Creating an Evergreen Program

Article author
Keagan McMahon
  • Updated

To begin creating your first Evergreen Program, you can start by first signing in to the platform and clicking the Create Program button. If this is not prompted to you, click on Programs > Create Program.

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Once you click Create Program, you will be prompted to choose between a 1-on-1 program, or a Group Program (only applicable if the Group Mentorship feature is included in your plan). For this demonstration, we'll be creating a 1-on-1 program. After selecting a 1-on-1 program, you will see a screen asking you to choose your Program Cycle. Here you have the option to choose between a traditional cohort style program, or our new Evergreen style program. 

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There are four key differences between both Program Cycle for you to consider:

  • Program Length:
    • Cohort programs are fixed in length, for example, they might only run for a period of 6 months.
    • Evergreen programs do not have an end date, they run continuously.
  • Registration Window:
    • Cohort programs have a fixed registration period and users are expected to all register within that period. Once this period ends, registration is closed until the next program.
    • Evergreen programs have continuous registration, and users can register whenever they choose.
  • Matching Window:
    • Cohort programs similarly have a fixed window to match with a mentor/mentee.
    • Evergreen programs are always open to new pairings, users can start new and/or additional pairings whenever they choose.
  • How Rematching Happens:
    • Cohort programs will have pairings rematch only when a user specifically requests to.
    • Evergreen programs will have users matching and rematching with a mentee/mentor at any point, as long as they have the availability to do so.

For this guide, I will demonstrate both Program Cycles, so you can skip ahead to whichever one is most relevant to you!

Evergreen Programs:

To begin, click the Choose Program button under the Evergreen option.

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Registration Setup:

Here, you will begin your Registration Setup. First, you will enter some General Information about the program, such as a Program Name and Program Description. We also recommend uploading your own Program Banner to personalize the look of your new program. To upload your own, click on the image under the Program Banner heading and select a file.

Tip: Create a program name that is more specific to your company to help personalize the mentoring experience.

Once you've completed these, click the Next button to proceed:

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Build your Questionnaire:

Next, you will be able to begin creating your Profile Questionnaire.

The first question that you must select an option for is our Role Selection question. Here you will decide whether mentees/mentors can participate as both a mentee and mentor, must choose one or the other, or must be both. Once you've selected the option you would prefer, be sure to click the blue Save button in the top right of the question:

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To add new questions, you have the option to Browse your Question Pool, Create Custom Questions, or Import From an Existing Program.

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You can click on Preview Questionnaire at the top right at any time to see how the questionnaire currently looks from a user's view.

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You will also see a number of different icons attached to each question, each of them means something different depending on the question:

mentee_mentor_icon.pngA mentee/mentor icon shows which users are asked the question.

Screen_Shot_2021-06-11_at_9.35.18_PM.pngA lock icon means the question is mandatory for program participation and cannot be deleted.

Screen_Shot_2021-06-11_at_9.35.35_PM.pngA link icon means the question and responses are linked to one or more programs.

There are also 12 other standard questions created in advance for your use. You can click on the question to edit and make changes as you wish. You can also delete the question by clicking on the trash can Screen_Shot_2021-06-11_at_9.39.15_PM.pngicon at the top right of the question window. 

When editing a question, there are several different options you can modify depending on the type of question you have selected (i.e. multiple-choice, numeric, short/long text, tabbed select, etc).

For example, multiple-choice questions will contain options for:

  • Question
  • Description (optional)
  • Response options: these are the list of options that users can select from within a multiple-choice format.
  • Multiple-choice options: whether a user must select one response or multiple
  • Users can select up to: the number of responses can select if they can select multiple options
  • Display as dropdown: sets how your response options will be displayed, as a drop-down list or not
  • Question shown to: whether this question is asked to both mentees/mentors, just mentees, or just mentors
  • Responses visible to: whether this question is visible to all users or only admins within another users profile
  • Response required: whether this question is mandatory to answer

A number of these question options will overlap with other applicable question types other than multiple-choice (i.e. numeric, short/long text, etc).

