Mentoring programs have always been key to helping employees develop new skills and prepare for new, more prominent roles in the organisation. However, because of the challenges these programs bring, such as the long-term follow-through required of the mentor and the mentee, employers often hesitate to opt for them. But in the last few years, micro-mentoring has gained a lot of momentum because it does not pose any challenges that traditional mentoring programs do and offers a range of benefits to employees and organisations. It turns out that it is now the preferred way to help employees gain new skills and achieve their best performance at work.
This blog talks about the ins and outs of micro-mentoring, so you can understand how it is better than traditional mentoring programs and how it can help your employees and organisation in the long run.
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What is micro-mentoring?
It is a unique approach to mentoring that allows mentees, usually employees, to seek guidance from more skilled and knowledgeable individuals called mentors. The mentors can be from within or outside the mentees’ division or department, mentoring for a specific, usually organisational, need. What makes it different from traditional mentoring is its duration, which is over a short time, usually one or two 1-hour long.
Micro-mentoring is sometimes referred to as short-term mentoring, flash mentoring, one-time mentoring, and session-based mentoring. It may include one-time meetings on a specific topic, speed mentoring events, or standalone mentoring events.
While it does a great job at helping individuals learn new skills, it works best when supplemented with traditional mentoring programs. So, it’s safe to say that it is not here to replace the conventional, often long-term way of mentoring or employment development, but to support it and open the door to other skill development opportunities for individuals.
What are the benefits of micro-mentoring?
It has a lot to offer to employees and their organisations. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits it offers:
It’s more accessible: Micro-mentoring is more accessible to mentors and mentees than traditional mentorship. Both parties can schedule one-off meetings at their convenience to address a specific problem or need without following up or committing to long-term interactions. This type of mentoring is ideal for mentors and mentees who have difficulty committing to long-term mentoring programs. Since the duration of sessions is small, parties are not expected to build a long-term relationship with one another unless more sessions or meetings are required in the future.
It encourages networking: It allows mentees to meet people from other departments or divisions of the organisation. Employees desiring skill development can meet senior staff during one-off meetings and learn from their knowledge and experience while building a professional network to facilitate professional growth.
The sessions can also allow participants looking for career progression to grow professionally by learning from a mentor who has been in the organisation for years and knows how things work or how to tackle challenges to move forward. Such mentors can also refer them for promotion within the organisations.
It enhances collaboration and performance: Since micro-mentoring requires connecting with people from different divisions or departments within the organisation, it enhances cross-departmental collaboration and congregation. It also helps lagging team members speed up and discover improvement areas. For instance, if poor communication between team members is causing a performance gap, one short meeting can establish whether there is a need for training to avoid future communication-related issues.
It improves employee retention: Employees want to work in organisations where they are given plenty of opportunities to develop new skills and grow in their careers. Since it offers ample skills development and career progression opportunities, it can boost employees’ job satisfaction and morale, reducing turnover significantly.
It helps prepare employees for traditional mentoring: It does not require a long-term commitment and takes only a couple of hours, so employees are more likely to participate than other forms of mentorship. You can use it to introduce your employees to mentoring and slowly ease employees into formal long-term mentoring programs. Once they know how beneficial mentoring can be for their professional development, they will want more of such sessions and are unlikely to object to traditional mentorship.
What are the best practices?
It’s no secret that micro-mentoring has a lot to offer to employees and organisations, but to get the most out of it, it’s essential to follow the best practices.
Know your employees’ needs: For any type of mentoring to be effective, you need to organise it, considering which employees need it the most. The best course of action is to get to know your employees’ learning needs and interests. Do they want to improve their communication skills? Or are they preparing for leadership roles? Understanding what they want will help you find the right program to include in the organisation.
Select the right mentors: If you consider choosing mentors from within your organisation, pay attention to who you choose. The mentors for your micro-mentoring programs should be role models to other employees and must possess strong leadership skills. Exceptional work performance, problem-solving, sound decision-making, and communication skills are factors you should consider when looking for mentors for your programs.
Educate your employees about the programs: For employees to get the most out of mentoring programs, they need to understand how to engage with mentors, what questions to ask, how to prepare for the season, and how they can implement the learnings at work. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to educate your employees on everything they should before they sit with their mentors.
Micro-mentoring is an efficient way to enable employees to improve at what they do and achieve their career goals effectively. If you think traditional mentoring programs aren’t worth the time and attention, consider including it in your employee development initiatives and see how it benefits your organisation in unimaginable ways.
- Micro-Mentoring: All You Need to Know | Gem Siocon
- Micro-Mentoring: What It Is and How to Make It Work for Your Organisation | Personify
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