Group Mentoring in the Workplace

Mentoring has evolved to fit the needs of current corporate trends through the years. It goes further now than informal relationships between professions formed through networking. Mentoring is often positioned as a learning and development strategy used to further employee development and increase employee retention.

This is especially true of group mentoring, also known as team mentoring. This is a versatile type of mentoring that adds benefits on top of those of a traditional mentoring program. A group mentoring program does require some effort to make it work, however.

What is Group Mentoring?

Group mentoring is a flexible derivative of traditional mentoring, with added benefits. It can be defined as multiple mentees and one or more mentors working towards employee development together. These participants are also able to act as the mentee to a mentor, but a mentor to a different mentee simultaneously.

In traditional mentoring, the mentor and mentee are usually matched by similar background or career paths. In group mentoring, the mentee pool can be more diverse in terms of widespread backgrounds. They can also be exposed to several experienced, well-established members of their profession who can fulfill various mentor roles.

The primary use of these mentorships are short-term transitions when the required number of mentors is not available. Group mentoring can also be used when one particular mentor has critical knowledge that many individuals need, or during onboarding.

For help starting a mentoring program for onboarding, watch our webinar for more information: Onboarding Your New Hires: Make It More Effective Through Mentoring.

Benefits of Group Mentoring

Like traditional mentoring relationships, group mentoring gives benefits to not only the organization, but the mentors and mentees as well. They both give participating mentees new skill sets and knowledge, but there are additional benefits specific to team mentoring.

Group mentoring brings together individuals that may or may not have connections and lets them learn together. They will be able to support and help one another to become the best individual, fostering a sense of community on top of employee development. The true group situation provides an incredibly supportive environment in which to share knowledge and experience through mentoring.

Unlike the on-on-one mentoring relationship, group mentoring will involve a diverse group including experienced, well-established people as well as newcomers. Newcomers have the opportunity to gain access to a network that will offer support, important information, and contacts.

This group helps socialize newcomers to the corporate culture, on top of developing their skills and knowledge. This dynamic may be especially useful to mentoring for onboarding. During onboarding, you can form groups of new-hire mentees to learn the company culture from a single mentor. This will result in quicker time-to-productivity and a better overall employee experience.

How to Start Group Mentoring

Group mentoring will bring individuals together that are not necessarily a team yet. Participants may develop close ties and friendships with members of the group, but the emphasis will not be on the relationship, but on the functions of the relationship. From the group mentoring perspective, the focus will be on developing the mentees.

The mentee is responsible for his or her development and learns to use mentors as resources. This is true in any mentorship, but especially team mentoring. The mentors may act as guides or coaches, the burden of learning and the time commitment involved is shared.

  1. Determine the goals. Define what you want to accomplish with mentoring. Groups should clearly identify what should be achieved, how achievements are tied to business objectives, and how to measure success. They should also determine what is expected of both the mentors and mentees.
  2. Choose the right people. It is best to capitalize on the knowledge and experience that exists within the team. But, if the expertise simply isn’t there, members must also be open to bringing in mentors from outside the group.
  3. Develop an action plan. Regardless of the type of mentoring, an effective program begins with defined objectives and a plan. Determine how your mentoring sessions will be held and schedule time to make them happen. Also consider how you will form the teams, whether it’s by department or a different qualifier.
  4. Decide what will happen after. Your group mentoring sessions will not last forever. Whether participants want to continue sessions or not, you need to decide how it will happen. Mentoring software can help you transition working mentor matches to traditional mentorships.

If the environment is supportive and all participants are eager to make it work, a group can be an ideal structure for mentoring. Group mentoring can both reinforce skills and foster continuous learning, making it a winning situation for everyone involved.

Insala has years of experience starting great mentoring programs. For more information, request a demo today.

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