Once you have finished developing your questionnaire, click on the blue Next button in the bottom right corner:

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Configure your Pairing Algorithm:

In this next section, you will be able to set up your pairing algorithm. Here you can see the criteria that our algorithm will take into consideration when trying to pair users together. Keep in mind, that you can always change these rules later prior to launching pairing for your program.

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To edit any of these rules, click on them. To add a new rule, click on the + Add Rule button under the respective type of rule you'd like to create.

There are two primary types of rules that you might want to consider creating:

Pairing Requirement Rules are what we typically consider "hard" rules that must be met in order for a pairing recommendation to be made by our algorithm. In other words, users must meet these requirement rules to be paired with another user. If they don’t meet these requirements with other users, they will not be allowed to be paired together. For example, you might want both members of a pairing to be from the same division within your company.

    • These rules can enforce two different types of conditions: either a response Matches or Does not Match.

      For example, you could have a rule that states a Mentee's Response To What is your current role? Matches Mentor's Response To What is your current role?

      This means that if the mentee and mentor's answer to "What is your current role?" is the same answer (i.e. matches each other), the algorithm will pair the users together, based on this rule alone. 

There are two specific requirement rules that you should consider before inputting any of your custom rules. 

  • Timezone differences: you might want to consider requiring that pairings be within a certain amount of hours away from each other depending on their timezones. To implement this, you can click on the Timezone Difference rule, check the box, and select the number of hours of difference you want to enforce. For example, if you select 4 hours, the mentee and mentor can only pair if they have less than or equal to 4 hours of timezone difference.

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  • Reporting Lines (HRIS Integration Required): Checkmark the box under this rule to enable a restriction if you do not want direct reports paired with their manager, manager's manager, or anyone who reports to the same manager. Be sure to click the Save button once you've made your selection.

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Pairing Recommendation Rules on the other hand are typically considered "soft" rules. These rules are not mandatory for users to be paired together, but they instead work to improve the match strength between users. Be sure to prioritize what is most important for your program. For example, you might want the pairing to share similar interests, but it is not mandatory that they do. With these rules you can give each a different level of priority/weighting; the higher the priority, the more influence the rule has when pairing users together. Be sure to prioritize what is most important for your program, as this will be the basis of how we present top pairing recommendations. These numbers assist with tipping the scale so that there are fewer chances of a tie where 2 or more mentors share the same match percentage for a mentee. You may also create a custom weight if needed. 

Once you have adjusted each of your Pairing Rules accordingly, be sure to click the blue Next button in the bottom right corner to move on to configuring Program Access.

Setting up Program Access: 

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There are two options for configuring how users can register for your program:

  • Organization-Wide Access: anyone able to sign into Together can join this program.
  • Advanced Access Settings: if you opt to use advanced access, you will be able to allow only specific users to register for this program
    • You may set access rules separately for both mentors and mentees based on values that are pulled into Together from your HRIS system (if applicable). Some examples include: Department name, Office ID, Division, Title, etc. To do so, click the grey pencil icon beside each. 

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    • Alternatively, you may also set access on a per-user basis. As long as a user is under your user table within the Users section, you will be able to select them from a list here. Within this list, you may choose whether a certain user has access to the program as mentee only, mentor only, or both either by selecting the check box beside their name(s) and clicking the Perform Bulk Action on Selected box, or individually by scrolling to the far of the table and clicking the Set Eligibility button.

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Once you have your program access permissions configured, click the Next button to move on to Reviewing your Email Invites. 

Reviewing your Emails:

This area is where you will see each of the Registration-related emails along with the cadences at which they will be sent. If you're interested in reviewing each of these, you may click on them or you can click the Send Test Emails button near the bottom, which will send you a copy of all of these emails to your own email (don't worry, these test emails will only be delivered to you, no one else will receive these yet!).

