Will mentoring disrupt traditional learning strategy?
Change is afoot. The corporate world was most certainly in a state of shift long before Covid came, however 2020 has seen our universe experience accelerated change practically overnight. Suddenly, we inherited entirely remote workforces which still have a variety of learning needs and requirements. This triggered an incredible increase in the adoption of digital learning to better support employees whilst working from home.
But with whole workforces isolated and working alone, is digital learning alone adequate in meeting the complex needs of today’s people? Or does mentoring provide a solution, so relevant in today’s climate, it will disrupt our entire approach to learning?
The learning ecosystem
Many organisations already understand that having just one single learning solution is unlikely to deliver the performance results they want from their employees. Nor will one solution (especially if it is digital learning) be solely capable of engaging people and promoting connections throughout the business, regardless of whether we’re working remotely or not.
To meet a variety of requirements and needs, many businesses are starting to realise that they need a variety of tools and technology to support their learning strategies. No longer is the LMS the panacea of learning and the focal point; instead it is now one of many pieces of technology sewn together to create something truly impactful: a learning ecosystem.
These days business leaders are not just thinking “how can we get this learning to our people?”. Instead they’re considering bigger challenges: “what can I do to create a learning culture?”, “how can I create a more inclusive, supportive working environment?” and “what do my people need to be successful and productive in their work?” These big questions are not always solved by traditional learning methods alone – it’s time to consider alternatives. It’s time to consider mentoring.
Humanising the learning experience
People crave human interaction and experiences, it’s in our DNA. Never has this been more prevalent than us all enduring a pandemic. On top of that, science has proven for decades that human interaction is critical for mental and physiological health, so why are many of us shifting to digital learning, in spite of knowing it lacks the ability to connect people to people?
To truly provide our people with the human touch, we need to do just that. Encourage human interaction in the workplace. Of course, most of us will benefit from online ‘chat’ channels such as Slack or Teams, but we’re talking more about spaces and places which give our employees more career opportunities. We’re talking about increasing employee engagement and retention. We’re talking about modern mentoring.
When you think of mentoring, the mental image conjured is likely that of two individuals sitting in a dusty room next to a filing cabinet, talking about stuff. Modern mentoring builds on that original mentoring method, but typically uses technology to connect individuals who’d never meet otherwise and develop the mentor/mentee relationship. It’s a relevant learning experience, it uses AI and there are no dusty filing cabinets in sight.
Organisations are using sophisticated technology to leverage the data they already have to match skill sets across the business, providing both individuals with opportunities to learn from one another. The benefits of using technology to support (or even introduce) mentoring programmes into the business mean that more people can be matched and supported, but also that these incredible learning experiences are not hindered by remote working.
When you have so much scope to easily introduce learning content into your business, you may be asking why you’d want to go down the mentoring route at all. But the reality is, learning does not solve or satiate all the needs of your business, regardless of how good it is. Think of mentoring and L&D being two sides of the same coin, intrinsically connected but mutually exclusive of one another.
Mentoring is not to be ignored; as globalisation continues and remote working becomes our working reality, organisations will need to seek out ways to drive bonds between their employees. Not just for the positive benefits of those participating, but for the benefit of the business itself.
Businesses with mentoring programmes in place:
- See a notable increase (87%) in employee confidence
- Have a marked increase in diversity at management level, increasing from 9% to 24%
- Can see improvements in learning through enhanced learning transfer
Saving your bottom line
The added benefit of introducing mentoring programmes into your workplace is how cost effective they can be. Apart from the technology you’ll need to facilitate the mentoring experience, you already have everything you need to make it a success. With budgets tightening as a consequence of Covid, we believe it’s critical you invest in your most critical asset, your people.
Needs and expectations are shifting. Our employees want more than digital learning experiences alone. The fact of the matter is that they will actively seek opportunities to feel involved and included in the business the longer they work remotely.
Grasp is not just refreshing an old mentoring programme model with technology but rather, disrupting traditional learning by making mentoring a highly relevant concept for today’s workforce. So get ahead of the curve and consider how mentoring could be introduced into your learning ecosystem and see how your business could benefit.