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Views of HR specialists on formal mentoring: current situation and prospects for the future

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Purpose ‐ The article aims to report the findings of quantitative and qualitative analysis of the benefits, drawbacks and future prospects of formal mentoring in medium-sized and large organisations. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The empirical data for the study were collected via an online survey, and consist of responses from 152 human resource specialists from companies and public sector organisations in Finland. Findings ‐ The results reflect the organisations' current situation, and the issues that are important to the HR function. Mentoring is primarily used to transfer tacit knowledge from those near retirement to younger colleagues, foster the personnel development and create well-being at work. Career advancement and work performance are not as important as might have been thought. The results suggest that mentoring will be more widely used in the future. Among the future potential deliverables of mentoring are strengthening competence management, creating well-being and enhancing an organisation's image. Young people, in particular, may demand the use of social media alongside mentoring. This could also facilitate mentoring in multicultural organisations. Practical implications ‐ HR functions intending to make greater use of mentoring in future will require more focus and resources to do so. For example, almost one in five of the respondents saw a lack of information as a barrier to establishing mentoring. Originality/value ‐ This paper focuses on how organisations view mentoring, which has not been extensively examined previously.
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Keywords: Finland; Formal mentoring; Human resource development; Large enterprises; Medium-sized enterprises; Mentor; Protégé

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 14 September 2012

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