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“Everything we know, we learned from someone else.”

It’s the famous quote by John Wooden, the legendary college basketball coach who also inspired countless business leaders on how to maximize employee development opportunities to achieve organizational success.

And while the statement may not be entirely true, it certainly has merit.

Whether we think of ourselves in the role of daughter, son, friend, teacher, parent, peer, brother, sister, colleague, employee or executive, we can probably all attest to the fact that we learn more from the people around us than ever would be possible on our own.

Perhaps this is why mentoring is considered one of the most valuable learning and development opportunities organizations can provide. Organizations that invest in mentoring will tell you that the benefits are tangible and the business impact is real.

How mentoring can drive employee and organizational success

Not only do mentoring programs accelerate employee productivity but they encourage more widespread workforce mobility. Organizations realize the value of mentoring for enhancing work life, performance, commitment and job satisfaction. When mentoring is implemented successfully, there are measurable improvements in employee performance, retention, engagement, leadership growth and succession planning. Indeed, companies that use mentoring are more likely to build bench strength and have readily available successors in place for key roles.

Common problems in mentoring programs

But what about the large amount of time and effort it takes HR leaders to set up and run mentoring programs? In my discussions with organizations of different industries, sizes and geographies certainly one common theme has been that while mentoring can be incredibly effective, it can be resource intensive. Consider the fact that it can take up to three weeks for organizations just to set up a program when running them through spreadsheets. Organizations will tell you that the process of hand-matching mentors and mentees is not only time consuming but also not “smart” enough. As a result, many organizations report high dropout rates and often struggle to make programs successful. Mentors and mentees go on to say that it’s often difficult to get connected, collaborate and engage with one another in ways that drive real benefit. Furthermore, most organizations report that mentoring programs, and learning partnerships in general, are often difficult to track, measure and scale.

This is where our new mentoring capabilities, launched in Q4 2016 and delivered as part of SAP SuccessFactors Succession and Development come into play to help companies significantly decrease the time and effort it takes to run innovative, intelligent mentoring programs.

The power of an intelligent algorithm when it comes to matching

So how are our mentoring capabilities unique? First, we simplify mentoring by removing the historically manual and intensive administrative work around mentoring programs. We do this by automatically and intelligently matching mentors based on skills and competencies, and a number of other factors, to help ensure mentoring is equitable and inclusive — creating an optimal match between mentor and mentee.

Automatic mentor-mentee matching leverages the power of an intelligent algorithm

In addition, our mentoring solution is comprehensive meaning that user friendly tools help facilitate the set up and launch of programs, the inviting of mentees and mentors, the ongoing collaboration between participants, the tracking of programs, and the measurement of programs. Through planned real-time feedback surveys and reporting, HR leaders can efficiently monitor progress and employee development as well as measure engagement from start to end.

A user-friendly wizard makes it easy to launch new programs

Third, our mentoring capabilities are integrated with our HCM suite which allows for a seamless experience between mentoring and other talent management processes such as employee onboarding, career development, performance management, succession planning, etc. versus being a standalone effort.

New collaboration tools drive better engagement

So, what is new regarding our SAP SuccessFactors mentoring solution? Well, we all know that a good mentoring relationship is defined by the willingness and ability of mentors and mentees to engage – that is, to communicate, share ideas and content, transfer knowledge and experience, ask questions and even challenge one another.

That’s why I’m excited to announce that with the Q2 2017 release you can easily establish communities and groups when creating a mentoring program. Powered by SAP Jam, this new capability helps organizations increase mentoring program adoption and participant engagement by allowing for ongoing collaboration and communication between mentors and mentees. Program admins can ensure that participants have what they need to get started. Mentors and mentees who have been matched can easily communicate and collaborate with one another, either as a large group or as part of subgroups.

Now available are communication and collaboration tools to engage mentors and mentees

Mentors and mentees can discuss goals, expectations, scope of responsibilities and time commitments. They can also manage activities, share content, upload documents, post updates, access a calendar of events and more. With real time feeds, the lines of communication for program participants remain open, and mentors and mentees stay engaged. With the ability to develop ongoing one on one connections, mentees get the coaching they need to develop and grow, and mentors can refine their leadership skills.

There’s no doubt that more and more organizations today are looking to better cultivate talent and boost organizational strength by fostering connections that are based on trust and commitment. At SAP SuccessFactors we are committed to investing in new features and enhancements that deliver on our promise to provide innovative, market-leading mentoring capabilities that help employees reach their potential.

Check out the new features across our HCM solution suite

The integration of Mentoring with SAP Jam is just one of the great enhancements you will see in this release. Learn about other new features and enhancements for SAP SuccessFactors Succession and Development (which includes Mentoring) as well as the full SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite by reading our Q2 2017 Release Highlights document and blog, or by viewing our Q2 2017 release video on YouTube.

For detailed information on the Q2 release, navigate to the product update pages in our SAP SuccessFactors customer community (registration required).

Also, don’t miss resources now available here and here to learn more about how SAP SuccessFactors solutions are the best choice for enabling your digital transformation journey.

And if you want to join industry thought leaders and SAP SuccessFactors customers to hear innovative best practices and forward-looking ideas, join us at our SuccessConnect 2017 events taking place this June in London and this August in Las Vegas.  We hope to see you there!

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