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The demand for mentorship is at an all-time high. 98% of all US Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs in 2024. With such a high volume of organisations looking for mentorship opportunities, the pressure is on to find the best mentorship software in the market.

In this article, we make it easier for you to choose the right mentoring software as we talk about what makes a good mentorship program and what Brancher’s advantage is over its competitors. Let’s get started!

 

What Makes a Good Mentorship Program?

All good mentoring programs have three key phases: design, engage, and evaluate. Here are some statistics on why mentoring plays a vital role in your organisation’s success: 

 

These numbers prove just how important it is to have the right mentoring program and software in place. But how do you set a mentoring program up for success? The three key phases to keep in mind are The Design Phase, The Engage Phase, and The Evaluation Phase. 

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The Design Phase: Assess Your Organisation’s Needs

Before you launch your mentoring program, you must ask yourself:

  • What are the goals of your organisation? Do you wish to improve employee retention, diversity and inclusion outcomes, collaboration, knowledge sharing, career development, leadership capability, or employee engagement?
  • Who will be involved in the program? 
  • Who will be your key program sponsor, communications lead and project manager?
  • Will you use mentoring software to streamline program management and increase your visibility of results and relationship success?
  • What is your organisational definition of mentorship and what are your key mentoring principles?
  • What will the eligibility criteria be for mentees and mentors?
  • How will you recruit participants and collect their details?
  • How will pairing be done? (Admin pairing or self-pairing)
  • What pairing criteria will you use? Can your software provider assist you in designing the matching criteria?
  • How long will the program go for?
  • What training will be provided to mentors? 
  • What support will be provided to mentees?
  • How will participants set goals?
  • How will people check in throughout the program? How do you measure success? 

 

You may want to bring in an expert Mentoring Program Manager to facilitate a Design Workshop with your key stakeholders to work through the questions above and align on key mentoring principles. Some software providers such as Brancher will facilitate a complimentary Design Workshop during the implementation process so you don’t need to do the heavy lifting.

Look for a mentoring software provider who will ask you the following questions (or similar) in the sales process. This can help you to determine if the provider truly cares about your organisation (and is looking to implement a program that will deliver real results as opposed to hitting their sales target or KPI):

  • If you’ve run a program before, what were your biggest pain points? (trying to understand whether they can genuinely add value)
  • What is the broader context and culture of your organisation? (understanding how the program may need to be customised)
  • Do you really want to roll out this mentoring program to X population, where is the biggest need for mentoring? (challenging the selection population)

 

Also, look for a mentoring software provider who will help to customise the platform for your needs. Many providers are 100% self-service with minimal customer support. Good mentoring providers will help you (or even do it for you). This means you can spend your time talking to internal stakeholders rather than configuring the back end of a mentoring tech platform.

Look for providers who will provide you with key design and implementation resources including:

  • Mentee-mentor matching questions template
  • Communications plan
  • Project/implementation plan
  • Video script (to launch the program)
  • Launch webinar (hosted by the provider)  

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The Engage Phase: Ensuring Participants Maintain Momentum

Within the Engage Phase, there are two steps:

  • Launching the program
  • Maintaining momentum

 

Launching the Program

When you launch the program, it’s one of the most exciting steps. But it can also be quite daunting.  A mentoring program is a highly visible program - everyone can see if it’s successful or not. You need to ensure that your mentoring software provider will help you and your users through this process. 

  • How does the mentoring platform work?
  • Is it easy and intuitive to use?
  • Will the provider do a demo of the platform to your staff?
  • How will participants find their ideal mentor?
  • What configuration matching and program options can you control?
  • Does the platform automate matching, training, introductions, goal setting, keeping people on track and measuring success?
  • Will you have to deal with anything manually?

After a 45-minute launch webinar, Brancher takes care of the mentee-mentor matching by sending introductory emails and continually checking in with the program participants. Every 30 days, Brancher sends out a personalised nudge that helps to ensure everyone stays on track. As the program administrator, you get access to an admin portal where you can see how the relationships are tracked including which pairs are on track or off track. You can then proactively manage relationships and ensure everyone achieves their goals, including your organisation.

Once the mentoring program is launched, many software providers will stop their ‘human touch’ customer support. Brancher does things differently. We provide ongoing program management monthly check-ins and 6 monthly reviews.

 

Maintaining Momentum

We recognise that you’re busy, and whilst you have access to an admin portal where you can track success 24/7, we still want to meet with you for 30 minutes once per month to check in, share best practices, and help you prioritise your mentoring program management. Even if you’ve never run a mentoring program before, you can run a successful program with Brancher.

Without Brancher, customers need to employ a full-time staff member to manage their mentoring program. If your mentoring program will have more than 20 pairs, it’s time to consider mentoring software.

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The Evaluate Phase: Measure the Program’s Success

Lastly, the mentoring software you use should allow you to easily measure your program’s success. At a minimum, the tool should allow you to:

  • Monitor the  progress of every mentoring relationship - meeting frequency and satisfaction
  • Track leading and lagging metrics (e.g. training completion and goal establishment vs. behaviour change and goal completion)
  • Keep track of goals and objectives completion
  • Showcase the program’s success to stakeholders to measure Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Intervene when needed and rematch a mentor/mentee if required

 

Brancher provides live mentoring relationship health metrics so you can see and act on the program at any time. Through Brancher’s customisable check-in and relationship wrap-up surveys, you can take actionable steps to improve your mentorship program. This data will also allow you to prove how effective your mentoring program is in your organisation. 

 

Choosing the right mentoring software is crucial to maximising your organisation’s mentoring efforts. You need to choose a platform that meets your needs and effectively implements it so you can build transformative mentoring relationships within your organisation. Book a demo with us today and we’ll show you how we got things done for both large and small organisations like Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), the Government of South Australia, and Calm. 



Resources: 

 

  1. Cook, Sam. (2024, February 2). 40+ Definitive Mentorship Statistics and Research for 2024. mentorcliQ. https://www.mentorcliq.com/blog/mentoring-stats#:~:text=In%20our%20inaugural%202021%20Mentoring,500%20companies%20have%20mentoring%20programs
  2. Cantalupo, Gracey. (2022, May 19). Does Mentoring Still Matter for Fortune 500 Companies?. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2022/05/19/does-mentoring-still-matter-for-fortune-500-companies/?sh=446eb40b5d8c
  3. LinkedIn Learning. (2023). 2023 Workplace Learning Report. https://learning.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/learning/en-us/pdfs/workplace-learning-report/LinkedIn-Learning_Workplace-Learning-Report-2023-EN.pdf
  4. Wronski, Laura, SurveyMonkey, Cohen, Jon. (2019, July 16). Nine in 10 workers who have a career mentor say they are happy in their jobs. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/16/nine-in-10-workers-who-have-a-mentor-say-they-are-happy-in-their-jobs.html



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