May 18, 2007

Wharton seconds me, sort of

A couple of days after I posted this, I see this article from Wharton (subscription required):

Many workers today hold positions at multiple companies during their careers, and may feel no particular loyalty to remain at any organization for any great length of time. By the same token, many companies feel no special loyalty to their workers.

Despite this sea change in corporate culture -- and in some instances because of it -- mentoring is just as important as it ever has been for younger workers looking to learn the ropes from more experienced employees, according to experts at Wharton and other business schools. Indeed, mentoring may also be more important than ever for organizations themselves, since linking up a mature mentor with a promising protégé is an excellent way to keep valued up-and-comers from jumping ship and taking jobs elsewhere.

Increasingly, management experts view mentoring not just as a one-on-one relationship but as a component of social networking, where protégés, also known as mentees, gain valuable knowledge by interacting with many experienced people. Mentees, for example, often look to more experienced co-workers for career guidance and professional advice and use them as sounding boards for ideas and problem-solving. Mentors also help employees learn about, and become acclimated to, an organization's culture and politics.

Yet these days, frequent job changes by younger workers could actually dissuade senior managers from volunteering to be mentors, since they may not wish to spend valuable time with someone who might leave the company before long. Therefore, young workers who want guidance should be more aggressive in seeking to build relationships with mentors than they were in the past, according to these experts.

Yes, the value that mentoring adds is most to the mentee :-) So what's stopping you from getting a great mentor. Are you looking hard enough?