The new world of mentoring

Long gone are the days when senior managers automatically acted as mentors for their juniors, who were then more than likely to stay at the same company until it was time for their retirement and the standard gold watch.

by Knowledge@Wharton
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

These days, high-flyers are likely to experience a number of different jobs in their career. But does this mean that HR departments should stop worrying about mentoring and scratch it from their to-do lists?

Actually, no it does not. Mentoring programmes are as popular as ever in the corporate world as companies recognise that they are an extremely valuable tool with which to train promising new recruits and get them attuned to the company's goals, values and culture.

This has been proven to make them more effective employees in a faster period of time and helps the protégés climb up to better paying positions faster. This, coupled with the fact that good mentoring helps new recruits settle in better and become more effective at their jobs, is clearly a good motivational factor for the firm's high-flyers. It is also satisfying for mentors who enjoy helping to develop newcomers. They also get access to new networks and may one day be helped themselves by a former protégé.

Formal corporate mentoring programmes don't always work as well as less structured ones. In the former, it is a bit like a blind date as the HR department brings together the pair, mentor and mentee. They may or may not get on. It is sometimes better to encourage mentoring but let the younger managers make contact with the people in their organisations who they would like to have as a mentor. Companies should try to ensure that women and minorities are not put off from seeking a mentor - they belong often to the group that finds it hardest to get a mentor or indeed make efforts to seek one. But they also belong to those who might need encouragement the most.

Workplace loyalties change, but the value of mentoring doesn't
Knowledge@Wharton, 16 May 2007
Review by Morice Mendoza

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