Skills develpoment

​New strategies in mentoring

The notion of corporate mentorship has gained popularity over the past five years due to mentors providing invaluable experience to beginner employees, bridging the skills gap many sectors currently face. 

Outsourced formal mentorship programmes are considered as just one answer to the need for training of new employees, but many programmes are costly and time intensive. 
However, Kirsty Chadwick, founder of the Training Room Online, an e-learning developer, says there are cheaper alternatives for business owners looking for a flexible solution within the structure of a formal programme. 

A group mentorship is one solution. This is where a member of staff is chosen as a mentor due to their experience and leadership ability. They meet regularly with a small group of new employees giving guidance and discussing difficulties they might be having adjusting to corporate life, she says. This gives them the chance to benefit from the mentorship experience with a minimum time cost to the company.

Chadwick says another option is a virtual mentorship, where new employees watch a DVD with messages of advice and inspiration from a mentor chosen by the company. “This can be effective, especially if combined with regular discussions either in real or virtual classrooms. The benefit of holding the discussions online is they can be held at a time convenient to both the mentor and the mentees,” she says.

Chadwick says mentorships are one of the oldest forms of developing people and while they may be finding creative new ways to do it, the concept of inspiring, guiding, and growing a new generation is still exactly the same.

Eli Portnoy, contributor to Forbes magazine, agrees with Chadwick on the value of mentorships and writes that for many people, there are a small number of other people who have the impact to inspire them to do better – from the professor in college, a mentor during a first job, or the CEO who took an interest. “Life and business are hard and even the smallest measure of success require the help of lots of mentors, friends, and family,” he writes.
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