Optimize your mentorship programs, onboarding process, and other employee matching programs by using LEAD.bot.
While it’s good to mix things up by matching employees just to mingle, sometimes workspace socialization requires a personal touch. That’s where manual matching comes in. In Slack, HR managers and slack admins can choose specific users and match them together through LEAD.bot’s advanced dashboard. This feature is particularly useful for mentoring programs, onboarding process, employee career development, and improving work culture overall.
We here at LEAD have found that random matching between employees is great for socializing whereas personalized matches are perfect for peer mentoring. Ready to optimize your workspace? Read on to learn how manual matching can help you help your employees, particularly through mentorship programs.
Scroll on for tips on how to run a successful mentorship program and scroll to the end for a guide on how to use our new manual matching features for Slack and Microsoft Teams.
The Numbers on Mentoring
Mentorship programs are great for mentors as well as mentees. Mentors are 6 times more likely to be promoted, and mentors are more likely to feel as though their work is appreciated by their colleagues than their non-mentor counterparts.
On a company-wide level, mentorship programs improve company culture and increase productivity. According to Guider, 67% of companies report increased productivity due to their mentorship programs and over half, 55%, of companies believe that it has had a positive impact on their bottom line. Plus, mentoring programs have amazing effects in efforts to improve diversity, inclusion and representation in companies. These programs have improved the representation of marginalized groups on a management level, from 9% to 24%.
And while we often think of mentoring as an onboarding tool, it isn’t just for new hires: Strong mentoring programs can improve retention for long-standing employees as well. Peer mentoring, a relationship between employees at the same lateral level in the organization, has been shown to improve retention rates, employee engagement, employee satisfaction and alleviate loneliness.
Now that we know why workplace mentoring is hugely beneficial, let’s dive into the different formats mentorship programs can take.
Why Mentorship Is Best For Your New Hires
While workplace socialization is a plus for veteran employees, it’s a must for new hires. It’s easy for the new folks to feel left behind, especially in a remote work environment. And being left behind has its consequences. According to SHRM, most employees decide whether to stay or go within the first six months. In fact, Glassdoor found that a good onboarding process can improve retention by 82%. For remote working environments, the stakes are even higher: new hires lack a personal connection and have an even harder time asking questions.
So we know that a good onboarding process can set your promising new talent up for success, but what is a good onboarding process anyways?
A good onboarding process is all about making employees feel welcomed and well-oriented. According to a questionnaire of 1000 workers conducted by BambooHR, a third said they had quit within six months of starting. Of that third, 21% said that proper training would have helped them stay at the job and 17% said a friendly face, like a helpful coworker, would have made them more likely to stay.
From these statistics, it’s clear to see that adding a personal touch to onboarding is vital. However, it can’t just be managers who reach out.
As much as managers might want to step in and help their new employees out, most new hires might hesitate when asking for what they need – even if their fear of speaking up is based on unfounded assumptions. Employees are much more likely to open up to someone who is present in their day-to-day and is in a similar position than open up to their managers, even if their manager is willing to listen.
This is where a structured employee mentoring program comes in. With a good employee mentoring program, you can give your new hires a community within the company as well as a long-term trainer. Not only can a mentor help train their mentee, they also start building a personal relationship with their new hire.
Rethinking the Traditional Mentoring Model
When we think of mentoring, we might think of a pair like Alexander the Great and Aristotle: an old wizened teacher and his carefully cultivated student. While some aspects of this kind of relationship remain, modern mentorships don’t have to be so rigid and so one-sided.
There are some aspects of mentorship that haven’t changed. Mentors should be carefully selected and matched to their new mentees. No matter what level of employee they are interacting with, mentors should be high-potential performers who have strong interpersonal skills. According to Justworks.com, managers should also consider a potential mentor’s work history as well as their colleague’s opinions on the mentor’s performance. Getting a 360 view of the employee will ensure that mentors are well suited for their role and that their mentees will be in good hands.
