Almost 75% of Fortune 500 companies have established mentoring programs, and for good reason. Mentoring programs increase employee engagement, employee retention, and internal knowledge transfer; while also improving overall company culture.
Unfortunately for small businesses, most of the technology companies who have built the software which could facilitate an SME mentoring revolution, circumnavigate them entirely in favour of prized enterprise clients.
However, there is now a feasible and effective way that small and medium business can tap into the power of effective mentoring: via cross-company mentoring.
Cross-company mentoring enables participating SME’s to access and connect with mentors and mentees from other small or medium businesses; businesses who have employees with extremely diverse skills, experiences, and backgrounds willing to divulge their expertise.
Individually, many SME’s don’t have the resources or the number of employees to create internal mentoring programs. But collectively, SMB’s can build a mentor-mentee network or ‘marketplace’ which surpasses the scale and quality of even the largest single organisations’ mentoring program.
When SME’s act upon the fact that this is a mutually beneficial endeavor, small business owners and employees will gain access to the type of ongoing L&D historically reserved for large and sophisticated organisations — the type of L&D which will have a profound and lasting impact on organisational outcomes.
In addition to making mentoring accessible, cross-company mentoring has many inherent advantages over a traditional internal mentoring program.
1. Mentors and mentees feel more comfortable conversing and engaging with an individual who doesn’t have an agenda or attachment to the individual’s organisation
2. Mentors from other companies are more objective in assessing a mentee’s growth and development
3. Cross company mentoring gives all organisations and individuals access to different skills and different backgrounds that they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to
4. Both mentees and mentors bring new and outside perspectives into their organisations
5. Companies can lend their expertise to non-competing companies to create better outcomes for business and society.
At the SME level, providing employees with the ongoing learning and development they crave is difficult. Small businesses don’t have expensive software budgets or chief people and culture officers.
But cross-company mentoring is a solution. A solution made possible by cloud-based mentoring platforms like Mentorloop. These ‘online’ platforms facilitate the remote connecting of mentees and mentors based on a number of matching criteria, as well as providing the communication channels and tools to create a working mentoring relationship.
Mentoring as a business practice addresses many of the L&D outcomes small businesses dream of — while cross-company mentoring makes these dreams possible.