Workplace mentoring programs have been around for decades. But one innovative approach is micro-mentoring—and it offers interesting benefits and opportunities for HR teams launching mentoring programs.
According to the 2022 L&D Social Sentiment Survey, mentoring is now #4 on a list of learning and development strategies. This result is an increase from #6 in the 2021 survey—and the largest rank increase of any other strategy on the list.
Additionally, a study by Hr. com revealed mentoring to be one of the top three methods for upskilling and reskilling employees in 2023.
Mentoring relationships are known for helping employees to develop new skills and improve job satisfaction.
Micro-mentoring delivers on both counts, the difference being that it is a form of mentoring that fast-tracks learning and growth.
So how can micro-mentoring positively impact your mentoring program plans for this year?
That’s what this article will unpack.
What is micro-mentoring?
Micro-mentoring is a different form of workplace mentoring that is short in duration and typically lasts for just a few hours or across a few days.
Examples of micro-mentoring include standalone mentoring events, one-off meetings related to a specific topic or skill, informational interviews, or “speed mentoring” connections, and even person search tools that allow employees to connect with mentors with specific backgrounds or areas of expertise.
Let’s take a real-world business example of micro-mentoring:
A new employee is assigned to work on a specific project that requires skills they are not familiar with. This could include being asked to work on a project involving a programming language that they are not proficient in.
In this case, the company can provide micro-mentoring by matching them with a mentor who is a more experienced developer for a short period of time, perhaps a week or two.
During this period, the experienced developer can provide guidance and advice on how to work with the programming language, provide feedback on the code, and answer any questions that the new developer may have.
By doing this, the new developer can quickly learn the necessary skills and become productive more quickly. This approach also benefits the experienced developer, as they can share their knowledge and expertise while benefiting from the new developer's fresh perspective.
How to enable micro-mentoring in your organization
From the example in the previous paragraph, you’ll likely ask how this is feasible to pull off. This is where the topic of mentorship software comes into play. Without a platform to manage a mentoring program, employees won’t be able to see who’s a mentor in their organization and whether they have the skills they need to learn.
To effectively match mentors with mentees, you need a platform like Together that enables employees to find the right mentor at the right time. This “always-on” type of mentorship is what we call Evergreen mentorship. Within Together, it’s a space where the junior developer, for example, can recognize that they need training in a specific programming language and immediately find the right mentor with that skill set.
This kind of mentoring infrastructure at an organization is incredibly powerful. Let’s look at six of the compelling benefits of introducing mirror-mentoring in your company.
6 benefits of introducing micro-learning in your organization
There are various situations in which micro-mentoring, or micro-learning, can have a positive impact on employees and businesses.
Whether guiding auditors on IPE testing best practices or upskilling HR professionals, these unique learning opportunities allow employees to practice and receive feedback on their skills in a safe and controlled environment. This can help to identify areas for improvement and ultimately lead to improved outcomes.
Let’s look at a few other essential benefits of micro-learning.
1. Creates opportunities for networking
Implementing micro-mentoring in your organization enables junior staff to connect with peers and build robust professional networks within the business. These types of connections are ideal for employees seeking a new role or career progression as they benefit from interacting with colleagues in different departments or key senior employees.
Micro-mentoring sessions leave a positive, lasting impression that can result in valuable referrals for future promotions or training opportunities. This type of guidance can aid employees in their professional development and advancement within the company.
For example, a customer service team can connect its junior staff members with mentors who can offer insights into job roles beyond the standard call center job description. In this way, mentees can get a better understanding of the skills they need and what it takes to succeed in the role.
2. Provides easier access to information and learning
Micro-mentoring can provide employees with easier access to information and learning, making it a valuable tool for professional development.
Whether it's learning how to create a digital brochure or mastering a new software program, micro-mentoring connects employees with experts who can offer targeted guidance and support.
Micro-mentoring also allows employees to learn on-the-go, at their own pace, and in a format that best suits their learning style.
By leveraging micro-mentoring, your company can create a culture of continuous social learning where employees have access to the resources they need to stay ahead of the curve and achieve their professional goals.
3. Helps simplify and speed up the learning process
Micro-mentoring facilitates quick and easy access to expert advice and targeted skill development, enabling mentees to apply their new knowledge immediately.
Traditional training programs can be lengthy and overwhelming, which can result in employees feeling disengaged and uninterested in the material.
In contrast, micro-mentoring provides a more personalized and focused approach to learning, allowing employees to learn at their own pace and in a way that works best for them.
Moverover, this mentoring approach helps to address specific areas of concern or skill gaps in a timely manner. Rather than waiting for the next training program or performance review, employees can receive targeted guidance and support from a mentor in real time. This can be especially valuable in fast-paced industries or when new technology or processes are introduced.
As work environments and industries evolve at a rapid pace, jobs are becoming more agile, requiring employees to acquire new skills quickly. Micro-mentoring can be a valuable tool in meeting this challenge.
3. Boosts collaboration within employees and teams
By connecting employees with mentors who have a wealth of knowledge and expertise, micro-mentoring can foster a sense of teamwork, community, and collaboration in the workplace.
This can be especially valuable in large organizations where employees may feel disconnected from their coworkers or overwhelmed by the size of the organization. By pairing employees with different skill sets, micro-mentoring can promote cross-functional learning and help to break down silos within the organization.
This approach is also hugely beneficial when applied to practices such as SOX reporting. In this instance, employees with different areas of expertise can work together to ensure compliance with regulations and best practices.
4. Improves employee retention
When you take the time to provide employees with development opportunities, it can help to retain staff members. By ensuring they feel valued, are more connected with colleagues, and can broaden their skill set, employees are more likely to stay within their current organization. This is particularly beneficial for businesses looking to fill workforce gaps and future-proof teams.
In addition, micro-mentoring can have a positive impact on people’s performance and job satisfaction. When employees feel invested in and supported by their organization, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work. This can lead to increased productivity, better outcomes, and a more positive work environment across the board.
Micro-mentoring can also provide benefits for the mentor, such as developing leadership skills and gaining a sense of fulfillment from helping others succeed.
5. Boosts employee morale
As mentioned above, micro-mentoring can have a positive impact on employee morale. Giving employees access to such opportunities shows that you value them and are invested in their future while also offering ways for them to learn from and collaborate with colleagues. This creates a positive work culture that helps employees to feel motivated, supported, and confident.
From providing targeted guidance and support to enhancing collaboration and boosting employee morale, micro-mentoring is a powerful tool for professional development.
This approach to learning enables employees to develop new skills quickly, access information easily, and apply their knowledge immediately.
What’s more, with the help of mentoring software such as Together, you can take advantage of smart tools and algorithms to help you easily match mentors and mentees. Invest in your workforce today by using tools to manage and report on your micro-mentorship program, and create a culture of continuous learning and innovation in your organization.