Learning at Work Week: how can we deliver learning in the moment of need?

Simon Reichwald Headshot
Simon ReichwaldStrategic Lead For Talent, Connectr


20th May 2022

Read time

10 Minutes

Woman working happily on her laptop

In recognition of Learning at Work Week, our Strategic Lead for Talent, Simon, discusses how to deliver agile learning that meets the need of all talent, at scale.

The word ‘mentor’ originates in Ancient Greece. Mentor is a character mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey who was a close friend of Odysseus. Before leaving to fight in the Trojan war, Odysseus entrusts his young son Telemachus to the care of Mentor.

Even 3,000 years ago, the power of ‘having someone in your corner’ was recognised.

But, as we evolve over time, so does the way in which we can best learn and develop.

Why mentoring in the modern age?

In today’s workplace, effective mentoring has never been more important. In an increasingly competitive climate, organisations need to do more than ever before to ensure they are not only hiring the right people but also enabling their learning and progression.  As a result, this improves motivation, productivity and retention levels.

Mentoring is a key tool in removing the barriers under-represented talent groups face, enabling more equal opportunities for all. It’s now an essential part of CSR and ED&I strategies.

But there is still a long way to go. Although many organisations are committed to ED&I and understand that mentoring is important, more need to be done to create effective programmes which generate positive results and benefit everyone involved.

To maximise and retain their most critical asset to success, businesses must implement mentoring that drives genuine impact in 2022.

The challenges of traditional mentoring

Traditional routes have seen senior team members mentoring more junior colleagues through 1-1 set meeting schedules over a period of 6-12 months.

As ways of working evolve and time pressures increase, traditional mentoring structures have become challenging in maintaining relationship engagement and delivering outcomes: driving learning, productivity and progression. Ongoing hybrid working models also present barriers to committing to in-person meetings.

This results in fewer employees willing to put their hand up to volunteer as a mentor or mentee. The fewer people involved in an organisation’s mentoring programme, the less likely it is to be a success, limiting the ability to make a positive difference to ED&I. Mentoring needs to be available to the majority of employees and not just a chosen few.

So, how can mentoring enable learning and development at scale in the modern age? A more agile approach is now needed.

A library of learning

Just like how we use libraries, agile mentoring programmes are led by mentees’ varying needs. For example:

  • Seeking a specific, hot-topic answer, we’d approach the library book, absorb the information and put it back on the shelf. Agile mentoring enables mentees to ask their question in the moment of need and enables a trusted source for future questions.
  • More in-depth learning on a topic might require a 1-week library book loan. Similarly, a mentee may need an ad-hoc call or meeting to gain the insight they need.
  • A new area of learning will usually mean a long-term book loan to fully understand the topic. A new area of growth or development facilitated by a planned series of meetings or opportunities for engagement will encourage mentees to take the next step up.

Technology to enable agile learning

But, how can we enable agile mentoring programmes at scale to meet all employees’ needs?

Technology removes the manual processes behind traditional mentoring programmes, relieving the challenging time and resource demands on People Teams. Enabling access to learning in the moment of need, mentoring technology delivers real impact, at scale, by collating the ‘library’ of support needed through:

  • Accurate and immediate data-driven mentor matching, enabling mentoring to be delivered in the ‘moment of need’ by the right individual, no networks or contacts that are needed
  • Agile learning based on mentee needs from a quick-fire question to an in-depth meeting schedule with set goals
  • A digital community for all, not just the few, with access to the resources needed so that more employees are enabled to “walk through the door of opportunity”
  • A virtual space that reinstates ‘learning by osmosis’, maximising your people power.

To find out how Connectr can drive your people’s learning, progression and retention, chat to us.”

Simon Reichwald Headshot
Simon ReichwaldStrategic Lead For Talent, Connectr