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If you click on any of these emails, you will have the opportunity to view and edit a few key aspects. The parts of the email that you may edit within this view can be seen by hovering over them with your cursor. If you make changes to any of these emails, make sure you click the blue Publish button to finalize any of these changes.

These include:

  • The description paragraph under the title of the email:

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  • The body content below the Register Now button:

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  • And lastly, the label at the bottom of the email:

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You may also edit the colours of two items within the email as well by clicking the Edit Styles button:

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This will allow you to set both your Call-to-action button and your header to be either your primary colour, secondary colour, or black, as defined by your organization's colours within your Settings page. After selecting these colours, be sure to click the Save button to see these changes reflected in your Emails.

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Now that you have your Email Invites as you like them, you may click the Next button again to move on to Launching Registration. If you're not ready to launch registration yet, don't worry, you can click the Save and Exit button in the bottom left corner and come back to your Registration Setup at a later time. 

Launching Registration & Inviting Users to Register:

Once you come to this page, Registration will be turned on. In order for users to receive your registration invite though, you will need to Invite them. To do so, click the blue Continue to Sharing button. If you ever need to turn off Registration, you can always come back to this same page and click the Turn Off Registration button:

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Within this Share Registration page, you have three options in how you can invite users to register for your program: 

  • Bulk email invitations: Here you can use our Bulk Email feature to send out registration invites to all eligible users within your organization (Note: if they have already registered for this program, they will not receive an email). To do so, click on the Review & Send button. This will bring up a prompt showing you a few of the recipients that these invites would be sent to, along with the total number of eligible users who would receive the email. Click the Send button to send all of these emails.

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  • Send email invitations: Here you can send individual email invitations by typing or pasting them into the text box, clicking the Validate Emails button, and then once each email has been validated, you may click the Send Emails button:

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Once you share your registration invites via email using either of these options, you can click on the Track Delivery tab at the top of this page to view your Email Delivery Analytics:

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  • Share a registration link: This unique registration link can be copied for you to announce your program using alternative methods besides registering from the emails sent out via the platform. You can announce your program on your company chat, link it on your intranet, or add it to your program landing page. It allows for more flexibility in providing access to our platform. 

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After you have invited your users using one of these methods, click the Next button to move on to the final step of registration, Monitoring Registration.

Here you can see how many users have registered, and the role that they have registered for. Once you're finished, click the blue Finish button to complete your Registration Setup.

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Pairing Setup:

To continue building your program, click on the Continue Pairing Setup button from your program home page:

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There are four key steps to setting up your Pairing Process: 

  1. Choosing your Process
  2. Assessing Pairing Readiness
  3. Reviewing your Pairing Algorithm
  4. Customizing Pairing Emails

To begin, click the Next button to choose your pairing process.

Evergreen programs take advantage of the Mentee-led pairing process. For Mentee-led programs, you have the option of turning on the Mentor Approval feature. This ensures that mentors must approve pairing requests from their mentees to begin the pairing. For this program, I will turn on Mentor Approval for this demonstration. Once you've decided how you would like to run your program, click the Next button.

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Next, we have our Pairing Readiness Report. You can use this report to check whether or not you're ready to start your pairing process based on your settings and registrants. 

First, you will see a chart displaying some basic registration results, such as how many participants have registered as a Mentee and/or Mentor. You will also see some information letting you know the total amount of capacity your mentors have. In this example, I have 4 mentors, which contribute to a total capacity to mentor 6 different mentees. 

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If you scroll down on this page you will see some information that our algorithm uses to evaluate any risks when starting matching. Near the bottom, you will see a few recommended ways forward that you might want to consider before beginning to match participants.

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Once you feel ready to turn on Pairing, click the Next button to adjust any Pairing Rules that you may want to tweak. Here you will see the same Pairing Algorithm that you set up during the Registration process. If you want to make any changes before turning on Pairing, here is where to do so. 

Once you confirm that your Pairing Algorithm looks great, click Next to move on to adding Filter Titles for your users.

