Mentoring: A Way to Break Down Hierarchal Structures in the Workplace


The world is moving faster than it ever has before and the need to keep up is becoming more and more important. Despite what some people might think, no one is bigger than change and if you want to stay relevant and employable, well you need to do more than just keep up!

Mentoring is an ancient personal development tool that is still widely embraced across many societies and cultures today. While some mentoring relationships develop in a very informal and natural way, other relationships are formed in a very structured and managed approach. And this is one of the beautiful things about mentoring — there is no set formula for success.

Millennials now make up more than half the global workforce, outnumbering both Gen X and the Baby Boomers. While millennials tend to get a bad wrap, employers need to recognise that this is the future of their workforce (if it isn’t already!) Therefore, organisations that want to attract the best and brightest talent need to acknowledge and accept that the way in which people work and want to work has changed.

Despite popular belief, a study by Harvard Business Review found that while millennials were in a hurry for success, they were in fact open to feedback and had reasonable expectations about their future. This is good news for employers as these are attributes of what could be a highly engaged and ambitious employee. What the employer needs to figure out is how best to coach these younger employees to ensure they not only get the most out of them, but also retain them.

At the other end of the spectrum, employers are also facing a massive challenge with regards to their ageing workforce. How do they ensure valuable company IP is not lost when a mass number of baby boomers decide to retire?

Enter mentoring!

In its purist form, a mentoring relationship works by where usually an older, wiser person mentors a younger, more junior person. However, in recent years the concept of reverse mentoring is sparking a lot more interest across HR and L&D professionals. With the ever changing technological landscape, now there is an increasing opportunity for senior executives within a company to learn something new from their younger colleagues. From the latest app they may be using to manage their own workflow, to insights into how to use social media to engage with a new customer, millennials have many valuable insights that are often overlooked because of their level of seniority in a company.

Mentoring facilitates the breakdown of hierarchical structures allowing for improved workplace cohesiveness as well as knowledge sharing. This can also indirectly become part of a wider succession planning strategy for an organisation.

This can be made all the more efficient and effective through the implementation of a corporate mentor program supported by cloud based mentor management software.

Never has it been easier and more cost effective to implement a people oriented workplace strategy that will not only benefit your individual employees but also company wide culture.

About our fantastic guest author:  Heidi Holmes is the CEO & Cofounder of Mentorloop, a platform designed to make mentoring relationships easier to start, manage, and engage in. You can follow her on LinkedIn.

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