The Primary Purpose
The Purpose of an Assessment
The primary purpose of an assessment is to identify the needs of the client population within an organization. It can also be used to test a preliminary program design and specific program features.
Receptivity to the notion of Mentoring and specifically, formal Mentoring, can be detected using survey and focus group techniques. This can give you an idea of the kind of reception a program will have in its initial stages
General and Specific Target Populations
Most organizations can benefit from an increase in the amount of Mentoring that goes on within its structure. An assessment can tell you how many people are currently being mentored, the level of success that it generates, and which populations seem to benefit most.
By doing a demographic breakdown of assessment responses, the planners and organizers of a Mentoring program will also detect those subpopulations in an organization that appear to be most outside of the loop.
Myths and Belief Systems
A number of common prevailing beliefs about Mentoring can become obstacles to participation. A well run assessment can uncover and detect the kinds of myths which are a part of the organization’s culture and the depth of these beliefs. Communications and training can address these myths and offer different set of facts to potential mentors and mentees.
- Mentoring is for the “crowned princes and princesses” of the Organization. It is seen as only for Hi-potentials.
- Mentoring is a remedial step for the poor performers
- Mentoring is for children, student interns and new hires, but not for the more seasoned employees
Managing Attitudes and Leadership Support
A frequent obstacle to setting up a Mentoring program is the belief that supervisors and managers will not support the program or will feel threatened by the existence of a Mentor for their employees.
Surveys which include employees at all levels will uncover the level of support which exists and the support that managers and supervisors are likely to provide and their willingness to participate in the program.
For many organizations, Mentoring is counterculture. That is, while we espouse to be an open community or learning organization, educational endeavors are seen as detracting from the bottom line. This includes Mentoring, whether it is informal or formal.
Testing the Waters
While the primary purpose of an assessment is to gather data, depending on the methods used, an assessment can also be educational for the participants. With the Focus Group technique, it is possible to build on the Group’s participation and begin the process of selling the program to the organization.