O P I N I O N
Mentoring remains the most effective mode of knowledge transfer from older professionals to younger generations.
A s the last contingent of baby boomers prepare to retire, many firms are struggling to transfer the knowledge that baby boomers have developed over decades- long careers to younger employees. While authoring training material or developing detailed procedures may succeed in preserving this knowledge, mentoring remains the most effective mode of knowledge transfer from older professionals to younger professionals. However, many firms continue to struggle in establishing and maintaining a mentoring culture. This article seeks to offer some advice from our firm on developing and maintaining a culture of mentoring that can facilitate this critical transfer of knowledge.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a good mentoring culture begins with supporting mentors and recognizing their efforts. Firm leadership needs to acknowledge the time commitments that mentoring involves, both ensuring that mentors are afforded time in their regular schedules to coach younger staff and recognizing that some performance-based metrics (e.g., billable ratios) do not effectively measure mentors’ contributions to the success of the firm. Firms need to get comfortable losing money on some projects when training younger engineers to allow them to develop under real world circumstances. While there may be short-term losses on projects,
the long-term gains of developing a competent workforce are significantly larger. Firms should never be afraid to spend time and money training people due to the possibility that they may leave. A progressive firm that invests in its employees’ development is a firm that should not struggle to attract and retain talent. Some companies use formal mentoring programs with assigned mentors, set times where mentoring occurs, and sometimes even set curricula for mentoring. At BASE, we have found that younger
See MARK HIRSCHI, page 10
THE ZWEIG LETTER AUGUST 2, 2021, ISSUE 1402
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