How to Develop a Great Online Mentorship Program

3 minutes

Your business needs a workforce that’s capable of growth. Employee development can be achieved through formal training. This is a good way to get your teams capable of completing tasks. However, it doesn’t always engage employees as much as we’d like. Have you considered developing an online mentorship program?

What is an online mentorship program?

A great way to develop an employee is through mentoring. This can be for the purposes of preparing someone for a promotion or as part of training a new team member. It’s also a good way to upskill your workforce. 

Imagine an IT professional looking to expand their knowledge of streaming data. They could find a mentor with expertise in that area. Together, they could explore streaming data examples and the mentor could answer any questions. 

Mentors use their experience to help mentees gain knowledge and skills. They achieve this through close collaboration and teaching. 

In today’s working world, it’s not always easy to pair an employee with an appropriate mentor. Teams are often separated by great distances, making face-to-face mentoring a challenge. An online mentorship program can overcome this challenge.

Why your business needs an online mentorship program

How mentorship helps your business

A mentorship program can help your business in numerous ways. Listed below are just a few examples.

  • Mentorship helps to boost employee engagement.
  • It can upskill your workforce.
  • A mentorship program helps to reduce employee turnover.
  • It strengthens work culture.

An effective mentoring program helps workers feel engaged with the business. If they feel like a stakeholder, they’ll be more productive and committed. 

How mentorship helps mentees

Arguably, it’s the mentees that benefit most from an online mentorship program. Let’s examine how.

  • They gain extra skills and knowledge.
  • Mentorships helps them feel more engaged with the organisation.
  • They get someone to look up to.

Employees that are given opportunities to develop will feel more loyal to their employer. If they see a path for progression, they’ll be more motivated.

How mentorship helps mentors

Mentors gain satisfaction by helping someone develop. There’s more too. Let’s take a look.

  • Mentors are able to learn by looking through fresh eyes.
  • Mentorships help boost the mentor’s own confidence and ability.
  • It provides leadership experience.
  • Mentoring shows the mentor’s organisation that they’re ready to progress.

Successful mentors are signaling to their employers that they’re ready for more. Also, they have an opportunity to view problems and tasks through the eyes of the mentee. This can lead to the development of new and better ways of doing things.

How does an online mentorship program work?

Let’s look, in a little more detail, how an online mentorship program actually works.

3 things to consider before creating an online mentorship program

  1. What is your organisation trying to achieve? Think about what you hope to get out of mentoring. Are you prioritising new starters? Are you looking for ways to upskill your existing workforce? This will help you craft an appropriate online mentorship program.
  1. What is your budget (time and money)? How much time and money are you willing to put into this endeavor? Can you do it all yourself? Would it be more efficient and cost effective to use a service like Guider?
  1. How many employees will benefit? Answering this question informs the latter. It works vice versa too. The real answer is almost all employees can gain from mentorship. It depends on your priorities.

Matching mentors with mentees

The value of mentorship is undeniable. However, it can be difficult to connect mentors and mentees in the modern workplace. The problem is organisations often operate in disparate locations. Some people may work from home whilst others are spread around several offices. 

Using a mentorship platform, such as Guider, mentors can advertise what they can offer. Mentees can say what they’re looking for. The platform will help match them. 

For example, say one of your IT employees is looking to increase their knowledge of unified data warehouses. They would input this onto the mentorship platform. The platform will then recommend a list of potential mentors with relevant experience. The mentee can then choose to connect with one of them and their mentorship journey will begin.

Virtual mentorship

Online mentorship programs help to close the distance between people. They can meet in a virtual space. If you’re using a mentorship platform like Guider, meetings can take place using tools with which you’re already familiar. Mentors and mentees can have discussions over Zoom or Microsoft teams if the platform is integrated with them.

Building trust

During the early stages of mentorship, mentor and mentee must learn to trust each other. The mentor needs to trust that the mentee is taking the opportunity seriously. The mentee must come to trust that the mentor has the knowledge they need. 

This can be achieved through openness and honesty from both parties. The first meeting should center around getting to know each other. It’s also a good time to set goals and develop a plan for the mentorship.

