27 Apr 22 Improving Engagement in Mentoring Programmes
Developing and establishing a mentorship programme requires time and thought, and after you’ve taken the effort to do so, it’ll be a key priority for coordinators to maintain engagement, and involvement, to ensure the programme is worthwhile and productive.
In this week’s article, we take a look at a few ideas that can help you with maintaining and increasing mentoring programme engagement and participation.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate –
This might be a bit of a ‘no-brainer’, but if a Mentee is not motivated when they first enrol in a mentoring programme, it will be much more difficult to raise their engagement and participation levels, throughout.
What can be done to help things get off to a good start? Define clearly what skills the mentee is looking to gain from such a programme to make sure the match-making process gets off to the best possible start.
Communicate with participants from the start – provide them with a clear overview of what they can expect from you, and what you expect in return from them. We say it often, but mentoring is a two-way street, there should be an emphasis on the point that the more they put into the programme, the more they can expect to get out of it.
Importantly, let your Mentees know that you are here to help them – encourage them to reach out to you if they need to, and make sure they know how best to do this.
Share Success Stories
Demonstrating the advantages of mentoring programmes can be motivating in and of itself.
For those who have run previous programmes, creating easy-to-read, relatable case studies that illustrate historic success stories is an ideal way to highlight benefits. For example, how did former mentees feel at the end of the programme? How did mentoring enable the participant to achieve their educational or professional goals?
Those of us who are active in mentoring programmes or have a history with mentoring relationships know that there are significant benefits to mentoring, including enhanced communication skills, improved self-awareness, and leadership development – so don’t be hesitant about shouting about the positive outcomes that mentoring can provide. As we say at sfG MentorNet, #MentoringMatters.
Not only can these stories be motivating and encourage engagement and participation in those who have signed up for mentoring, but they can be used across other channels such as your website and social media for showcasing to potential future mentees, too!
Strategically plan content and resources
When sharing resources and content with your mentees, why not consider adopting a drip-feeding approach, and offer materials such as websites, articles, and podcasts – periodically, avoiding the risk of overwhelming participants and actively encouraging them to engage when fresh content is released?
With sfG MentorNet, not only can you customise the resource section, you can also set up ‘alerts’ to allow participants to easily see when new content has become available. This can pique interest, and provide a new boost of momentum!
Be Open to Feedback
From time to time, participants may just need a nudge, not everyone will have the same time to spare for the programme, and it’s easy to push work back here and there, without realising you are at risk of falling behind. Procrastination – we’ve all been there!
An alternative way to open the door to a conversation, rather than just simply ‘checking in’, is by prompting mentors and mentees to fill in feedback, or evaluation forms.
Evaluations are an important part of any mentoring programme – not only can you source valuable information on the mentoring programme and individual relationships – but they can provide an easier way of gaining insight into a particular mentor and mentee’s current motivations and engagement level, allowing programme leads the opportunity, where possible, to re-work their approach.
With sfG MentorNet, you can create evaluations and share these with participants throughout their journey on the sfG MentorNet platform.
Be open to change
Sometimes, things may not work out – and that’s okay. You just need to be prepared to facilitate any necessary changes. An example of this could be a mentor match that isn’t working out. This doesn’t mean the mentee needs to automatically be ‘written out’, but you may need to think on your feet and source a new, suitable match.
In order to be best prepared for change, and to navigating your mentees and mentors through this – you can create a mentoring plan before implementing a programme. A mentoring plan can provide you with a strategic framework for the programme – but it can also act as a continuance plan, when met with certain events such as the above example, or a mentee or mentor having to leave the programme for any given reason.
Make it Easy for Mentors and Mentees
Okay, so maybe we are a bit biased here – but we know that many mentoring schemes continue to be managed through programmes such as Microsoft Word, or Excel. We applaud mentoring programmes on all levels, but we are here to make life a little bit easier for administrators.
Investing in a mentoring software such as sfG MentorNet allows programme leads, mentors and mentees easy access to messaging and communication features – as well as the ability to track progress, previous communications, evaluations, and reporting. SfG MentorNet users can take mentoring on the move, using our mobile phone app too! What’s not to love?
If you would like to arrange a free demo of sfG MentorNet, or organise a 30-day free trial, why not reach out to the team today.