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Program evaluation is important for a number of reasons. Ultimately, it provides information regarding program effectiveness, allowing you to gage the program’s return on investment. It also provides information you can use to make program changes and improve the program. And of course, being able to point to positive results can help justify the program and can increase commitment to it.
There are four basic types of outcomes typically measured with respect to mentoring programs:
1. reactions to the program or parts of the program;
2. learning results;
3. behavior and performance change; and
4. business results.
Your specific program goals drive the key performance indicators (KPIs) and the targets you set for the KPIs and these form the basis for your program evaluation.
Your evaluation activities should be designed to provide:
• quantitative data – for example, how many meetings were held over a given period, how many relationships were terminated, satisfaction survey scores, and so on;
• qualitative information – for example, participant comments on their perception as to what worked well and what didn’t work;
• information related to individual outcomes – for example, information about changes in the participant’s job performance ratings, promotion, or compensation;
• information related to organizational outcomes – for example, if one of the goals of the program is to increase staff retention, the evaluation should include statistics about turnover rates.
You can collect program evaluation information a number of ways, including:
• interviews with participants,
• interviews with participants’ supervisors,
• focus groups.