But they ask this question after the program has been launched and their manager wants them to report results. The manager may be satisfied with qualitative information such as how many participants liked the program or how many felt that they had a good match. But what they often want to know, and to report, is program ROI.
The first question program administrators should be able to answer is “What was your business objective for mentoring?” Go back to the beginning and determine what the program was built to do — or failed to accomplish — and this information can be found in the planning stage.
What follows are some recommendations to measure the ROI for a mentoring program:
1. Identify and focus on a specific business objective. This is normally recommended when establishing any formal mentoring program.
2. Determine how this objective can be achieved through mentoring. For example, if the objective is to increase new hire retention rates, this can be achieved by giving a mentor a specific charter to support new hires in rapidly adapting to their roles and to the company culture.
3. Match mentees with qualified mentors. For example, if improving leadership development is the business objective, ensure matches are based on organizationally defined leadership skills or competencies the mentee is lacking. A mentoring software matching tool can facilitate more accurate matching.
4. Enable the mentee to define goals, and provide a tool to track progress to keep the mentoring partnership focused. Then gather data to begin producing reports. Leveraging a technology tool to create these reports will save time.
5. Gather feedback once the program has ended or when the mentoring partnerships are coming to an end. Send out surveys to stakeholders to provide data to support the stated business objective. For example, if that objective is to improve time to productivity for new hires, send a survey to the mentee’s manager asking him or her to rate improvement.
6. Define the sources of data and reports needed to measure achievement. Not all data may be easily accessible. For example, if the business objective is to improve diversity within the leadership team, the mentoring program administrator will need a report from the human resources information system or an equivalent system that provides statistics on diverse employees’ mobility. Then cross-reference that against those who were involved in the mentoring program.
Measuring development includes many factors; try not to focus on producing exact figures. There are so many factors that influence success when measuring mentoring that sometimes anecdotal evidence can be as valuable as hard data. For instance, ROI reports could include how many mentees achieved their goals within the program.
Judy Corner is director of consulting and mentoring services for Insala, a global talent development company. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Add It Up
When calculating ROI for broad knowledge sharing, consider the following questions:
• Who are the knowledge sources in your company?
• Who needs the knowledge?
• What are the three most common competencies people want to improve?
• Are there trends or commonalities among your top knowledge sources such as age, location, seniority or tenure?
• Are there trends or commonalities among the people who need the knowledge such as age, location, seniority or tenure?
• Where are the biggest gaps in knowledge in your company?
• Who is willing and available to share knowledge?
• Who do people go to most often when they need to learn something?
• Is there a go-to set of knowledge sources?
• How do knowledge and skill gaps impact your company?
• What could be accomplished if the gaps did not exist?
• What roadblocks to knowledge sharing exist in your company?
By answering these questions, talent leaders can better understand their talent situation and how to best connect people so they can and want to share knowledge across the enterprise.
— Randy Emelo