What is micromentoring and why organizations worldwide are doing it
Are you a CEO, HR Director, Talent or Learning Manager? Then you know how important employees are to your organization and how beneficial mentoring is.
Mentoring has long been a backbone in determining how successful one’s career can be. In fact, most, if not a majority of companies, have programs dedicated to offering a mentor as a benefit to attract, develop and retain employees.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is a one-to-one relationship offered by a company to have an experienced employee help a colleague, you might call it a career-boost. Mentoring is often a long-term commitment and mentor and mentee establish a trust and exchange experiences where the mentor would be guiding the mentee within the organization and his/her career within the same.
Mentoring is an established practice and even though very powerful it falls short in some areas making it less than perfect to effectively promote competence development.
First of all, it requires the mentee and mentor to be a good match, meaning that in order for mentoring to be effective the mentee and mentor need to
be compatible on a personal level to make the best out of their relationship, which is not always the case.
Mentoring is not scalable, each mentoring relationship needs time to set up, monitor and follow-up, activities that often are HR’s responsibility, take time and energy.
If the goal with mentoring is to develop new skills then the reach is very limited as one would only learn from the mentor he/she has been assigned.
And last, if the mentoring relationship does not work, it is often not easy to replace the mentor, instead the mentoring relationship often fades.
On top of that, enter millennials and newer generations to the workforce and all traditional methods are being questioned. Companies are now suddenly faced with employees who want to work differently, who do not want to become a commodity but truly be an asset to the organization.
With a career lifespan at a company lasting just short of two years, organizations must become creative in ensuring they retain and develop talent that walks through their doors.
Micromentoring, NOT your traditional mentoring
Micromentoring, despite the name, differs from traditional mentoring in several ways. It’s frequent, short, highly targeted and effective interactions between employees. The traditional mentee-mentor pattern is disrupted in favor of one where any employee is seen as a potential mentor and anyone can learn from anyone.
Micromentoring responds to the shortcomings within traditional mentoring in a new and innovative way.
Employees take responsibility for their own development, seeking knowledge and booking micromentoring sessions with peers. Sessions are typically no longer than 20 minutes (but that is up to each organization and mentee to decide) and focus on knowledge transfer between mentor and mentee.
The word mentor becomes synonym with expert and skills are seamlessly shared within the company, across organizations, locations and functions.
Mentees (all employees) are encouraged to improve existing skills as well as create new ones by meeting (physically or online) colleagues that possess those skills.
The range of skills that can be perfected becomes virtually limitless. Mentees meet mentors (other employees) with different personalities and skills that help them boost their skill development, creating at the same time new networks within the organization.
This approach is dynamic and tightly focused keeping employees engaged and making them feel like they are part of something bigger and that they are being valued by their employers, both as mentees and mentors.
Micromentoring is less formal than traditional mentoring as the focus is not the relationship between a specific mentor and a mentee itself but the value created in each learning interaction between them.
Micromentoring is the way of the future. It is a win-win-win, for the mentee, the mentor and the organization. It’s engaging and beneficial for all parties involved. Micromentoring creates a culture of learning and being valued by an organization that future employees seek when looking for their next opportunity.