Why HR needs to embrace cross-company mentoring

HR professionals are typically strong advocates of mentoring programs. But so far, most HR professionals have kept their mentoring programs internal.

Companies have historically shied away from sharing their employees across enemy lines, and for obvious reasons. But how many organisations are genuinely your competitors? How many organisations are there in the world that you are not in competition with?

Because all of these non-competing organisations, big and small, have an incredible pool of diverse people, knowledge, and learnings that they can share with your organisation, and vice versa.

With the ubiquitousness of tools like Linkedin, individuals are no longer restricted or siloed within their own organisations. The notion that good employees may be poached or incentivised away by inter-company interactions is already redundant.

Employees are always looking around; always seeking new opportunities; and always building their networks.

As their employer, it benefits you to be a part of this process. It benefits you to proactively seek avenues for your employees to feel valued and fulfilled - and ensure they are eager to learn and develop the skills that they can apply to your organisation today.

So what value does cross company mentoring have over-and-above an 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. Large companies with highly skilled individuals can lend their expertise to non-competing companies in an almost-altruistic way - creating better outcomes for business and society

Cross-company mentoring is the natural progression of internal mentoring. In an increasingly interconnected economy and workplace, it makes sense that we have more interconnected organisations and people.

The B2C sharing economy is enormous and growing exponentially as businesses and consumers have come to realise that there is a huge reservoir of untapped profit. The B2B sharing economy will be next, as companies will inevitably arrive at the same conclusion - that this is anything but a zero-sum game.

The tools and technologies that will enable people matching across company lines, as well as efficient communication channels and mentoring portals - are already available. And they will provide the seamless transition necessary to facilitate the next phase of business mentoring.

There is an incredible amount of mutual benefit being left on the table; mutual benefit which HR professionals can unlock today.

Interested in learning more about or accessing cross-company mentoring - feel free to reach out: lance@mentorloop.com.au

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