Mentoring is still a very personal process, focusing on absorbing the wisdom of others to help find your footing on the path you want to take. But when done right, digitizing a mentorship program makes it easier for organizations to help their employees connect and gain valuable insight from each other’s journeys through a more asynchronous learning style. It’s not a replacement for in-person advising, but a catalyst to enhance a career path trajectory across all industries.
A person can’t be who they haven’t seen. At a time where companies are looking to scale their diversity and inclusion efforts, awareness, and access to opportunity should not be limited to a select few. Corporate cultures can be mysterious and restrictive, with hidden rules and customs that make it hard for underrepresented professionals to navigate. Creating a safe space for colleagues to maximize their full potential and learn from others through internal and external mentorship helps to build diverse pipelines to and within the organization.
Mentorship platforms create serendipity for people bridging the transition from college to employment and then within an organization for career advancement. There are highly capable people within organizations who want a hand in shaping culture and building that from within.
By merging the power of the internet with the influence of group mentoring, companies can transform the careers and life paths of underrepresented professionals while simultaneously establishing a more direct pathway to exceptional talent. Technology is simply an enabler that allows organizations to scale the practice of mentoring, resulting in a larger impact and ROI to both the individuals who participate and the organization that offers the resource.
When looking at what to consider when choosing a mentorship platform, there are several factors to look for:
- Scalability – A mentor-mentee relationship can lead to enhanced job satisfaction, which translates into increased productivity and retention, reducing the cost of attrition.
- Usability – Getting started using an app and managing it within your own company requires a high degree of configurability. Choose a platform where the user experience is similar to something you’re accustomed to. Making sure the data you share is secure is also important, but it can never be at the expense of usability.
- Accessibility – Group mentorship helps overcome the primary flaw of traditional mentorship; there are more people in need of mentorship than available mentors. One mentor can greatly extend their reach by mentoring multiple individuals at once within a group mentorship framework.
- Flexibility – Most organizations that implement mentoring will do so to meet the development needs of their teams at multiple points in the employee lifecycle. This means that over time, they’ll integrate mentoring into the fabric of more than one developmental program (e.g., leadership development, onboarding, high potential development.)
- Authenticity – Many platforms include “diversity” to get the product sold. The people who use it will reject it because it looks like a company trying to check off a box. It should be grounded in research and geared toward helping to build genuine relationships.
- Cultural Relevance – You become the people you associate with. Find a mentoring home where you can place yourself in a room with people who have walked the path you’re looking to walk.
- Expertise – When early career professionals can connect with respected industry insiders, they’re able to receive insights, experience, and valuable knowledge from a credible source. It creates a panel-style way of conversation between the two groups and opens up even more opportunities for connection across the organization.
As leaders look to support their teams during this unprecedented time, a mentorship platform provides a morale boost to colleagues and potential candidates looking for connection, direction, and self-assurance.
Setting Up For Success
Initiating a scalable mentorship or group mentorship program, especially for underrepresented talent, will show employees how they can be successful in a particular role because of their interaction with a mentor in that field. It’s a mark of success in terms of impact. Having an intermediary who understands both the needs of the business and the needs of the people working within encourages proteges to make connections with their peers and ensures there’s an environment where they can find support, advice, and alliance.
Having something purpose-built is super important. Ask yourself, how can we support and retain talent, including colleagues who come from underrepresented backgrounds? When you understand the goals to support staff and their development, you can connect those in impactful roles who want a hand in developing culture and nurture that rapport from within.
Contact Mentor Spaces to learn more about our approach to mentorship that builds brand, engages colleagues, and attracts underrepresented talent.