This Week's Herman Trend Alert

HR in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

December 23, 1998

Mentor-Mentee Programs Show Growth Trend

We donít care whether they are called "Mentorship." "Mentor-Mentee," or "Buddy System" Programs, weíre seeing a definite trend out there. Wise employers are looking for ways to capitalize on their human assets by helping to transfer that knowledge from experienced to new or younger employees. From Fleishman-Hilliard, the communications organization in Philadelphia to Justice Technology (Americaís fastest-growing, privately held company) in Culver City, California, enlightened employers are recognizing the value of these kinds of programs.

Many employers have abandoned failed programs, never to re-examine the possibility of "making them work" in their organizations. They donít understand why the programs never really worked. Just like the failure of 80% of the quality programs that were tried ten years ago, mentorship will only work when it is appropriately supported by the entire organization. Here are some important keys:

  • the culture must support continuous improvement
  • the mentors AND the mentees must be given training in how to get the most out of the experience.
  • there must be ongoing company support for the relationships through a program coordinator
  • the company must support the relationships with extra time during mealtimes or in-between for meetings between the mentors and mentees
  • both sets of employees should receive meaningfully rewards for their participation

The pay-off for the company is more than worth the investmentógreater longevity/reduced turnover, employees who feel invested in the success of the company and people who believe in each other. In these challenging low-unemployment times, it makes infinite sense to invest in this kind of program.

© Copyright 1998- by The Herman Group, Inc. -- reproduction for publication is encouraged, with the following attribution: From "The Herman Trend Alert," by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. 336-210-3548 or To sign up, visit The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group, Inc."

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