Mentoring Platforms to Boost Early Talent Programs

Summer has finally arrived, and that means your summer interns have probably settled into a variety of projects and apprenticeships throughout your organization. 

If your company’s early talent programs include workplace mentorship, or you are looking to build a mentorship program for interns and new grads, TTL has evaluated a range of Mentoring Platforms within our Talent Management Ecosystem. 

Coaching and Mentoring platforms facilitate the connection of mentorship within the workplace. Some platforms operate as internal marketplaces connecting employees with each other, others introduce external coaches or mentors as options to connect and build relationships with. These tools often facilitate the connection itself by providing a platform to record notes, provide prompts, connect data from other sources on common interests or alma mater.

Read on to learn more about the key features and functionalities you should look for in a mentoring platform solution. To learn more about how Talent Tech Labs can help with talent technology like mentoring platforms, join our community or contact us at hello@talenttechlabs.com.

KEY FEATURES OF A MENTORING PLATFORM:

Matching Algorithm

The most manually time-consuming aspect of managing mentorship programs is the process of matching mentees with mentors, and a mentor-matching algorithm is a standard key feature among these types of solutions

Some providers add certain enhancements to that help to resolve common challenges with mentor-matching, such as a step where the program manager can view compatibility scores for unmatched participants and manually match participants based on qualities the algorithm can’t process (e.g. preexisting relationships). 

Platforms that cater to large enterprise organizations such as Chronus, can  build custom matching algorithms by pulling in HRIS data, and even add skill or competency-based factors into the matching algorithm by ingesting skills data.

Program Management and Reporting

Often, the key driver in the adoption of a mentoring platform is the ability to automate mentor-mentee matching, but there are many other advantages to using this type of solution.

A mentoring platform should be able to facilitate the administration and delivery of the program more automatedly, to automate suggested training content, cadence for mentor meetings, goal-setting, feedback collection, etc. Intelligent automation helps reinforce program structure at scale, standardize the employee experience, and enable deeper reporting. 

Good reporting capabilities should analyze program-related  metrics, such as participation levels, retention levels, and absenteeism, as well as talent metrics, such as the number of employees who were upskilled, and engagement levels and job performance of program participants. 

Professional Services and Training Resources

Of course, coaching and mentoring is a professional practice rather than a technology function, and the quality of professional expert support is a key differentiator when selecting a mentoring tool.

One standout yet simple feature of a mentoring platform is the training content, specifically the content designed for mentors. For example, the company Art of Mentoring has developed a highly effective video training module depicting real conversations between mentors and mentees. Platforms should also contain a knowledge library with basic reporting features that display all training sessions, content downloads, and other training related user activities. 

Some providers don’t simply provide software and training content, but also include professional services led by mentoring experts and professional coaches. For example, an annual service contract may include a package of expert-led sessions (virtual or in-person) typically scheduled at the program kickoff, mid-point, and conclusion. Additional meetings, such as bespoke workshops and full-day or half-day training modules may also be available for an additional fee.

Employer Branding and Marketing Support

While the benefits to students and early career professionals are clear, a mentorship program can also boost an organization’s EVP and Employer Brand, especially in conjunction with university relations recruiting. Many organizations such as Expedia will leverage the fact that they offer a mentor program in their recruitment marketing channels, such as campus events and career sites.

Providers should offer resources for both external and internal marketing (remember, you need to market the program to your current employees to encourage enrollment and create excitement around participation).

Many providers will supply their clients with marketing packets for both internal and external marketing communication. Some also provide more advanced marketing tools, such as QR codes for quick enrollment during events and video testimonials that users can record in the platform which then can be uploaded to social media and talent community hubs.

Final Thoughts

Mentorship is a powerful way to engage students and recent graduates, upskill early career talent, and deliver the supportive employee experience they’re looking for. And a mentoring program that is digitally managed and delivered in a structured, standardized way reduces friction and gives hours back to your talent professionals.

Yet there’s another (somewhat surprising) benefit to mentorship: the impact on employees who mentor early talent. Giving your experienced employees the opportunity to participate in mentor programs has shown to increase engagement levels and and improve managerial and leadership skills. TTL recommends enabling feedback collection tools within your mentoring platform for mentors, as well as mentees, to measure its full impact on workforce engagement and wellbeing.

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