Employee Engagement Thrives with Modern Mentoring
Employee loyalty. Workforce productivity. Customer loyalty. High Revenues.
What organization doesn’t want these types of coveted results? None that I can think of. But now comes the harder question: How can we achieve these results?
According to the 2013 Employee Engagement Trends Report from Quantum Workplace, the answer lies in employee engagement, which they found strongly correlates with each of these keys to organizational success. Their Employee Development Planning Report suggests that to keep employees engaged, we have to increase learning and development opportunities. Their studies point to the fact that engaged employees perceive such opportunities as the second highest form of preferred recognition, preceded only by pay increase. With this information in mind, it seems critical that we take steps to increase and sustain workforce engagement levels by engraining continuous learning and development into the culture of our organizations.
This is where the practice of modern mentoring enters the picture and can become a key driver of employee engagement. Simply put, modern mentoring is connecting people to learn from one another about learning needs, skills, interest areas, and competencies that are relevant to their daily work. This is not your father’s mentoring (a.k.a. traditional mentoring), which is categorized by one-to-one relationships that last years and typically consist of one older mentor who sponsors and develops one younger mentee. Modern mentoring means enabling your workforce to connect with one another via technology for learning and development that occurs in a just-in-time fashion and impacts the daily work-related productivity of participants. When people are effective at critical peer interactions, such as those that occur with modern mentoring, average engagement capital can improve by 66%, according to The Power of Peers from the Corporate Leadership Council.
Yes, I am telling you that in addition to increasing engagement, your organization can use modern mentoring as a way to spread knowledge, increase productivity, and serve as just-in-time performance support for your employees. Sounds pretty good, right?
Think modern mentoring might be a worthy development option for your employees? When implementing the practice at your organization, be sure to build it around these four pillars:
Open and egalitarian
For uninhibited and meaningful learning to take place, allow modern mentoring to occur in an open environment where people have equal access to one another. Expand thinking about mentoring beyond programs with limited populations, and start thinking about how to give your workforce access to engage with one another.
Diversity can help modern mentoring thrive because different perspectives within mentoring communities and relationships help novel ideas and approaches arise in answer to organizational problems or issues people are facing. Cross-functional,-geographical and -generational participation in modern mentoring relationships are key to this practice.
People should be allowed and encouraged to shift in and out of the mentoring program and of the learner/advisor roles themselves, as learning needs and knowledge strengths evolve. This adaptability and flexibility allows insights to be shared and applied on the job in a just-in-time manner, with people seeing real work results from their mentoring activities.
Self-directed and personal
Adults want to drive their own learning. Give them a technology like River to use or a mechanism where they can reach out to anyone at any time for any learning need. This empowers individuals to be in control of their learning and removes some of the burden from L&D professionals.
If you build your organization’s practice around these key pillars and properly enable modern mentoring at your organization, you will find that the social learning behaviors that it produces will become ubiquitous. In this way, modern mentoring can help you create a culture built on continual learning and development, which can help you sustain and increase the engagement of your workforce and unlock the keys to organizational success produced by high engagement as a result.
To learn more about the modern mentoring practice, be sure to check out my article featured in October’s CLO magazine, “Mentoring without Barriers.” Additionally to see how social learning and mentoring can increase employee engagement, you can check out this Fortune 500 Tech Company case study.