New Features in River’s Business Mentoring Software Highlight Flexibility and Oversight
It’s not surprising that employees want mentoring opportunities at work. Report after report capture these sentiments. For example, a survey from Robert Walters found 94% of women think mentoring programs are valuable in helping them develop their careers, but the same study found that almost half of employers (45%) currently do not offer any such programs. In a separate study from Heidrick & Struggles, 27% of respondents said their organizations offer formal mentoring programs, and 56% of respondents said they are motivated to engage with their primary mentoring relationship because they aspire to reach a similar point as their mentor in their own career.
There’s no question that mentoring continues to be a desired program at work, but many organizations are missing the opportunity to take advantage of this. Some may feel limited by time or money to run the programs, while others may not see the big picture of how mentoring can play an integral role in employee development throughout multiple areas of the organization.
Having worked with clients on these very issues for nearly 20 years, we can confidently say that we have been there, done that. While it’s true that we have award-winning mentoring software, River is actually so much more than that. We also provide our clients with thought leadership through strategic program design consulting and training services, which help to ensure our clients have a robust mentoring solution, not simply mentoring software.
Because we are a SaaS solution, we are able to regularly enhance and update our software so that our clients get the latest tools and processes to use in their mentoring programs. Three noteworthy enhancements we made to our mentoring software over the past several months focus on the need for administrators to have more control and flexibility when it comes to running their mentoring programs. Many of our clients run multiple programs within River, and they need to be able to control their programs at a granular level. Therefore, each of the enhancements noted below can be configured on a program-by-program basis, allowing clients the flexibility to provide the specific user experience they desire for each of their program audiences.
Mentoring Relationship Monitoring Tools
It’s not uncommon for development programs to ask participants about their experience…at the end of the program. There is nothing wrong with wrap-up evaluations, but if they are the only component of a measurement plan, we think this is approach is too little, too late. While you can gain insight into opinions and take action for the next time around, asking people about their experience only at the end of their journey is an opportunity wasted. This is why we developed in-progress monitoring check-ins that mentees and mentors complete while they are still knee-deep in their mentoring relationship.
In addition to existing end-of-relationship evaluation features, River now allows administrators to create custom monitoring check-ins to keep track of progress across mentoring relationships while they are in process. Program administrators can configure:
- Individual questions, which includes access to River’s question library and an authoring tool to create unique questions.
- Who receives each check-in/question (i.e., whether check-ins and individual questions within check-ins should be sent to mentees, mentors, or both).
- Timing/cadence of monitoring check-ins. Check-ins can be sent on specific dates or configured to automatically send relative to the start date of the relationship. The automated send feature minimizes administrative burden and helps to ensure program participants receive check-ins at natural points compared to where they are in the lifecycle of their relationships.
These new monitoring check-ins let administrators keep track of mentoring relationships taking place in their programs, and also gives them the flexibility to take corrective action while the relationships are still actually taking place—not after they are finished, when the opportunity for productive intervention has passed.
Mentoring Matching Algorithm Flexibility
River’s proprietary matching algorithm is a key reason why many organizations choose our mentoring software. While we find competency alignment between mentees and mentors to be the most common matching criteria used across our clients’ programs, it is not the only one. River’s algorithm can now be configured to allow program administrators to set matching criteria in addition to, or even instead of, competencies. Leveraging user profile fields, rules can be established to weight mentors who match certain criteria so that they show higher in search results. This gives our clients greater flexibility in how they run their programs.
We have some clients who want to make sure that mentors are at least two job levels ahead of mentees, while we have other clients who want to make sure mentors and mentees don’t work in the same business unit. No matter what your matching criteria may be, River’s algorithm can be configured to fit your needs and allow your programs to operate with the matching rules you require.
Enhanced Mentoring Administrator-Matching Capabilities
Matching options are always a talking point with our clients. How do you want to match people? Who should initiate the match? Who should have the final say in the match? Part of the beauty of River mentoring software is that it automated one of the most time-consuming parts of an administrator’s job: the matching process. This offered a cost savings for our clients in terms of time saved (and therefore dollars saved since the administrator could spend their time doing other critical work).
While self-directed matching is a preferred option for some client programs and a popular feature within River, some clients require a third-party (e.g., a mentoring program administrator) to be involved in matching program participants. Our admin-matching abilities in River have been around for years, but we recently added to the existing feature to provide enhanced functionality and options for those who make the matches. Highlights include:
- The ability to hold and review multiple potential matches before finalizing the selections. This lets administrators make and subsequently review tentative matches, allowing them to adjust their choices prior to releasing the matches and communicating those selections to the mentees and mentors.
- Status and notes fields, which allow administrators to include details about the potential matches. This can be helpful when multiple administrators make matches within the same program and need to be able to collaborate and communicate with one another around the matches they are making and the rationale they are using in the process.
- Upgraded algorithm options, which allow administrators to configure administrator-matching rules, leveraging all the flexibility of River’s enhanced matching algorithm noted above.
We’ve helped our clients attain success with mentoring over the past two decades, and these enhancements to our software will allow us to continue on this path.
To see some of the results our clients have achieved with River, download our ROI of Mentoring eBook. Ready to take a serious look at River? Contact us for a demo today!