Adding Filter Titles allows you to help mentees pick the most relevant mentor by adding a title to the various filters that mentees can use to sort through the list of mentors when looking for one to pair with.

Two examples:

  • One of my questions in my program is "What other professional disciplines are you interested in learning more about or prefer your mentor to be from?", I could give this question a filter title of "Disciplines of Interest" that a mentee could use to filter by when searching for a mentor.
  • Another question might be "What is your current role?" You could add a filter title such as "Role" so that mentees will know that they are filtering for the mentor's role to narrow down their search.

To add a Filter Title, click on the question, then type in a title for it. Be sure to click the Save button after giving each question a Filter Title.

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Once you've added Filter Titles for all of your questions, click the Next button in the bottom right corner to customize your pairing emails.

Customizing Pairing Emails works identically to how you learned how to customize registration emails earlier in this guide. In short, you will see each pairing-related email along with the cadences at which they will be sent. To review and edit any of these, click on them. Each email will have sections that can be edited when you hover over them with your mouse similar to our Registration emails. Be sure to click the blue Publish button in the bottom right corner if you do make any changes to an email:

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Now that all of your pairing emails have been tailored to your liking, you can click the blue Finish button in the bottom right of the screen to complete the setup of your Pairing Process:

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Congratulations! You've successfully set up your Pairing Process. Pairing has now been turned on and mentees/mentors are now able to begin pairing. If you need to turn off/pause pairing, you can do so from the Pairing page that you are on now by clicking the Pause Pairing button:

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The final step is to send out your Submit Your Mentor Preferences email to your mentees, click on the Unpaired Mentees button on the right-hand side of the Pairing page:

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To invite all of the uninvited mentees, click the blue Invite all Mentees button. 

If you choose to Invite All Mentees, you will see a prompt displaying how many email invitations will be sent out. To finalize these invites, click the Send Emails button. You can also click on the email to preview it. If changes need to be made, go to your Email templates to do so.

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Alternatively, you can click on the View Mentees button, or the Not Invited by Admin tab to filter this view by mentees who have not been invited to submit their mentor preferences yet. From here, you can click the Invite to Pair button beside each mentee's name.

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By sending the email, mentees will receive the Submit Your Mentor Preferences email to prompt them to request a mentor. Once they have submitted their request, the system will send an email to the mentor they have chosen asking them to review the request and either a) approve all sessions, b) approve an introductory session only, or c) decline the request and provide a response if desired.

Here is what a request looks like from the mentor's perspective:

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Mentors will be able to click on one of the three response options. If they choose to decline the request, they will be able to enter a response that will be sent back to the mentee along with the email notifying them that the request has been declined.

If the mentor does not decide within 3 business days, the request will expire and the mentee will be sent another email asking them to request a new mentor instead. Once one of the mentor requests is approved, the flow ends there and the Mentorship Assignments email is sent out to the mentee and mentor who are now paired.

Note: If an admin decides to auto-pair all mentees and mentors, no emails will be sent out for mentees and mentors to make decisions.

Peer Mentorship in Evergreen Programs:

When running an Evergreen program you also have the ability to facilitate Peer Mentorship.

Peer Mentorship is enabled by default for all new Evergreen programs. If you would like to confirm Peer Mentorship is enabled, or if you would like to disable the feature, check out our article here. 

With Peer-Peer pairing enabled, your users will be able to request pairings together as peers, in addition to traditional mentor-mentee relationships. Check out our article here on how Peer-Peer Pairings work.

In summary, with Peer Mentorship employees will have even more opportunities to make connections, share knowledge, and keep one another accountable for their goals. Users will be able to register as Peers in addition to their traditional mentor and/or mentee roles. Once registered, peers will be able to request other peers to begin a mentorship relationship.

And that's it! You've successfully launched pairing for your Evergreen program. To monitor how pairings are going, head over to the Monitor Health tab throughout the process.

 

Have more questions? Submit a request here or reach out to us at support@togetherplatform.com!

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