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Enterprise Mentoring refers to the use of an enterprise-wide mentoring programme throughout an entire organisation. Enterprise Mentoring programmes are supported by multi-media mentoring materials and use internal mentors (often line-managers) to mentor small teams of mentees/protégés (employees).
Mentoring in Business
Mentoring has been the personal and professional development method of choice for CEOs and board level directors for decades, but bringing in external mentors is expensive, and for this reason, face-to-face mentoring with an external mentor typically only happens at a senior level in business.
Many organisations have tried to take mentoring out of the boardroom into the workforce using internal mentors, with varying degrees of success. One of the criticisms of informal mentoring arrangements is that they are unsructured, unfocused and do not deliver an improvement in business results.
Origins of Enterprise Mentoring
Enterprise Mentoring borrows its heritage from structured software programmes such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), which touches virtually every employee in an organisation. Using similar principles of reaching every employee in a company, Enterprise Mentoring brings mentoring right down to front line employees through the use of technology.
Use of Technology
Enterprise Mentoring programmes use readily available technology such as mobile phones, MP3 players, computers and the internet to deliver digital mentoring sessions. This use of technology (both m-learning and e-learning) allows the mentee to learn at a time and place which suits them.
The digital mentoring sessions are supported by face-to-face mentoring sessions where mentors (often line-managers) bring together small teams of mentees to discuss all they have learnt in the digital mentoring sessions, and apply the learning back to the business.
Benefits to Business
The business benefits for an organisation of Enterprise Mentoring are engaged, passionate and driven employees who are committed to take extra responsibility and ownership for the growth of a company. This area of employee development is typically known as employee engagement and it is now widely understood, through research conducted by companies such as Watson Wyatt, The Gallup Organisation, Tower Perrin and DDI, that there is a direct link between engaged employees and higher levels of revenue and profit growth.
One valuable advantage of Enterprise Mentoring programmes is that they are low-cost to implement, they leverage the use of line-managers as mentors and therefore there is no additional need for outside trainers. The business results which come from engaged employees lead directly to higher revenue and profits.
With the introduction of social media, specifically Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Mentoring can create higher levels of collaboration, participation, involvement and idea sharing between employees and the company, even in disparate parts of the organisation. One of the key outcomes of an Enterprise Mentoring programme is the generation of new business growth, profit saving and productivity ideas which come directly from employees. These ideas can be captured in a central 'idea management' platform which can be made available to senior management. Ideas can also be shared throughout the workforce where other employees can comment and add further suggestions on how to turn those ideas into value.