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I am a M.A. in industrial/organizational psychology. Most of my experience has been in human resources and change management. My passion lies in employee assessment, organizational development and employee opinions. Website: www.IanMondrow.com LinkedIn Profile: http://linkd.in/drBYoC

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mentoring in tough times

Reference: Emelo, R. (2009). Mentoring in tough times. Industrial and Commercial Training, 41 (4), 207-211.
Summary by: Ian B. Mondrow

Randy Emelo, CEO of Triple Creek Associates, discusses how organizations can make a shift from matching mentees to mentors using an excel spreadsheet (and spending hours staying organized) to utilizing web based mentoring.

For starters, web based mentoring makes matching mentors and mentees easier. It is all done electronically and automatically. No personnel is spending time trying to match individuals to ideal mentors. Instead, mentors complete a profile that describes their professional history, skill and expertise. Mentees also create a profile but designate what skills/abilities they want to improve and/or learn. The system then provides the Mentee with several mentors to choose from. Once a decison is made, the mentee sends an invite to the individual asking if they would be a mentor. It is very similar to utilizing an online dating profile or sending a friend invite on Facebook.

Much like Facebook or LinkedIn, web based mentoring allows people to interact with others that they would not regularly socialize with. The systems allows mentees to find mentors that are outside of their department and creates connections across the organization. This provides employees with the opportunity to learn about areas outside of their expertise and thus increase engagement and commitment.

CDW provides a variety of tips to assist in implementing a web based mentoring system:
  1. Ensure stakeholders support the process.
  2. Relate it to the organization's mission and/or strategy.
  3. Make it available to every individual regardless of their position, tenure or employment status (full-time vs. part-time).
  4. Provide training and instructional materials to assist employees with utilizing the system.
  5. Communicate the program to employees continually so they log in and utilize the system.
Implications for HR:
Consider a web based mentoring program if funds are available. If funds are not available, see if a free intern is available to help design this (depending on how good he/she is). Once the system is running, it seem increases communication across the organization and provides employees with developmental opportunities (at no cost to the organization). Just be sure to communicate the benefits of the system regularly and host events that encourage mentoring (i.e. lunch-ins, bowling nights, etc.).

Before purchasing any web-based software, be sure to compare the pricing and features of several companies. Always ask for samples of work and references. It is crucial to use a technology company that provides support following the implementation of the system.

Image from: http://alumni.concordia.ca/images/programs/mentor/alien.gif

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