The dreaded moment: you have a burning question and no idea where to turn. For most people, this leads to a frantic Google search. But what if you could turn to someone instead of something for answers? With flash mentoring, participants can turn to mentors in order to learn a skill or topic of their choosing in a short amount of time.
What is Flash Mentoring?
Flash mentoring is one-time or short-term mentoring. Instead of a relationship that lasts months, this format is centered around tactical one-time meetings that provide knowledge or skills when participants need them. With the one-time format, mentees can learn from a variety of individuals with expertise in varying subjects.
What are the Benefits of Flash Mentoring?
This mentoring format is appealing for many reasons:
- Participants can get expert advice on the subjects or skills they need to know in the immediate future, whether for a role they’re aiming for or a new position to which they’re getting adjusted.
- It removes the burden of long-term time commitments. This is huge for high-value but busy mentors, as it makes them more accessible to junior mentees, and able to interact with more mentees over time. Flash mentoring also empowers mentees to drive just-in-time learning, allowing them to connect with a mentor to get what they need to succeed.
- Flash mentoring pairs well with other mentoring programs. Added in conjunction with a career mentoring program or mentoring circles, flash mentoring can create a more encompassing mentoring culture in an organization, allowing participants to intensify their mentoring interactions for desired results.
Who Should Use Flash Mentoring?
This format requires less time from both program owners and participants, and can be implemented on its own or as a supplement to existing mentoring programs. With software, your flash mentoring program can practically run itself, freeing up program owners to focus on additional engagement initiatives.
Here are a couple examples of how companies, universities, and professional associations can leverage it to accomplish organizational goals.
For the Workplace
In the workplace, flash mentoring can be used for employee career development, network building, and breaking down silos.
Develop career path. Flash mentoring is a great way for organizations to support employees who want to learn a variety of skills and knowledge from a range of experts within the organization, creating more satisfied employees while providing a manageable time commitment. According to Gallup, only 7% of U.S. adults who changed jobs stayed at the same company. Through flash mentoring, employees can interact with peers in other departments and functions, getting a first-person perspective into other career options and skill opportunities within the company, rather than leaving the organization.
Build networks. You’ve heard it before: It’s not what you know; it’s who you know. We’ve all had the importance of networking hammered into our heads. And yet, finding the time to prioritize it can leave us searching for excuses as to why it simply won’t work out. With flash mentoring, you can orchestrate internal networking events that connect employees for one-time introductory meetings and spur conversations cross-departmentally.
Break down silos. It’s common sense that organizations work best when internal teams collaborate smoothly, overcoming the obstacles of fragmented knowledge and processes. If the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, disorganization and inefficiency will win. Flash mentoring allows employees to interact across departmental lines, enabling a company to operate more efficiently.
At universities, flash mentoring can be used to help students adjust to their new environment, build networks to give them a competitive edge, and engage alumni.
Adjust to new surroundings. College can be a big transition. New surroundings. New people. New routines. With this form of mentoring, universities can offer students the chance to interact with peers, upperclassmen, or alumni to get better acquainted with the school and what’s to come. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that students who sign up for a mentor are 14% more likely to stay in college. And 13% more likely to graduate college after four years.
Network for competitive edge. Flash mentoring’s shorter, quicker format allows students to build up a network of those they’ve engaged with as future resources when entering the job market. The addition of mentoring software enables the quick matching of mentors and mentees, making it easy to re-match for as many sessions as your students desire. Meeting a variety of mentors provides students with advice and guidance as they progress through their majors and skill development, giving them a competitive edge upon graduation.
Engage alumni pool. Flash mentoring can engage more mentors from the alumni network. Providing one-time sessions creates more convenient opportunities for alumni to get involved amidst busy schedules. This gives participants a deeper connection to their alma mater and an outlet for philanthropy. Building a stronger alumni network boosts university initiatives and future growth plans. A stronger network also gives students a boost in post-grad opportunities, as there are more people and avenues to turn to for guidance and assistance.
For Professional Associations
Professional associations can use flash mentoring to help members build their networks and learn job-related skills from peers and industry leaders. It’s another way for associations to provide value to members, which can increase retention and recruitment levels.
Increase engagement. With so many things vying for employees’ time and attention, professional associations are trying to remain relevant to new and rising professionals. Implementing flash mentoring allows associations to help members build larger personal networks for increased career opportunities and skill building. Participants have the ability to conduct multiple sessions, each with their own learning objectives and desired mentors in order to gain information and knowledge on a variety of topics. Students in the association can meet with professionals, and junior professionals can meet with senior professionals.
Attract prospective members. Modern formats of mentoring can attract younger members and less experienced industry workers to associations. Entry level employees and beyond want activities that provide them paths to development. With flash mentoring, associations meet the need for skill advancement through peer learning and advice from industry leaders.
With the flexibility of flash mentoring, mentors and mentees can reap the modern benefits of mentoring in less time. Organizations can support employees, students, and members who want to learn a variety of skills and knowledge from a range of specialists, building the capacity for mentoring within their people and their internal culture.
Don’t risk your people finding the wrong information from a misheard Alexa request or question. With flash mentoring, you’re able to engage your people in human connections in order to learn desired skills or knowledge—rather than leaving them to fend for themselves on the Internet. This is a personalized experience that creates impact and builds greater connectivity across your organization. This focus on a stronger mentoring culture will help to turn your organization into a more competitive entity while building towards your strategic goals.