Introduction

mentoring is a powerful tool for organizations and communities

Mentorship is powerful. For decades, "mentorship" has been a buzzword in academic, community, and corporate settings. From college students and young professionals to well-seasoned veterans, most people understand the value of mentorship but struggle to find those that can help them.

For many, it can be intimidating and difficult to initiate the conversation. On the other side, even experienced people may wonder what they have to offer or are challenged to find the time in their busy schedules. 

Communities can help close the mentoring gap. Companies can use mentorship programs to help employees with career development. Professional organizations can harness the power of their network to create valuable mentorship opportunities for their members. Universities can leverage the power of a mentoring network to connect students and young graduates with alumni to find job opportunities.

Studies show that 77% of organizations with mentoring programs improve employee retention, overall job satisfaction and performance. Most organizations who attempt to establish mentorship programs run up against the difficulties of building, managing, and sustaining their programs.

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An increasing number of web-based mentoring systems are available, with the aim to help program leaders
 maximize their limited resources and generate more positive outcomes for their communities. Technology-enabled networks help increase program efficiency in areas ranging from matching to scheduling, to measuring outcomes.

With so many options available, offering a variety of features, tools, and support, identifying and choosing the right system for your needs can be daunting. This guide will show you exactly what you need to know to design an effective mentorship network, how to evaluate your technology requirements and options, and how to use your network to increase your community’s engagement, satisfaction and overall success.

TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Why Mentoring?

give your community access to expert knowledge

Let’s examine the importance of mentoring programs and why it should be one of an organization’s top priorities.

Mentorship is defined as a relationship in which a more experienced or knowledgeable person shares expertise and guidance with a less experienced person. The mentor may be older or younger than the mentee, but they have wisdom that the mentee would benefit from.

Traditionally, the mentor-mentee relationship has been viewed as long-term, evolving and growing over an extended period of time. But the old rules have changed. In these increasingly turbulent times, mentees often need to draw on a wider range of experiences and expertise than than could possibly be offered by one or two "mentors." Mentees need the ability to quickly and efficiently tap into a broad base of willing, experienced advisors who can help them achieve their goals. Even a handful of interactions with any mentor can make a difference.

Instead of one mentor for life, today's mentees are drawn to creating a network of mentors through shorter, more frequent and impactful interactions.

Mentors

A mentee from one of our customer networks met with several mentors to learn more about an industry he was interested in and polish his interviewing skills. Those conversations prepared him to successfully land an internship and subsequent job offer the following year. Even though he spoke with a few different mentors only once or twice, he reported having several successful mentoring experiences. The diverse conversations helped him acquire the knowledge he needed quickly and efficiently.

Formal mentoring programs have become a critical tool for all types and sizes of organizations: for-profit, non-profit, and educational. They all use mentoring to:

 

Target

Hit their targets for recruitment and retention

Career Advancement

Provide career advancement opportunities

Group Management

Empower their members to network effectively

support

Cultivate a broader sense of community