- Companies have looked to mentoring programs to provide a second-level of learning for many years, but today's advances in digital technology have taken mentoring to whole new heights, according to Training Magazine.
- For example, PPD, a contract research organization, has created an online, mentoring-based social network for its Global Leadership Network. According to a PPD source quoted in the article, "while there may be less face-to-face interaction, the premise of providing learning and development through a relationship of mutual trust is still critical." In addition to social platforms, PPD leverages Microsoft Lync and Skype to facilitate mentoring meetings and knowledge transfer. Other organizations, like Navient, use tech to measure the success of traditional mentoring programs.
- "With digital, there is more access to real-time feedback, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be in the form of scheduled meetings," said Tom Gimbel, CEO of LaSalle Network. Gimbel added that mentoring can take place remotely using Facetime and Skype.
There are several ways HR professionals harnessing the power of digital communications technology for improving mentoring programs. Such programs are extremely valuable in the workplace; employees may not even be aware of the reskilling value inherent in their skill sets and abilities, even if these skills are derived from hobbies.
People will always find ways to connect and share knowledge, and this new breed of mentoring relationship is only different in the sense that people can connect from far away, on-demand and when it's most convenient. Industry leaders are already waking up to the benefits of combining peer-to-peer learning and management coaching with on-demand learning, a combination that might yield fast results in areas like soft skills development.
The same ideas can be applied to any employee learning program. Instructors can tap into mentors in the form of both more experienced employees and subject matter experts by pairing them up with newer employees. Mentoring programs are the next logical step in the lifecycle of learning, something to which several industry leaders can attest.