Depending on the way your mentoring program is run, there are different ways to manage uneven numbers of participants. Here are a few ways you can manage this issue.
Explore Peer Mentoring
If you anticipate that your organisation or cohort won’t have enough people to fill the role of mentor, a peer-to-peer setup might be something to consider. This works particularly well for programs that aim to promote more cross-functional teamwork, those focused on DEI, or always-on programs that aim to build a stronger organisational culture.
Ask Participants About Their Capacity
If you suspect an uneven split from the start, consider including a capacity question on your sign-up form. This can help you find mentors and mentees who would like to or have the capacity to handle multiple matches.
Post-launch / After matching
If you find that after matching there are participants who are without a match, there are a few things you can do:
Create Group Loops
Put some mentees or mentors who maybe have a few things in common in a Group Loop. This gives them an opportunity to connect with others in the program and maybe even open up opportunities for peer mentoring.
Reassure Unmatched Participants
Let unmatched mentors or mentees know that you are actively trying to recruit more participants and that you’ll be running another round of matching, with them being the priority.
Ask your mentees or mentors if they want to opt into having more matches. Chances are, there are some in your cohort that would put their hand up to mentor more people or would love the opportunity to add to their Personal Advisory Board.
Another thing you can do is ask some of your mentees if they would be willing to also be a mentor. Sometimes, people don’t put their hand up to mentor because they don’t believe they’re “senior” or “experienced” enough to mentor. Make sure to communicate that everyone has something to share, and that sometimes, the best mentor isn’t the most senior in the field - it’s the one who’s just that little bit ahead of the mentee.
Early on in your program, you have an opportunity to run a second recruitment drive to encourage those who were maybe on the fence to get another chance to sign up.
- Tip #1 Assigning a deadline may give a sense of urgency
- Tip #2 As mentioned previously, it’s good to let potential participants know that they don’t have to be at the peak of their career or the most experienced in their teams to be a mentor. This can ease some apprehension for those who may want to mentor but don’t think they have much to contribute yet.
Enable participants to be 'Either'
When building your sign up form, you have the option to customise your form so participants can select to be a 'Mentor', 'Mentee' or 'Either'. Not all programs have the 'Either' option enabled, but doing so gives you more flexibility with your ratios, so that if you don't have enough mentors, you can ask your participants to update their profiles so that they can be 'Either', and in the matching process, make them mentors.
Defer and Prioritise
If it really doesn’t look like you’ll be able to match everyone, let the unmatched participants know that they can defer to the next cohort where they’ll be prioritised for matching.
Advice from our Customer Success team:"Don't let the fear of uneven numbers stop you from launching. There's many ways to manage this, should it come up." - Georgia