Why Mentoring Software Is a Must-Have
One of the most common reasons why organizations come to us for our mentoring software is because they have an existing mentoring program that they are running manually and the administrative burden has become too much to handle. We hear that story from people time and time again.
The good news in all of this is that River has award-winning mentoring software that can address their problems and help make their lives easier.
So how do you know if you need mentoring software? Here are five signs to look for.
1. You want to increase the number of people in your mentoring program without drowning in work.
Many organizations come to River because they want to scale up their mentoring efforts, but they need an effective and efficient way to handle it. Running a program for 20 people can typically be managed and done well without software, but once you start having hundreds or thousands of people involved in mentoring, then you need software to help manage it.
And it goes beyond just helping you do the matching (see number 2). Mentoring software can help you streamline communications with your participants, help you segment populations for different programs (see number 3), help you track and measure progress (see number 4), help you bring people together for mentoring relationships regardless of location, and help you connect learning resources to mentoring relationships so that best practices flow into day-to-day learning opportunities and activities. As you increase the number of employees in your mentoring program and scale it up, you can then tackle organizational issues and initiatives like breaking down silos, increasing diversity and inclusion, improving employee engagement, reducing employee turnover, and so much more.
If you are ready to make mentoring available to more than just a handful of people in your organization, then you need mentoring software.
2. Matching by hand has gotten too cumbersome and time-consuming.
As mentioned in number 1, scaling up a mentoring program can be a major source of pain for organizations. This often has to do with how they match people up in these programs. A small mentoring program with a dozen or so people can typically be managed by hand without too much difficultly. But once you start having dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people involved in your mentoring program, that is when you know you have outgrown a manual program and need software to help you manage your processes.
Matching mentees and mentors by hand often involves spreadsheets that can quickly become muddled as you attempt to find a quality match for each participant. And it can take days to complete a hand-matching process, even in small programs.
If you find yourself at a point where hand-matching your mentees and mentors is too much work, then it’s time for mentoring software.
3. You want to offer mentoring in conjunction with other initiatives like onboarding, high-potential development, and employee resources groups.
Mentoring gets its power by being a part of a fuller strategy within organizations, because it can supplement and support the critical processes you already have in place.
Do you have a leadership development program or initiative that you run? Great! Make mentoring a requirement for your participants in that leadership development program so that they can connect with experts and emerging talent and learn from one another as they grow in their roles.
Do you have an onboarding program for new hires or people who have gotten promotions so that you can get them off on the right track in their new jobs? Fantastic! Include a mentoring component to this initiative so that you give people support in their day-to-day lives as they acclimate to their new roles and possibly to a new organization.
Do you have employee resource groups (ERGs) in place as part of your organizational DNA? Excellent! Offer them a way to engage in mentoring within their own groups (and across groups too if that makes sense for your organization) so that people can support colleagues, share insights, generate ideas, explore best practices, and ask questions.
Bringing mentoring to multiple initiatives can be a great way to formalize the process and tie it to critical business needs. If you foresee needing mentoring within multiple programs, then mentoring software is a must-have for you. And with River, you can configure each mentoring program initiative separately so that your mentees and mentors have a mentoring experience that makes sense for them.
4. You want to more effectively and efficiently track relationships and capture metrics.
When organizations bring more formality and controls to mentoring, they can begin to capture more data about the relationships occurring and the outcomes of those relationships. It’s great that people are mentoring, but you need to capture metrics that you can share with stakeholders that show the value of these mentoring relationships to individuals and the organization.
If you find yourself needing more information about how the relationships are progressing, if goals are being reached, what outcomes mentees and mentors are achieving, and how well mentoring works, then you need mentoring software. All of that can be tracked in River and reported on so that you have the metrics you need to prove that mentoring is a valuable and necessary program to have at your organization.
5. You need to formalize the informal mentoring that occurs at your organization.
Some organizations come to us because they have pockets of informal mentoring occurring among employees, but they don’t have any formal mentoring program in place. Bringing structure and a centralized vision to a mentoring program can help you harness the power of mentoring, while also making sure that it fits within your organizational goals and culture.
You could take those informal occurrences of mentoring and use them as a starting point for bringing a more unified mentoring program to your organization. Give them the tools they need to bring guidelines and structure to their informal processes so that mentoring can become a fully accessible development tool for all employees in the organization.
If you find you have informal mentoring programs that you want to capitalize on and bring to a wider audience, then you should look at mentoring software to help get you there.
Having River mentoring software can make it easier for you to run, manage, track, measure, and scale your mentoring program. I guess now the only question is: What are you waiting for? Contact us today to get started.