🦋2 simple ways of setting up your Mentoring program in RandomCoffee

This article is designed for Administrators who are looking to configure and launch effective mentoring programs for their team members. By following this step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to create a structured and engaging mentoring experience that fosters professional growth and collaboration within your organization.

Let's get started! 🙌

1. Configure new categories

Participant Type

  • Start by creating a new category called “Participant type”, and choose the dropdown type.

  • Define the category values: “Mentee” and “Mentor”.

Note that, with this configuration, a Mentor cannot also be a Mentee.

Skills to learn

  • Create another category entitled "[Only for Mentees] I want to learn..." which Mentees can use to choose the skill they want to learn.

  • Select the dropdown list option.

  • Define the category values with the list of skills Mentees can choose.

With this configuration, Mentees can select only 1 skill to learn.

Example:

  • Communication

  • Team Management

  • Conflict resolution

  • Work-life balance

  • Time Management

  • Problem-Solving

  • Project Management

  • Business acumen

  • Client engagement

Skills to teach

  • Do the same for the skills the Mentors propose to teach: create a new category called “[Only for Mentors] I can teach…” and select the dropdown list option.

  • Define the category values with same list of skills than the one defined for Mentees.

Other categories (departments, location…)

For now, you have 3 categories linked to the Mentorship initiative.

Feel free to add others (like Department, Location, etc.) to refine your matching rules within your program.

2. Configure your program

Choose your preferred setup

🤔 You probably won't have the perfect number of Mentors to match with Mentees.

It’s up to you to decide whether:

OPTION 1️⃣ → Groups should be composed of a strict number of Mentor(s) and Mentee(s) (1 Mentor + 1 Mentee, or 1 Mentor + 2 Mentees, for example), and some Mentees might not be matched if there are more Mentees than Mentors. 👉 In this case, you’ll have to choose the “Group Composer” matchmaking rule.

OPTION 2️⃣ → All Mentors and Mentees have to be matched at each session, even if some Mentees might be matched together if there are more Mentees than Mentors. 👉 In this case, you’ll have to choose the “Cross-Groups” matchmaking rule.

Set up your program

Program settings

  • Choose “Automatic participation” for the type of participation, in the “Settings” tab.*

*The algorithm used for this type of use case is the Group Composer. With this algorithm, the default type of participation is “Automatic participation”.

Matchmaking rules

  • In the “Matchmaking” tab, select the “Group Composer” algorithm, and a group size of 2.

  • In the “Group(s) distribution” field, select “Mentee” for Seat 1, and “Mentor” for Seat 2.

Pro tip

With this setting, the Group composer algorithm will only create groups with 1 Mentor and 1 Mentee. If there are more Mentees than Mentors, some Mentees will not be matched.

In this case, you have two possibilities:

  1. If you have twice as many Mentees as Mentors (or more) → you can create groups including 1 Mentor and 2 Mentees (select a group size of 3, and define 3 seats: 1 Mentor + 1 Mentee + 1 Mentee).

  2. If you have more Mentees than Mentors (but less than the double number) → you can leave the settings like this, and indicate in your communication messages that some Mentees may not be matched this round depending on the number of Mentors and Mentees joining the initiative, but that they’ll be matched during the next one.

For the moment, as we do not have any member with the “Mentor” or “Mentee” category value in the list, we have a “no-one found” message under each seat. That’s normal 😉

  • Then, add the matching rules, to ensure that Mentors and Mentees are matched together depending on the skills they have chosen in the form: add “cross-groups” rules, selecting a skill in the “I want to learn…” list, and matching it with the same skill in the “I can teach…” list. Select “to match” between values.

  • Add as many rules of this type as you have skills in your list. In our case, we have 9 rules (because 9 skills).

  • Additionally, you can add cross-category rules relying on other categories (like Department, for example), preventing people from the same department to be matched together.

Communication

  • In the “Communication” tab of your program, select your preferred communication channel, between Emails, Slack or Microsoft Teams.

  • For the Audience, select only Mentors & Mentees (from the “Participant type” list).

  • Then, customize your match message:

    • If you're using the Email communication channel, choose a subject (e.g.: "Your new buddy in the context of the Mentoring program at {{company_name}}"

    • In the matching details, add the "Participant type" merge tag to indicate which member is the Mentor and which member is the Mentee

    • You can also add the "I can teach" and "I want to learn" merge tags successively (like in the example below) so that we can know what skills have been chosen by each member.

In the case when there is a divergence between the skills each member selected, we recommend adding the following message:

"🧐 Is there a divergence between the skills that each of you wish to acquire/teach? The matchmaking algorithm does its best to match you according to the skills you have selected, but this can happen given the number of people participating in the initiative and the skills each of them has indicated. In this case, we invite the Mentee to take advantage of the Mentor's experience with the skill he or she has entered! 😉"

  • Add an "How does it work" section, detailing next steps for Mentors and Mentees.

If you plan to have Mentors and Mentees paired for a period of 6 months, here is an example of message to include in your communication:

"How does it work?

  • Now that you are matched, you have the freedom to arrange meetings at your own pace over the next 6 months. We recommend bi-weekly meetings, as regularity is key to success!

  • In 6 months, each mentee will be paired with a new mentor (and vice-versa) to broaden your learning experience and networking opportunities."

3. Communicate about the Mentoring program & get your list of Mentors/Mentees growing over time

Announce the mentorship program via your preferred internal communication tool, and invite people to join as a Mentee or a Mentor.

The methodology then differs slightly depending on whether or not you already have members on your platform.

  • Ensure all the categories created in step 1 are visible to members (the "Hide category to members" field must be "NO", as shown below), and eventually hide others.

  • In your official communication, invite your Members to fill in their information (Mentor/Mentee, skills, etc.) from their Member Portal directly. They can access their Member Portal via this link: https://app.random-coffee.com/account.

  • With this mechanism, if a member indicates in their Member Portal that he's a Mentor, he will be included in the Audience of the program! Note that if you don't want all your members to be able to join the initiative, you should use the "csv import" mechanism, decribed later.

  • You can specify in your communication that Mentees will get matched with a new Mentor every 6 months for example (it will depend on what you announced in your Communication message in step 2, and on the frequency of the sessions you will define in step 4).

If the Member Portal is deactivated, or if you don't want all the Members of your RandomCoffee platform to be able to join the initiative:

  1. Collect the information regarding the "Participant type" and skills through a form sent outside of RandomCoffee. Read the Step 1 (Configure categories) to understand which values to collect.

  2. Gather the data in an Excel file, with:

    • 1 column called "Participant type" (values = "Mentor" or "Mentee")

    • 1 column called "I want to learn" (values = 1 skill)

    • 1 column called "I can teach" (values = 1 skill)

4. Plan your sessions

Once you have enough Mentors and Mentees having joined the initiative (you can check this in the Audience of your program in the "Communication" tab as shown in the screenshot below), let's plan your sessions!

It's up to you to decide at which frequency Mentees need to be matched with new Mentors (and vice-versa).

In our example, we decided to get Mentees matched with Mentors for a period of 6 months. So let's plan a first session in June, and another one in January.

  • In the "Sessions" tab of your program, select "Schedule a new round".

  • Define the date when you match message will be sent, and the timezone in which it will be sent.

  • Select "One time only" for the recurrence.

  • Create another session 6 months later, and so on.

Now, wait until the connections happen, and analyse results!

By following this guide, you have set up a structured and effective mentoring program that promotes skill development, knowledge sharing, and meaningful connections. Congratulations! ✨