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How to measure the impact of mentoring

March 15, 2023 Coaching and Mentoring

measuring mentoring impact

Introduction

Mentoring is an effective way to develop employees’ skills and knowledge, but how do you measure its impact? In this article, we’ll explore various methods and measures that businesses can use to evaluate the effectiveness of mentoring programs.

Individual Level

For individuals, self-reporting is a common way to measure the impact of mentoring. Mentees can provide feedback through surveys, questionnaires, and interviews to report their experiences and benefits. However, it is important to note that this method is subject to biases, particularly if the mentee has had a negative experience. Other ways to assess improvements in skills and behaviours include peer review of the mentee and more formal performance-based measures. For instance, a direct manager can provide feedback on performance areas before and after the mentoring intervention, and the results can be compared to show any changes in performance.

Organisational Level

On the organisational level, there are several HR measures that can be used to assess the impact of mentoring. One key measure is employee retention, which is also used to measure the impact of training, promotion opportunities, bonuses, and workplace policies and procedures. If not already in place, employee retention can be assessed retrospectively based on employee data. Another measure is employee satisfaction surveys, which may already be an ongoing study. However, if not, it would need to be deployed before and after the intervention to measure any uplift in satisfaction within the businesses. To get a truer picture of the impact, the survey can be blind-tested with mentors and mentees against those employees who were not involved in the program.

Showing an impact on return on investment (ROI) is also possible if the invention is approached in the right way. It is harder to prove ROI for mentoring than coaching since the impact of mentoring takes longer to be perceived and recognized. In such cases, the hard costs and resource costs of the program would be calculated and compared to the opportunity costs of hiring new staff and training them based on the increase in retention. Direct performance ROI would be even harder to assess due to the number of factors that influence that number. However, blind testing could give a reasonable assessment of the impact of mentoring.

A different approach is to consider Return on Expectation (ROE), developed and coined by Donald Kirkpatrick in the 1950s and further developed since. “By progressing through each of the levels, training evaluators can build a ‘chain of evidence’ which links learning directly with organisational performance” (“Training Evaluation: Kirkpatrick Four Levels and ROE TrainingCheck“). Stakeholders’ expectations of the intervention are clarified before the intervention, and “clear and precise” (“Training Evaluation”) success indicators are aligned with these expectations. During and after the intervention, the actual indicators are assessed and reported back to the stakeholders. This approach is indirect and cannot offer a direct quantification of investment ‘in’ and an increase in revenue or profitability ‘out’.

Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Both qualitative and quantitative research can be used to measure the impact of mentoring on both individuals and organisations. Qualitative research deals with the collection and analysis of non-numerical data such as words, images, and observations. This type of research would usually take the form of focus groups designed to gain a more in-depth understanding of the impact on both individuals and their organisations. This type of assessment is more likely to uncover more nuanced benefits to individuals and the organisation that couldn’t be built into quantitative research. However, if qualitative research is undertaken first, those insights can be included in quantitative surveys to understand whether the insights held true at an organisational level.

Conclusion

In conclusion, assessing the impact of mentoring is an essential aspect of any mentoring program, as it provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of the program and its benefits for both mentees and their organizations. As discussed in one of our previous articles on the benefits of mentoring, a successful mentoring program can improve employee retention, job satisfaction, and productivity.

To evaluate the impact of mentoring, a combination of qualitative and quantitative data can be collected, including self-reported data from mentees, feedback from managers, and performance-based measures. In addition, existing HR measures, such as employee retention and satisfaction surveys, can also be used to assess the impact at an organizational level.

Measuring the impact of mentoring can be challenging, but it is essential to determine the return on investment of the program. By using a combination of evaluation methods, and understanding their organisational context, they can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of mentoring and identify areas for improvement.

Overall, mentoring is an effective way to develop employees and drive business growth. By implementing a robust and effective mentoring program and regularly assessing its impact, businesses can ensure that they are maximizing the benefits of mentoring for both individuals and the organization as a whole.