Free mentoring software vs Paid mentoring software? Which one is the right for you? You can explore 14 factors to consider and some options you have...
14 Factors to Consider When Choosing Mentoring Platforms
Here are 14 key aspects when reviewing mentoring platforms for your program, including configurability, expertise, automation and reporting.
The mentoring software market has been getting more crowded in the last 5 years.
We do often hear customers comment "I remember researching 5 years ago and there wasn't much, it's surprising to see so many today"
Here are 14 factors to review to decide which ones are the best for you.
Are you converting from another platform or a manual process?
You can ask for the vendor to import existing profiles and matches for a smooth transition.
You should also look for your vendor to assign a dedicated customer success manager for admin training (usually should be 30 minutes) and if it would be helpful to have a video for the participants to review.
Integration support and other setup items should also be assisted with by the vendor with your IT.
2. Program Design
Program design involves going over who the program is for, program goal, roles and expectations, duration, expected commitment and acceptance criteria.
Then, based on the program goal (career guidance program, high potentials program etc.), your vendor could provide you with the right matching, structure, training, facilitation, and reporting template so that you don't have to create yourself.
This is when your mentors and mentees join the program by registering in the mentoring software system. During this process, it could be as light touch as people registering on the platform or with a kick-off event facilitated by your customer success manager or a professional trainer.
4. Mentor Matching
There are several different solutions here. The decision comes to how high touch you'd like the matching process to be?
- Fully automated?
- Admin to review the suggestions before confirming?
- Mentee or mentor driven?
- Manually assigned?
And who will complete the introduction process.
These are some options you can review to see if the vendor you'll go with carries these.
5. Mentor-Mentee Training
Mentees and especially mentors benefit from training to be good mentors and mentees.
What creates the learning experience in a mentorship program are the mentors.
So the material needs to be professionally prepared, easy to consume (length and video to be considered) and delivered to where employees spend time (email, teams, slack, mobile).
The training should also be ongoing where a training is provided in the beginning and on an ongoing basis.
You can also ask to see if your vendors have professional trainers for live trainings as well.
6. Relationship Facilitation
This is usually the more overlooked part.
In some mentorship programs, mentees will know what to ask to the mentors to pull the information from the mentor.
However, in some mentorship programs, mentees may not even know what to ask the mentor.
Or you might want to same some bandwidth for the mentor and give some meeting topic suggestions.
In this case, it's helpful that your software vendor automatically sends out mentorship meeting topics and agendas to facilitate relationships.
Bonus points for calendar and video call integration.
This is where you can look for flexibility on structure:
And how these are laid out. Do you need to launch multiple mentorship programs for each or can you do it under one roof.
Depending on your preference, you can keep an eye out on this during your research.
Will you be looking to gather feedbacks on if the relationships are moving forward in a healthy way?
Are the trainings complete, are mentorship meetings happening, are goals being set?
Are the mentees happy with their mentors?
Are the mentors happy with the mentees?
This data is usually manually collected but you can expect your vendor to have a system here.
How are you looking to report on this program?
Usually reporting boils down to how the program affected careers, skills, and inclusion.
Did your employees make career moves, how is their belonging, are they more confident in their skills?
There are key questions you can ask and this survey should be provided by your vendor and automatically sent based on a schedule.
Finally, using analytics, survey results and potentially HRIS integration reports, you can plugin results to an ROI calculator.
Here are the key integrations you can look for:
- Video Call
- Collaboration System
Depending on your needs, you can review with your vendor to see if they offer the integrations with your systems.
11. Global Access
Is the vendor GDPR Ready?
Is their support team ready for global hours?
Do they carry multiple languages?
You can review this criteria to decide if your vendor can support your program.
12. Mobile Access
Do you have employees who are on the go that are not desk bound?
If your employees use other tools on mobile, you may want to consider your vendor to have a mobile application as well.
13. Teams/Slack Access
The pandemic turned Microsoft Teams and Slack environments into new offices.
Does your vendor integrate with these systems to provide updates, training, next steps and interactions right where your employees spend their time?
Would this be beneficial to you?
Your IT likely has requirements here on SOC II, encryption, ISO 270001 and FedRAMP for government organizations.
And your IT will likely need a questionnaire filled out by your vendor for approval.
You can expect your vendor to assist in these steps.
Mentor software helps with expertise, automation and reporting of your program so you spend a few hours instead of weeks to manage the program. If you're trying to understand if you need a mentoring software, this article could be helpful.