Using Technology in Workplace Mentoring Programs


image_22Companies that develop successful mentoring programs link these programs to specific business goals:

  • Integrating new talent quickly into the organizational and company culture
  • Ensuring high performers adapt quickly to increasingly responsible roles
  • Developing company leaders by honing skills to inspire others
  • Creating a diverse workforce at all levels through the development of interpersonal and networking skills

Each of these areas can increase their effectiveness via technology. Whether a particular mentoring program’s interaction model is one-on-one, self-directed or a combination of these, technology has a role to play.

Role of Technology in Mentoring Programs

There are three areas in which mentoring programs are aided by technology. First, mentoring management software assists in finding matches between mentors and mentorees based on job or organizational knowledge, experience and past performance.

Second, social networking software provides high-touch interaction regardless of location and time, which imparts real-time relevance to questions and answers.

Finally, E-Mentoring programs are effective at building a base of knowledge among a large group of new employees or within specific departments. These tools are used to teach best mentoring practices and clarify the roles and responsibilities of participants.

Technology in Reciprocal Mentoring

Technology has a special role to play for cross-generational mentoring situations where the conversation is a two-way street. Younger employees have a natural affinity for social networking and software tools, which they pass on to older employees. The mature employee benefits in return from acquiring new technology skills. He or she then utilizes these skills when providing the younger employee with organizational knowledge and career guidance.

Balancing Technology and the Personal Touch

The use of technology to create potent mentoring programs must not overshadow the underlying purpose: to build meaningful relationships between experienced and less experienced employees. Always ask if a particular technology or the way in which it is deployed expands or hinders that relationship to be sure it is appropriate.