A recent report from the Association for Talent Development reveals that companies are paying upwards of $164 billion a year on employee learning and development. Although inexpensive online courseware is not uncommon, online mentoring programs such as Everwise and MentorCloud are starting to make headway as a learning complement.

Everwise is a company that has made matching professionals for mentee-mentor relationships into a science. In particular, they combine a “multi-factor matching algorithm” with the help of volunteer executives to find the just the right mentor. They then provide tools to track your progress to ensure that both the mentee and mentor are a good fit. The company is currently working with such large companies as Walmart, Salesforce, and eBay.

Another helpful mentoring service is MentorCloud. Founded by Ravi G., San Francisco based company provides a cloud-based platform that encourages collaboration. Unlike Everwise, MentorCloud’s platform goes beyond individuals to serve a variety of organizations as well. Professional associations, alumni networks, and entrepreneurship networks / accelerators will find the platform’s capabilities particularly beneficial: roundtables for knowledge-sharing, scheduling and tracking tools, as well as a library of insights to capture an organization’s collective wisdom. That’s why organizations such as the National Association of Women Business Owners, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and TiE Silicon Valley are clients.

It’s important to note however that mentoring is not skills training. I would not, for instance, encourage my friend – a Grand Rapid dentist – to learn about new developments in teeth technology or any other hands-on aspect of dentistry. However, he might join in order to gain practical business insights relating to his dental practice. Perhaps insights that may take a decade to materialize.  

Both services greatly facilitate the ease with which potential mentee are able to find an appropriate and valuable mentor. Individuals who resonate with continuous learning will find these programs offer the “deep smarts” often lacking in online courseware. And companies will realize thatmentorship programs such as these will prove critical to improving productivity. 

Image provide by digitalfreephotos.net courtesy Stuart Miles