and training initiatives.
Why? The results of mentoring programs are often not seen for a year or more. But utilizing this model gives you visibility into the effectiveness of your mentoring program earlier on, which gives you the opportunity to course correct if you’re falling short.
Why Use a Framework to Measure Mentoring Programs?
This four-level model enables you to capture data at different levels, providing a comprehensive picture of the impact of learning programs. We’ve created a guide for how to apply this model specifically to measuring modern mentoring programs, including questions you should ask and how to use and interpret program outcomes.
The Kirkpatrick Model has four levels:
- Reaction: What did people think of the program? Did they like it?
- Learning: Did people obtain new knowledge or beliefs as a result of the program?
- Behavior: Did they start, stop or continue behavior as a result of the new knowledge?
- Results: Did the change of behavior result in organizational outcomes?
The organizational outcomes are not going to be realized for at least a year. But this model allows you to measure participant behaviors, learning, and reactions earlier, which gives you time to adjust your programs.
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How Do You Measure Mentorship Programs?
We suggest using this framework not just to measure mentoring programs, but also to design your programs. When designing a mentoring program, it’s important to answer questions about the changes you hope to see as a result of your mentoring programs.
To design an effective mentoring program, start at the bottom (results), and work your way backward. In order for your mentoring program to be successful, what do people need to learn, believe and do?
What does it look like to use this model to design and measure a modern mentoring program? Let’s use reverse mentoring as an example:
- Results: What are the intended outcomes of the reverse mentoring program? Discuss this with your program sponsor. Let’s say you want to enable the effectiveness and engagement of the Baby Boomers in your organization. The organizational outcomes will be improved profits and higher engagement of the target population. These are your level four KPIs.
- Behavior: What behaviors do you want participants to exhibit as a result of reverse mentoring? The desired behavior might be greater engagement and effectiveness, or more engagement with tools and technologies that Millennials use as second nature. These are your level three KPIs.
- Learning: What do the Baby Boomers need to learn in order to adopt these behaviors? For example, where are tools located and how do they use them? Do they need to start believing that these tools will benefit them in day-to-day work? These are your level two KPIs.
- Reaction: People are unlikely to learn unless they are engaged and enjoying participating in the program, so be sure to capture satisfaction data. These are your level one KPIs.
By applying the Kirkpatrick Model, not only will you have a robust measurement plan that you can share with various levels of stakeholders, but you’ll also have an outcome reference document when you’re designing your program.
If, during the course of your mentoring programs, you’re not seeing the results you want, this model gives you the power to find that out early on and correct course.
Download the Guide to Measuring Modern Mentoring Programs to get started with your mentoring program.