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<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Evaluate Whether Our Mentors Have Benefited From Training?

November 5, 2007
Dear Clueless:

Measuring the effectiveness of mentor programs is always challenging. Even if you philosophically agree that mentor programs are a valuable way to develop and retain talent, the question will arise about assessing your return on investment from the program. In establishing a mentor program, it's important to focus on the following questions prior to establishing success metrics:
■ Who is eligible to participate in the program? Is it restricted to high potentials or managers at a certain level in the organization?
■ What is the overall objective of the program? Is it focused on employee assimilation, development, retention or some other combination of objectives?
■ What type of people should be mentors to others? What specific attributes or skills should they have?
■ How formal versus informal should your mentoring program be?
■ How frequently should the organization measure the effectiveness of the program?
Investing in training for mentors is an important aspect of a successful program. Measuring the impact and effectiveness of mentors can be accomplished in a variety of ways including:
1. Gathering feedback from those being mentored. Do they feel their mentor is helpful in building skills, capabilities and insights that help them be more effective on a daily basis?
2. Measuring performance improvements of those being mentored:
a. Improvement in performance management ratings (year-over-year competency development and business results achievement).
b. Improvement in retention levels of high performers and others that received mentoring.
c. Measurement of the success of mentored individuals upon advancing to new roles with greater responsibility.
In assessing the effectiveness of a mentoring program, it's critical to go beyond asking for feedback from those who receive mentoring. This feedback is important but needs to be augmented by the types of analysis suggested above. The specific metrics that each organization puts in place should tie back to the stated objectives of the mentor program.
SOURCE: Garrett J. Sheridan, managing partner, Axiom Consulting Partners, Chicago, October 5, 2007.
LEARN MORE: Please read Mentoring Matters to learn how and why more organizations are pairing seasoned employees with promising high potentials.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.


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