Is mentoring a piece of our post-pandemic roadmap?
Asks Andrew Penker Chartered FCIPD, MSc and the Founder of XSectorMentor.com and an independent HR Consultant.
There are 3 readily accepted types of mentoring:
Traditional, Reverse, and Reciprocal
- Traditional follows the apprenticeship model where an older, more experienced mentor ‘imparts knowledge and wisdom’ to a much younger, more junior mentee or protégé.
- Reverse occurs where younger, mentees who are less experienced but talented, and with specialist skills, mentor the older, more experienced but with less specialist knowledge mentor.
- Reciprocal is a pioneering new form of mentoring that assumes a community-based approach where any participant in mentoring can mentor another regardless of their experience, status, and background. This is becoming popular for promoting diversity and inclusion in companies but has many applications and benefits for both participants and companies.
The push from companies that I have been engaging with, is to create another version that uses a reciprocal approach for the express purpose of increasing mutual business improvement through the exchange of knowledge, skills and wisdom between professionals and companies.
At a time where inclusivity is driving the levelling up of opportunities for people regardless of their background, and the war for talent is driving companies to retain their employees and develop them personally and professionally, the relevance and importance of mentoring has elevated, especially when it crosses the boundaries of companies, professions, and sectors.
One of the critical factors is ensuring that when it occurs, it is done using a psychological safe space that is non-affiliated to a specific company, is respectful, and is human-friendly rather than an impersonal technology solution that seeks to quantify the number of ‘users’ rather than be about the quality of the mentor experience for ‘participants’.
Why is it important?
Many studies (IES Home Wellbeing Survey) have taken place during the pandemic on the impact of remote working on employees’ wellbeing and it is generally accepted that ‘feelings of isolation’ are the greatest risk for employees in the future especially in the uncertain world of the hybrid working world.
Companies need to examine how they can enrich the roles of their employees especially during intense periods of inevitable digital transformation as it will be easy for people to become ‘lost’ in the accelerating pace of change and this is where more formalised approaches to ‘knowledge exchange’ between people and companies may become the most reliable, efficient, and effective way to connect, share, and develop in the future.
What is mentoring? It is a term to describe how we can guide, challenge, and support each other in our personal and professional lives.
How we enable mentoring to be a business solution, may hold a piece of our future roadmap that helps us navigate through the world of work in the future.
Next: How mentoring differs from coaching and leadership
If you believe that mentoring that connects professionals from across sectors and professions to share knowledge and ideas and develop professionally could benefit your company, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.