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Evaluating the benefits of mentoring

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Evaluating the benefits of mentoring

Evaluating the benefits of mentoring
Source: Mike Toten, HR Writer/ Consultant)

A mentoring program walks something of a tightrope between being allowed to evolve informally between the parties without interference and pressures to evaluate its effectiveness. A program will involve costs - time, resources and administrative support - and as always the HR function will be required to present a business case to justify the program.

The interactive nature of mentoring means that it is likely to have multiple effects, many of which will be difficult to quantify and some of which will be unexpected. Nevertheless, some quantitative measurements are possible, assuming that goals for the mentoring program were clearly established in the first place.

Measurement criteria

The three main criteria are:

  1. Whether the goals of the program were achieved
  2. What the program actually achieved
  3. Cost/benefit analysis of results

These measures involve collecting the following data:

  • Performance of the person mentored - indicators include performance assessment outcomes, career progression, skill/competency levels, initiatives taken, changes in attitudes and values.
  • Evaluation by the person mentored - perceptions and satisfaction level with both the mentor and the mentoring program.
  • Evaluation by the mentor - perceptions and satisfaction level with the program, and willingness to act as a mentor again.
  • Costs of program - will include time spent in meetings, projects, etc by both parties, training of both parties, initial briefings, provision of resources, administrative support and the evaluation process.
  • Other organisation-wide measurements - for example the impact of the program on labour turnover, diversity, affirmative action and suitability of employees for succession planning.
  • Interest level of other employees not involved in the program at becoming mentors or proteges.

Both mentors and the mentored employees should be interviewed separately, or at least required to complete a detailed survey to obtain their feedback. A joint interview/discussion may also be worthwhile.
Some organisations have also used comparisons with a control group of equivalent employees who were not involved in a mentoring program.

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