As an employee retention speaker and employee retention author, I am a huge advocate of mentoring programs to help grow and keep people in an organization. Growing talent not only improves their value to the organization it also is a key factor that people look for in an employer. If they are not growing, they tend to get bored, see no future for themselves and ultimately leave to find it. Mentoring has gone on for years either in an informal or formal way. Mentoring is good because it is a way to pass along wisdom so we don’t make many of the mistakes of the past. Now, along comes Google, YouTube and all the knowledge that is at the tip of our fingers. So, who needs a mentor?
One of the issues I see as an employee retention speaker working with young people is that the answers are so readily available that these young people often don’t recognize the value of a mentor because the answers (or perceived answers) are at their disposal by “googling it.” My speaking colleague, Randy Wilinski, is a 32-year-old millennial that I do a program with called “Making Millennials Great” pointed this fact out to me when I asked why so many young people believe that Google can be a substitute for having a mentor. As we talked, we agreed that there is a subtle difference between having information and having wisdom.
There is something special that comes from a mentor who uses their wisdom to convey a point vs. simply reading about it on Google. The ability to emphasize the importance of a point, how people might react and to bounce ideas off of a real person is something special that you can’t get from Google. The growth is far more significant and impactful when it comes from a mentor who has wisdom. Having “been there and done” that carries some credibility as well that an article on Google may not.
Now, let’s think about the potential. Combine Google and wisdom from a mentor and you have a potent source of growth that if utilized properly by an organization can truly drive results and grow people. This employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer also sees it as a tremendous tool to drive employee retention. Take the information from Google, use it as a point of discussion so you get the information combined with the wisdom. That is powerful. The key is for people and organizations to combine the two rather than viewing it as Google vs. Wisdom.