How Much Does a Successful Mentoring Program Cost?
October 2 2023
Mentorship has become mandatory in most organizations due to the increased focus on skill development, employee satisfaction, employee retention, career advancement, etc. In comparison, many companies have been running mentoring programs for decades. Some of the newly formed companies are still struggling to understand the nuances of the training process and how they can get started with one in their organization.
This article delves into the importance of mentoring in corporate environments and considers these programs cost-effectively.
What Are Mentoring Programs?
Enterprise mentoring programs are training and development sessions involving a mentee who has lesser experience in a particular field, seeking professional guidance from experienced professionals such as an experienced mentor or senior executive to build specific skills. Corporate mentorship programs could be structured in various formats based on the needs of the employer, mentor, and mentee.
We all know that a boat is a medium to take a traveler from one shore to another. However, it becomes challenging to navigate the boat correctly and reach the destination in time without a boatman. Similarly, a mentor is like a boatman in the life of an employee who desires to achieve some career goals. And mentoring is the process by which this knowledge is shared between two or a group of people in an organization.
Formal programs can be conducted in organizations of different sizes and industries. Whether you are a small business or a multinational enterprise, innovative mentoring programs can be structured in various ways to suit your organizational requirements and objectives.
How to Estimate The Cost for A Successful Mentoring Program?
With an understanding of what mentoring programs are, it is natural for an organization to have questions on how to structure the average cost associated with these programs and what should be accounted for while deciding the budget of a mentoring program.
Budgeting for your mentoring program can be a daunting task. But it can be simplified by considering bite-sized milestones. Ask the following questions to derive answers that can help you arrive at an ideal budget for your program.
1-Who will conduct the professional program for your organization?
This question is primarily asked to understand if you are interested in conducting the program yourself or would like to hire an external consultant to run your program. Smaller companies would want to use in-house resources to implement the program as they may not have room for additional costs for association-led mentoring programs. However, mid-size and larger organizations can bring a third-party training company to organize mentoring sessions more effectively. Additionally, there is another option of investing in online mentoring software that can seamlessly integrate technology to help you achieve your organization's mentoring goals and business goals.
Here's a quick comparison of the three ways of conducting a high-impact mentoring program -
Do it yourself
Hire a consultant
Invest in software
In this situation, you create a task force within your company to run these programs with identified executives.
Here, you bring an external agency onboard to take care of your organization’s mentoring needs to conduct structured programs.
This is where you purchase online mentoring software to effectively perform mentoring tasks, and conduct training sessions.
Investment of Time
You will have to account for the hours of work your team puts in to run these programs. These are non-billable hours that go into identifying program participants, program format, program style, program budget, KPI measurement, etc.
All the time invested in conducting mentoring programs belongs to the third-party company and not your in-house resources. This enables your team to clock in more billable hours of work while attending training sessions.
As there is automation involved, there is very little time that gets invested by a human. Your team can simply access the mentoring software and participate in the training sessions while continuing to perform other project-related tasks.
The associated cost may vary depending on the seniority of resources selected to manage the mentoring program, the number of hours needed, and the duration of the program. For a 12-month program that needs 100 man hours of effort at the rate of $50 per hour, it would cost around $5,000 for the program execution.
Hiring a consultant is one of the most expensive ways to conduct training programs within an organization. It may cost anywhere between $30,000 to $55,000 depending on the number of participants and sessions your company decides.
An online mentoring program can be a cost-efficient way to conduct enterprise mentoring programs as there is just a one-time cost of purchasing the software. The price of an online software would start at $3,000
This involves manual reporting with a keen focus on predetermined metrics. Reporting would typically be associated with participant surveys, self-assessment, etc.
Reporting would be slightly detailed in this format as the agency would delve deeper into deriving valuable insights from the program that could help in altering the course in the future for better outcomes.
Since it's a software that conducts the programs, it presents an analytical dashboard with complete visibility of the program performance along with desired metrics to measure success.
2- What would be your program goal?
The program's purpose and your association goals would also influence the cost of development of your mentoring program. For instance, a program for increasing employee retention rates may incur lesser charges than skill development programs that would require heavy investments in specific skill learning courses.
3- How many programs would you like to conduct?
It is wise to decide the program level and the number of programs you would like to conduct in a year for a valuable mentoring experience. As the number of programs increases, so will the overall cost of mentoring programs.
4- What would your audience demographics and size look like?
Have you wondered what your audience profile would look like? Would it have freshers, mid-level executives, senior business leaders, or C-suite executives? Based on your participant profile, you will have to consider the billable hours they would have to forego to attend the training. Moreover, you will need to account for the size of your audience to consider the overall cost.
5- Are you considering a city-wide, state-wide, nation-wide, or global program?
Have you decided whether the mentorship session would be conducted in a face-to-face format or on a virtual platform? If it is the former, you will have to consider accommodation, hospitality, transportation, and other additional expenses based on the geographies you are catering to. A virtual event may not need these considerations.
6- How much control would you want to have in your program?
If you want complete control in your program, you may need to micro-manage several tasks of busy people. It would naturally increase costs for your resources invested in the activity. However, if you regulate the control you have in the program, you could optimize the costs accordingly.
7- How will you provide training to your mentors and mentees?
A successful mentoring program requires program participants to be trained well for interactive mentor-mentee relationships. Are you looking for face-to-face communication, pre-recorded e-learning courses, or live virtual sessions? The first one would be considered costliest than the other two. So, think about what would give you the right balance between cost and effectiveness.
8- How would you like to measure the success of your program?
You would want to close the loop by measuring the performance of your programs. But how would you do it? Will it be through surveys conducted by in-house resources, detailed agency reports, or online software to record intricate metrics? It will significantly impact the overall cost of your program.
What Are The Factors to Be Considered While Deciding The Budget of A Mentoring Program?
Here’s a quick checklist of how you can calculate the expenses of your program.
Staff compensation and benefits
Mentoring program head
Administration staff for managing the data and meetings
Billable hours of program participants
Marketing strategies and activities
Background verification tasks
Training tool kits
Program execution expenses
Transportation for program participants
Food and beverages for participants, if conducted in a physical formal
Stationery and other office supplies
Welcome and Thank You kits for participants
Events during the program (awards, dinners, sight-seeing, parties
For face-to-face communication- office space rent, internet service, furniture
For virtual mentoring programs - online platform’s cost
How Are Mentorship Programs Funded?
Some organizations seek funding for their programs, which could be many reasons for this. For instance, you may believe that nothing good in this world comes for free. Going by this, it would be wise to charge a fee to your mentees who are selected and willing to attend the program. Another way to fund your program is by securing sponsorship. If corporate sponsors with aligned business objectives can be reached out to, there is a good chance that they would support your program.
Getting Started with A Cost-efficient Mentoring Program
With a thorough understanding of how to estimate the budget of your career mentorship program, it is time to kickstart your program. Being mindful of the associated expenses will help you optimize your program for maximum success. Running an effective program on an online mentoring platform requires diligence, determination, and much data. With these 3 factors in your hand, you can confidently organize a high-impact mentoring program with ease.