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How does smart matching work in development programs?

Leo C
Leo C
  • Updated

10KC Development Programs use our proprietary smart-matching algorithm to match members with each other. We offer the following matching options.

What matching options are available in Development Programs?

1:1 matching

A matching option in which one participant of the development program is matched with another participant in a 1:1 relationship (e.g. an Onboarding Buddy Program).

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Group matching

A matching option in which one participant of the development program is matched with more than one participant in a group relationship (e.g. a Group Mentorship Program).

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How do members get matched with each other?

There are two phases of matching two members with each other and they have equal importance in the matching process.

Phase 1: Organization criteria

Match members based on the specific needs of your organization such as roles, department, seniority level, location and even private segments such as hi-potential status, diversity identifier and much more. You can access these options by clicking "Edit matching rules" button in Smart-matches tab.

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There are four tabs under pairing rules editor: Segments, Private segments, Combo rules and Settings.


Segments help define which members should be matched with each other based on attributes like Role, Department, Hire Date, Location etc. (or any employee attribute imported from your HRIS).

In addition, all development programs have one in-built segment which defines whether the member is a mentor or a mentee, and matching based on this segment can be enabled using Program-based mentor/mentee matching. You can read more about match-level roles here.

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Rules can be inclusive (as shown below) where you can choose which segment options match with other segment options (e.g. VPs and SVPs only match with Directors, Sr. Directors & Executive).

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Or they can be exclusive (as shown below) where you can choose what segment options not to match with (e.g. do not match Executives with Interns or Individual Contributors). You can read more about exclusion rules here.

Private segments

Private segments matching rules behave the exact same way as segment matching rules above. The only different is in the type of data stored. Read more about Private Segments here.

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Combo rules

Combo rules are advanced rules which allow you to be more specific in define matching criteria e.g. match Managers in Compliance with Directors and Sr. Directors in Compliance. You can also enable Priority which will let you define which matching rules take priority over others. You can read more about combo rules here.

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All segment, private segment and combo rules can be Preferred or Required.

Preferred Preferred selection makes the rule a soft-rule i.e. it's taken into consideration while matching but there might be pairs which don't follow it (especially when members don't meet this rule)
Required Required selection makes the rule a hard-rule i.e. it's always taken into consideration while matching and all matches will follow this rule

Best practice is to have as few (or no) Required rules as possible so maximum people can be matched with each other.


Allow repeat matches from previous experiences enables the members to be matched with people who they might have been paired in the past (in one or more Development Programs or Introduction cycles).

Under Advanced options, you can set matching rules at a member-level by adding match exclusions to each member. By adding exclusions, you prevent members from being matched with members that they shouldn't be matched to (e.g. employees with their managers).


Phase 2: Member criteria

You can also let members choose their role, preferred matches and match capacity using "Program preferences" in Settings.

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  • Role selection: Members can choose if they are “Mentor”, “Mentee” or “Both”
  • Preferred matches*: Members can choose who they'd like to be matched with
  • Match capacity: Amount of mentees a mentor can take on in a given Development Program up to a max of 3.

*this is not a hard rule and does not guarantee that they will be matched with the preferred member; also only participants with Confirmed status will show up in the preferred matches list

In addition to these optional selections, the 10KC smart-matching algorithm also automatically factors in the following member-based criteria for matching:

  • fewest previous matches with current member
  • most overlap for custom segments
  • most similar activity level
  • most similar selections of Goals & Interests

How to create matches?

Head over to the Smart-matches tab and after you have defined the matching criteria (as shared above), click on "Create matches" and you have two options: Create with algorithm and Create manually.

Create with algorithm

This option uses 10KC's smart-matching algorithm to automatically match members with each other. Click on "Create with algorithm" and choose whether you'd like to create matches for all participants, confirmed participants only (recommended) or specific participants.

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Once the desired option is selected, 10KC's smart-matching algorithm will take a few seconds or minutes (depending on the number of participants) to automatically create the matches.

Create manually

Using this option, you can manually create matches. Click on "Create manually" and a side drawer will open using which you can manually choose participants to be matched with each other.

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Unmatched participants

Any participants who are left unmatched can be viewed by clicking on "Show participants". You can then download these participants or copy the email addresses for sending relevant communications.

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Locking matches

Once you are satisfied with a batch of matches, you can easily lock them so their pairings are unaffected if you add more participants and create more matches. This can be done by manually locking each pair or using the "Lock all matches" button.

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Matches once locked stay untouched when more matches are created for the development program.

Matching mode vs Live mode

While the matching rules are being set and matches are being created, the development program is in Matching mode as you can see on the top-right.

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When you are ready to launch the development program, you can click on "Go live" button and then the participants would receive the smart-matching emails, will be able to view their matches and start chatting.

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Group matching

It's important to note that if you'd like match one participant with more than one participants (group matching), then head over to the Settings tab to enable the functionality. To learn more about group matching (and group mentorship) click here.

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