Both can be secure in the knowledge that the organisation can monitor their progress. That’s done through the mentorship platform.

5 features of a great online mentorship platform

  1. Mentor and mentee matching

    The platform you choose should help match willing mentors with eager mentees. You could do this manually but it’d be a time consuming process. Guider uses AI to help match mentees with mentors best placed to help them achieve their goals.
  2. Integrated with your favorite software

    The best mentorship platforms should work with the tools you always use. Guider allows you to book mentoring sessions with Microsoft Teams or Google calendar. This means mentors and mentees can use the tools with which they’re already familiar.
  3. Goal setting and tracking

    Mentors and mentees need to be able to agree and track goals. This is how they see if the mentee is progressing. Organisations using Guider can access a dashboard. It displays the goals set for any of their mentees. This means they can see the value of the online mentorship program. They can do so without interfering with a mentoring relationship.
  4. Relationship management

    It’s important that mentoring relationships are active. This is how they succeed. Online mentorship platforms allow organisations to see how active their mentoring relationships are. If they notice a cooling off of activity, they’re free to prompt the participants if necessary.
  5. Monitoring
    Organisations can see the benefit of mentoring through reporting available on the platform. It’s good sense to ensure you’re getting a return on your investment. Platforms like Guider show how mentoring affects things like employee engagement and development. Data sharing platform features like this are vital.

How to develop a great online mentorship program step-by-step

Sign up to a mentoring platform

Begin by selecting the right platform. Look for one with the following features.

  • World-class matching
  • Customisable programs
  • Integrations with your favorite communication tools
  • Expert support
  • User-friendly UI

Take your time and do your research. You can book a demo with Guider to see how it all works.

Design your online mentorship program

Begin by defining your goals as an organisation. Next, think about why mentors and mentees may sign up. Now consider how people can sign up. If you’re using a platform like Guider, that bit’s easy. Users simply create a profile and the AI matching technology takes over from there.

Promote the program

Get the word out. Let people know how they’ll benefit from participating. You’ll need to generate some interest to make your program a success.

You’ll have to consider that mentorship takes time. That means sacrificing some productive time for the sake of the mentorship. Let people know they’ll have time to do this. Don’t worry though. You’ll get increased productivity as a result of this program. This also means getting leadership to buy into the concept. They may have concerns so use your research to prepare some persuasive arguments.

Potential mentors and mentees create a profile

Participants can now create profiles on the platform. Participants provide details on their skills, interests, and experience. They’ll also fill in other relevant information.

Mentoring platform matches participants

Without using a platform, your HR team could match mentors and mentees. This can be a time-consuming and flawed process though. Using a platform like Guider is a labor saver. AI algorithms match relevant profiles with each other in an unbiased and efficient way.

Monitor and evaluate

You’ve done it, your programme is underway! However, there’s more to do. You have to monitor the progress of your online mentorship program. 

Determine some key performance indicators (KPIs) before launch. Consider things like overall skills, engagement, and volume of participation. Periodically check in with participants and gather feedback. This is useful for running programs in the future. You can tweak things as you go on as well.

Experts making experts

Mentors have experience and expertise they can share with others. With an online mentorship program, you can have experts making new experts. Developing your workforce doesn’t have to be hard work. With an online mentoring platform like Guider, it couldn’t be easier.

The Complete Mentoring Toolkit

Everything you need to create and scale an effective workplace mentoring programme. Includes: setup checklist, matching guide, expert advice, proving ROI and much more.

What's next?

Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways Guider can help you supercharge your L&D with mentoring:

See how much mentoring can save your business with our ROI calculator

We've crunched the numbers from all of our customers to work out the financial value of mentorship to businesses. It might be just what you need to get executive buy-in... Click here to calculate.

Build your own mentoring programme

If you're looking to build and launch a mentoring programme in your organisation, then our guide is the best place to start. Read now.

Get a no-obligation quote for Guider's mentoring software

We get it, you want to know the price. Book a 20-minute call with our team and get a custom pricing proposal for your organisation. If it doesn't work for you, there's zero obligation to buy. Book now.

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