When asked what has attributed to their achievements, successful people will almost always, in part, credit a strong mentor or number of mentors. Yet despite the near-universal praise for mentoring, the traditional one-size-fits all approach continues to persist in institutions of all sizes.
Whether you’re currently running your organization’s mentorship program or are exploring ways to introduce one, the case for a shift to modern mentoring has never been more important. Through new technologies, modern mentoring goes beyond traditional face-to-face formal interactions, allowing “mentoring” to occur in new and more appropriate ways.
It’s no longer just a nice thing to offer your employees or students—it plays a critical role in recruiting and retaining top talent. Fortunately, online mentoring networks are harnessing the power of technology in order to help alleviate some of the most significant challenges that mentorship programs face today.
Challenge #1: Adapting to the New Globalized Workforce
Companies are becoming more and more global, with offices and coworkers spread out all over the world. Online technology bridges the physical and cultural gaps between offices through mentoring meetings, cultivating meaningful relationships across continents.
In a 2018 report from Mercer, 54% of respondents agreed that their company “makes it easy for [them] to connect with internal experts and/or mentors.” While that number is encouraging, 46% of employees still felt that their company could be doing more to give them access to mentors.
By establishing a modern mentoring network, organizations can seamlessly provide their employees with the opportunity to expand their networks, develop professionally, and encourage innovative thinking, all without leaving their offices or homes.
Challenge #2: Retaining Millennials
According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, millennials intending to stay with their organization for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor. The traditional approach to mentoring—primarily involving face-to-face interactions between the mentor and mentee—inadequately speaks to a generation that is all about convenience and more opportunity.
Purpose and development drive this generation, and modern mentoring models like on-demand mentoring and virtual mentoring, offer them the opportunity to connect in ways traditional mentoring programs cannot. Millennials communicate in real-time: texting, tweeting, FaceTime, etc. This dramatically affects the workplace because millennials are accustomed to constant two-way communication and feedback, versus scheduling an in-person meeting weeks in advance.
Modern mentorship technologies arm your organization with the strategies that can help you more easily tap into this talent pool, showing this generation that your organization values their strengths and their contributions.
Challenge #3: The Gradual Transition into an On-Demand Culture
As people trade in their cable box for Netflix and rely on delivery apps instead of calling for takeout, mentoring also needs to adapt to the constant demands of today’s consumers.
Modern mentoring can solve this problem of access, helping organizations provide high-quality mentoring resources at all times, whenever their members need it. Not only can new mentees and mentors onboard into a modern mentoring program all year long, since the network is constantly growing, existing members also benefit as expertise and depth of knowledge continuously expands. With features like instant booking and integrated online calendars, finding information and connecting with the right experts is easier than deciding what to have for dinner.
Challenge #4: Rigid, One-Size-Fits-All Networks
Your organization has unique goals and your mentors and mentees have unique needs. Some of the most successful mentor networks are ones that utilize a variety of modern mentoring strategies, helping them effectively help more people in less time.
Customizable online network features can help companies adjust their mentoring program to better fit today’s trend of needing to build a board of mentors instead of relying on one single mentor relationship. As the need to engage with more experts increases, technology can help program administrators keep up with demand and increased traffic.
“It’s rare that one mentor can fit all needs; more likely, a person might need their very own personal advisory board to help navigate the terrain,” said Anne Bentley, the executive director of CSweetener, one of our customer networks.
Modern mentoring technology focuses on providing organizations with the power and flexibility to customize their network, including:
Number of sessions a mentee can book on the network.
Seamless email integration and scheduling
Private database management
Mentoring session reviews and data collected
Modern mentoring comes in a variety of forms and one type may fit well for one organization, but not for another. No matter your company’s goals, mentoring is shifting away from the traditional, manual matching program and into the future of modern mentoring. Whether it’s through reverse mentoring, speed mentoring, or building an online mentoring network, your mentorship program doesn’t just need technology, it’s effectiveness and overall success relies on it.
Learn more on how online mentoring networks are helping companies like yours succeed.