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Why Your Mentoring Toolkit Shouldn't Include Spreadsheets

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Kerri Moore
Ten Thousand Coffees Team -
November 10, 2020

If you’re in charge of managing your workplace’s formal mentorship program, you probably have a toolkit of tried and tested programs and materials that foster mentoring relationships in your business.

You probably also already know that tracking the mentors and mentees relationship is never as simple as it looks.

Most HR departments start out by using a spreadsheet to keep track of mentors and mentees details, which can be a great solution if your company is only managing a handful of relationships. As your company grows, however, and mentorship goals change and evolve, it's going to get difficult — if not impossible — to track every relationship in a meaningful way using spreadsheets alone.

Here's just a few reasons why you should remove your mentoring excel sheet from your toolkit and upgrade to a more sophisticated software to provide effective mentoring matches and improve employee engagement.

A Spreadsheet isn’t Powerful Enough to Analyze Mentoring ROI

There’s no point spending the time and energy it takes to manage a great mentoring program if you haven't focused on clear goal setting and understood how your new solution will be an asset in your mentor toolkit.

The outcomes you hope to achieve from your mentoring program will be unique to your workplace and every single user, but without a tool with great features, your road to success will be long.  

Unlike spreadsheets, the right mentoring software can help you create improved employee engagement levels, higher employee retention levels, higher reported job satisfaction, and even greater satisfaction with the mentoring process itself.

It’s not easy to create an spreadsheet that can both keep track of mentorship program details and isolate the many variables that have made a mentoring program successful.

To track ROI goals, mentorship spreadsheets would have to first use factors like the mentoring relationship duration, employee experience levels, and initial interest compatibility, as well as personal factors such as stage in career, age, career paths, competencies, professional development goals etc. to show everything about participating employees. They would also require a clear record of each and every one of the mentor/mentee's meetings, any follow-up made, and any measurable details such as how frequently they occurred and how long they lasted.

Then, of course, someone will have to compare that data to see how successful the program has been over various periods of time.

Phew! I don't know about you, but just thinking about that made me break into a sweat! If you really want to use a spreadsheet to do all of this work, you’ll need a strong grasp on statistics and spreadsheet formulas, plus hours or even days available to devote to learning how to best build spreadsheet design and updates.

Spreadsheets Leave More Room for Error

Mentorship program data isn’t worth much if it isn’t accurate. It doesn't matter how many effective mentors you have, you wont prove ROI or direct individual development without precise data.

Here's just a few ways the use of spreadsheets can leave more room for error than powerful employee engagement software:

  • With software, employees can create and build their own mentorship goal matching experience. This makes it more likely that their user data stays accurate, and can lead to the best mentorship matches and improved learning experiences.

  • The best employee engagement software application can link up to the process of meeting and scheduling automatically. This is based on which records of developmental mentorship meetings can be automated and ends up saving you time and reducing the room for error.

  • Employees can enroll themselves into the group mentorship program or sign up for mentoring activities as part of a single streamlined onboarding process. That means there’s no need for anyone on the HR team to manually add new employees to the program as they’re hired.

  • With top modern employee engagement tools constantly updated by a team of experts, it’s much more likely that the analytics will be more accurate and helpful than calculations on an excel sheet. This improves data accessibility and helps you get answers to questions easily.

Making Matches between Mentors & Mentees Manually is Tedious and Difficult

As we mentioned in our post How to Build a Mentorship Program Employees Will Love, most people want to participate in a mentoring program so they can gain professional experience and further their own career goals.

Making a good mentoring match requires analyzing which employees have compatible professional interests and goals. It also requires pairing up employees who have an ideal difference of skills and experience (this article from First Round suggests an ideal difference of 5 to 10 years so that the mentor is experienced but still remembers what it was like to be in the mentees' shoes).

Finally, some program supervisors also opt to match up people based on other skills and interests they may share, whether it’s an alma mater, their current job, a local neighbourhood, or a hobby.

Analyzing each of these factors manually using an excel worksheet is tedious and difficult, and it only gets more complicated as time goes on and more people opt into the mentorship program.

The best employee engagement application, on the other hand, can help pair employees quickly using features like goal-based algorithms, which can analyze all of these factors to recommend ideal pairs in just moments.

Here’s an example of what Ten Thousand Coffees’ automated introductions can look like.

Spreadsheets aren't Scalable

As a company grows and hires more people, a mentorship spreadsheet will grow larger, more unwieldy, and increasingly difficult to use.

Even if your company doesn’t expect to see an influx of new hires anytime soon, it can be a benefit to expand your mentorship program into one that increases communication skills and cultivates relationships. This way you can match all of your team members, not just potential mentors and mentees.

As many more companies find themselves working remotely due to COVID-19 safety concerns, it’s difficult for employees to feel like they know each other. At larger companies, even when working from the office, meeting people from different departments may not happen naturally.

For that reason, it can be super valuable for companies to formalize an introduction program for employees to share and learn, and champion the benefits of mentoring company wide. Modern engagement software allows employers to introduce team members digitally, replicating what would have otherwise happened organically in-person at the water cooler, via a video conferencing application.

If you want to scale your development plans and relationship building programs in any meaningful way, you’ll need more than a spreadsheet.

Start Today with a Better Solution for Boosting Employee Engagement

The bottom line is that spreadsheets don't work for companies that want to build scalable, effective employee engagement programs in the modern world. They can be a good foundation, but companies serious about mentorship program success should find a more comprehensive answer.

Instead of relying solely on spreadsheets, HR reps should choose a top employee engagement software solution like Ten Thousand Coffees.

Ten Thousand Coffees is an enterprise software solution that’s easily accessible to every user without any need for supporting infrastructure or external dependencies.

Its powerful algorithmic based matching makes it easy to connect employees and track success metrics with one click via a central reporting platform. Employees can log in and adjust their settings, initiate connections, and leave feedback.

Schedule a demo today and learn more about how Ten Thousand Coffees can work at your organization.

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