Creating a Cohort Program

Article author
Keagan McMahon
  • Updated

To begin creating a Cohort program, follow the same steps as outlined at the beginning of this article to create a new program, but instead of selecting an Evergreen program, choose a Cohort Program Cycle instead. 

After choosing a Cohort program, you will be shown 6 different templates we recommend you pick between for the one that is right for your program/organization. If you are unsure which fits you best, we recommend you choose the General Template. For this demonstration, I will stick to the General Template as well:


Once you click on any of these templates, you will be shown a template overview of some of the key aspects that each contains. For example, what your questionnaire, session content, and resources will look like by default using this template. Once you have decided this is the template right for you, click on the Use Template button:


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:


Developing your Questionnaire:

Next, you will be able to begin creating your Profile Questionnaire. Building this questionnaire is largely identical to how it is built within Evergreen programs, however, there is one key distinction: the ability to set how many mentees a mentor can take on simultaneously.

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.

The second question you must select an option for is the Mentor Capacity for the program. Here you can define the maximum number of mentees a mentor can be paired with at any given time, as well as a default number that mentors will have pre-selected for them that they may change when they register.


After you have finished configuring your questionnaire, click the Next button.

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.


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.


  • 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.


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. 

Setting up Program Access: 


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. 


    • 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.



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!).


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:


  • The body content below the Register Now button:


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


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


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.


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:


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.



  • 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:




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:


  • 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. 


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.


Pairing Setup:

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


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.

In Cohort Programs, you have two methods of pairing your users together:

1. Admin-led: as an admin, you can stage, review, and release pairings with the assistance of the pairing algorithm:

With admin-led programs, you have one main setting that you can choose to configure:

  • Automatically End Pairings: with this setting, you may choose if and how pairings will automatically end. You have the option of pairings ending either on a specific date, or after users have been paired for a specific amount of time. If you do not want pairings to automatically end, leave this set to Never


2. Mentee-led: you will allow mentees to choose their mentor from a list of recommendations

    • Mentee's choose: mentees choose their mentor from a list of recommendations and their pairing begins immediately
    • Mentor approval: mentees rank a list of mentors and the mentor approves or denies the request before the pairing begins (if a mentor denies a request, a new request is sent to the next mentor on the mentees ranked list).


In Cohort programs that use the Mentee-led approach you have a few additional options:

  • Mentor Recommendations: you may select how many mentors a mentee can submit a ranking for when choosing a mentor
  • Mentor Directory: you may allow mentees to search across all eligible mentors by enabling the mentor directory, as opposed to (click the Allow mentees to search all eligible mentors in a directory checkbox) having mentees only being able to see their recommended list of mentors.
  • New Mentor Requests: you may choose whether or not a mentee requires admin approval to change their mentor
  • Automatically End Pairings: with this setting, you may choose if and how pairings will automatically end. You have the option of pairings ending either on a specific date, or after users have been paired for a specific amount of time. If you do not want pairings to automatically end, leave this set to Never

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. 


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.


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 (only applicable to Mentee-led programs). If you're running an Admin-led program, skip to Customizing Pairing Emails

Filter Titles (Mentee-led only):

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.


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:

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.

Note: If you're running an Admin-led program, you will only see the Mentorship Assignment email in this section, which is sent out to inform users they have been paired.

To review and edit any of these emails, 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.


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:


Congratulations! You've successfully set up your Pairing Process. To turn on pairing and allow mentees to begin searching for mentors, click the Turn On Pairing button from the Pairing page within your program (Mentee-led programs only). If you need to turn off/pause pairing for Mentee-led programs, you can do so from the Pairing page that you are on now by clicking the Pause Pairing button:


If you're running a Mentee-led program, the final step is to send out your Submit Your Mentor Preferences email to your mentees. To do so, click on the Unpaired Mentees button on the right-hand side of the Pairing page:


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.



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.


By sending the email, mentees will receive the Submit Your Mentor Preferences email to prompt them to choose their mentors by creating a shortlist. Once they have submitted the list, the system will send an email to the mentors they have chosen in the order selected. The first mentor on the list will receive the Approve Your Mentees email. 

It will then be up to the mentor to either approve or decline the mentee's request. If the mentor does not decide within the default 3 days, the request will expire and a new Approve Your Mentees email will be sent to the second mentor on the mentee's list. If the mentor approves the request, the flow ends there and the Mentorship Assignments email is sent out to the mentee and mentor who are now paired.

Note: In Cohort programs using a mentee-led process with mentor approval enabled, mentees will not be notified after each declined mentor request. Instead, if a mentee is not able to be paired with any of their preferred mentors, the mentee will be sent the Resubmit Your Preferences email asking them to submit new mentor preferences in order to send out another round of requests that will hopefully pair them with a new mentor. This flow will repeat until the mentee has been successfully paired with a mentor. To view a copy of this email, head over to the Emails tab within your program. Here is what this email looks like specifically:


For Admin-led programs, you will be able to stage, review, and assign pairings immediately after completing your pairing setup. To begin pairing users, click on the Start Pairing Users button. For a more in-depth look at How to Pair using the Admin-led process, check out this article!


And that's it! You've successfully created and launched your first Cohort program. To monitor how pairing is going, head over to the Monitor Health tab throughout the process.


Have more questions? Submit a request here or reach out to us at!

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