Using Mentoring as a Talent Development Strategy

June 17, 2019

When we say talent development, you might automatically think of training. While training is widely used and effective, it can also be expensive. There must be a more cost-efficient method for successful talent development, right?

Our answer is mentoring.

Mentoring as a talent development strategy is growth-oriented and promotes knowledge sharing within your organization. In fact, mentoring satisfies the first 2 of Forbesís Top 5 Talent Trends for 2019: employee-led learning and an everyday performance approach.

Why mentoring?

Like we mentioned, mentoring satisfies the top 2 talent development trends of 2019 according to Forbes. The first is employee-led learning.

Like the popular student-led learning module made possible by flipped classrooms, mentoring brings employee-led learning to life. It requires the mentee to take their learning and development into their own hands with the guidance of a mentor. This gives individuals in your organization the opportunity to progress at their own pace and to their own extent.

The second trend fulfilled by mentoring is the everyday performance approach. This is commonly replacing the annual performance review approach by giving individuals the opportunity for feedback daily. A mentor makes this strategy possible because they are invested in their mentee and provide constant feedback throughout their relationship.

But why should you have a talent development strategy? LinkedInís Workplace Learning Report states that 94% of employees would stay longer if the organization focused on talent development. This means better retention, which leads to better overall productivity.

Organizations that use mentoring strategically for talent development are using targeted mentoring. This type of mentoring effectively matches mentors and mentees with specific goals. It then ties these initiatives back to specific talent development objectives.

A common use of mentoring is for developing leaders and strengthening the succession pipeline. However, mentoring programs also contribute to successful onboarding, engagement, specific skill development, career growth and development. Mentoring can have overarching effects on many levels of talent development.

Who should participate?

Your mentoring program can include anyone who wants to mentor or be mentored. But remember, youíre using mentoring as a talent development strategy. That means you want to include those who want or need talent development.

Mentees. You should find mentees who are eager to develop their skills for internal growth in your organization. They are typically the most willing to participate. You should also seek out those you want in your succession pipeline to prepare them early for their transition.

Mentors. Your mentors need to have skills and capabilities that are appealing to mentees. They should be experienced in their position or department, and they should also have good communication skills. Similar to mentees, you should also seek out mentors who are excited and willing to participate.

Program Administrators. You canít forget those who will be running your program. Your program administrators should be organized and capable of handling challenges that may occur. You should also train admins on the proper practices of managing a mentoring program.

Training doesnít have to stop administrators, either. Mentor and mentee training can provide huge benefits to your program and participants.

How do you implement mentoring as a talent development strategy?

Implementing a successful mentoring program does not happen overnight. You and your organization will need to put time and effort in for the best possible results. This requires several steps.

Establish specific objectives. Establish specific developmental objectives for your talent development strategy. Once your organizationsí objectives are outlined, you will base your implementation plans on them. Examples of business objectives include leadership development, skill development, and succession planning.

Align matching criteria. Use matching criteria aligned with your talent development objectives to determine how your mentees and mentors will be matched. Keep in mind the skills and abilities of your available mentors.

Communicate and train. Let all your participants know your business objectives for your program, and why it will benefit them. Make sure to market your mentoring program internally to recruit participants. Then put them through mentoring training so they understand their roles.

Use mentoring software. Applying mentoring software gives your program a centralized control point. This helps your program administrators and your participants experience a smooth and seamless process.

Measure your success. Measuring the success of your program helps you determine if mentoring as a talent development strategy is effective for your organization. Upper management and stakeholders will also want reports on the value of the program.


Request a demo for more information about how to design and implement mentoring solutions aligned with your talent development goals. 

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