Modern mentoring

August 12, 2019

Workplace mentoring programs are being used by many Fortune 500 companies to build up a talented, loyal workforce. However, not all of these programs are the traditional type of mentorship. Some have used technology to create mentorships, while others have opted for group settings. There are a variety of different mentoring program styles, all of which fall under the umbrella of ‘modern mentoring’. 


This change to the concept of mentoring has helped organizations engage younger workers better. Research has shown that millennials have different expectations and approaches to work than their predecessors. In fact, over half of younger workers do not expect to be with their current employer for more than 12 months and 71 percent indicated they were not fully engaged at their job. 


In an effort to overcome these workplace challenges, many organizations have been creating mentoring programs that adapt to the specific needs and expectations of their younger employees. These are modern mentoring programs.  



Traits of a modern program

Modern mentoring styles are those that break from the traditional mentorship that pairs up a senior employee with a junior one. There are many different types of mentoring programs in organizations that can be defined as modern mentoring scenarios. These can include virtual matches where the mentor and mentee meet and connect online. Other mentoring programs that fit the modern mentoring mold are reverse mentorships where a younger employee helps train a more established employee. 


While the method of the mentorship differs from the traditional style of mentoring, the basic idea behind mentorship stays the same. That is, a mentorship is a unique way of connecting individuals with other more experienced individuals to help them achieve goals and develop new skills. With modern mentoring types of programs, a mentor can still help the mentee set and achieve goals and develop their talents. Modern mentorships demonstrate the importance of having a mentor by adapting mentoring programs to fit today’s workplace. More and more organizations are creating a more flexible and creative work environment. Therefore, it is not surprising that mentoring programs would also become more flexible and creative. 


Now and Then

Mentorship programs were often seen as informal relationships that developed between two employees in the workplace. They happened when a senior employee took a new or younger employee under their wing and taught them the ropes. The concept dates back several hundred years when craftsmen passed down the secrets of their trade to apprentices. As the years passed many organizations saw the benefits of mentoring and developed more formal connections among employees. In particular, this was seen as a way to groom new, younger employees to take over from senior workers when it was time for retirement.  This type of mentorship fit into the workplace for a long time. However, as technology advanced, organizations began finding new ways of accomplishing their goals. These changes have now filtered down to mentoring programs. 


Younger employees, particularly millennials, have brought a lot of new ideas and new ways of doing things to the workplace. This has included their expectations of mentoring. Studies have shown that Millennial workers are hungry for new ways to expand their skills and capabilities. Research has also shown that employees who have mentors in their workplaces are more likely to stay with their organizations longer. Thus, the need and benefits of a workplace mentoring program are still alive and well. It is only the execution of a mentorship that has really changed. 


Many younger employees have been eager to implement new technologies to expand the role of a mentor as well as to accommodate modern mentorships. In addition, modern mentoring programs are an ideal fit for organizations that have employees in more than one city, state or country. 


Modern mentoring in your organization

Organizations that already have an established mentoring program may consider expanding their program to incorporate other types of mentorships. 

If your organization is considering implementing modern mentoring types, there are some things to consider beforehand, including:

  • What is the reason for the change? Has there been an increase in demand for different styles of mentorship?
  • What is the age group of the employees? Are there a large number of younger workers that may be more willing to participate in a modern mentor-style program?
  • How has the organization’s workplace mentoring program been working? What does the data say? Are the participant surveys revealing any need for a more flexible or modern mentoring program? 



Using software

Organizations that are looking to develop modern mentoring programs will find that mentoring software is a great place to begin. Programs like Together have been designed to help start, manage and maintain workplace mentoring programs. Together has features that assist with the registration, pairing and reporting process that make running a workplace mentoring program simpler and more effective. 


Whether you are using a modern mentoring type of program or a more traditional style of mentorship, software such as Together is beneficial. It has been developed to handle the registration and pairing of participants, which is one of the key steps to creating a successful mentoring program. By getting a good match within minutes, mentors and mentees are able to begin their mentorship faster. Moreover, the scheduling feature helps mentors and mentees communicate and set meetings more efficiently. It can also be used to track the progress of the relationship by tracking whether meetings are being moved or missed, which can be an indicator that the mentor-mentee match needs to be adjusted.


In addition, Together has a customizable reporting feature that helps organizations assess whether their workplace mentoring program is meeting expectations or if there need to be some adjustments.


One of the best things about mentoring software is that the features that make it such a good tool can be used effectively with modern mentoring programs. It works as efficiently with smaller mentoring programs and larger, global mentorships.


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We interviewed and surveyed employees from 50+ leading North American Companies including McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, IBM, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Capital One, Norton Rose Fulbright, Mackenzie Investments. Get the results below.
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