Make sure your mentees‘ personalities and work styles are matched to a mentor with compatible competencies. This data-driven match approach can be accomplished with a questionnaire for each mentor and mentee pair. As for implementing this data, here are a couple of ways to go about the matching process: match mentors and mentees based on their similarities or match mentors and mentees on their differences.
It might seem like the most obvious and best choice would be to have mentors match their mentees‘ strengths, but mentoring partnerships can go both ways. Reverse mentoring is where senior employees receive learning opportunities from their juniors. Reverse mentoring is on the rise, as it presents an opportunity for younger employees to be active in the mentoring process. Although mentors are typically seen as role models, the millennial generation has shown how traditional mentoring models are in some ways becoming obsolete, as for many organizations, reverse mentoring refreshes leaders with new perspectives on the rising trends of technology or the future of work.
Usually, the reverse mentoring model is better for peer mentors because both mentor and mentee have generally been at the same company for a while; however, it’s worth considering for all mentorship programs. This is because the millennials generation has been producing skilled and experienced workers. Workers under 30 are digital natives since their high school years and are often more adept at adopting and implementing new tech than their older coworkers.
Another model to consider is group mentoring, where one mentor is assigned to a group of mentees. Although there is something literary and romantic about a one-on-one master and protege relationship, group mentoring is a great way to provide mentoring opportunities for a larger cohort of people. In fact, group mentoring can also include peer mentoring opportunities between the mentees, as they can learn from each other. Group mentoring is a great option for providing high-quality professional development opportunities for large groups without putting a huge strain on human resources.
Improving Your Mentorship Programs
We know implementing a mentoring program reaps huge benefits, but that doesn’t mean you can let your team members loose. No matter what mentoring model you plan on implementing, program participants need help kicking off their mentoring experience.
Just as mentees need support, so do their mentors. We often think of mentees as the ones who need training, but mentors also need mentoring resources. To help foster strong mentoring relationships, make sure you’re giving mentors the right resources, including support groups with other mentors in the company and leadership development classes. Mentors need to learn a plethora of new skills for their new role, such as strong communication skills, giving constructive feedback, and problem-solving for their proteges.
Mentors will also benefit from having a clear set of expectations in terms of what their mentoring relationship will look like. For example, establish that they need to hold weekly check-ins, and decide if those check-ins are virtual or face-to-face. Mentors would also benefit from their mentees filling out program evaluation questionnaires so that mentors can get a sense of where they might need to adapt their program.
Sharing a list of mentoring activities for mentors to bond with their mentees can be a huge help and a nudge in the right direction. A great resource for virtual mentoring, in particular, is a matching program like LEAD.bot
Using LEAD to Improve Your Mentorship Programs
Ready to start your mentorship programs? You’ve come to the right place!
LEAD.bot, the employee-matching app, is capable of matching mentors right to their mentees with our manual matching feature for Slack and team matching feature for Microsoft Teams. While the personalized matching feature is slightly different for each messaging system, both of them will help you run long-lasting mentorship programs.
If you haven’t downloaded LEAD yet, start by downloading LEAD.bot for Slack or Teams at our website, lead.app.
LEAD.bot for Slack supports manual matching, which is a feature that allows you to individually assign matches. You can implement manual matching by accessing the advanced dashboard. To get there, click on LEAD.bot under “Apps” on the left-hand side of the chat window. From there, the “Advanced Dashboard” button will take you to a new window where you can choose a channel and match people within that channel. We recommend you invite all mentees and mentors into one channel, so that this process is a little faster.
LEAD.bot for Microsoft Teams supports cross-team matching, where you can match people based on which team they are a part of – this means that LEAD.bot will not provide matches between people in the same team. To access this feature, add LEAD.bot to each team you would like to match. For your mentoring program, we recommend creating separate teams for mentors and mentees. After you have added LEAD.bot to each team, type “dashboard” to LEAD.bot. In the dashboard, click on “Match Settings”, which will take you to the cross-team matching window.
Now that you have your mentor-mentee matches, check out our blog or take a peek at our icebreakers for more ideas on how to get your matches connecting.
Have any questions, comments, or concerns? Check out our FAQ on LEAD.app, or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We promise to get back to you within 24 hours!