A growing number of businesses are using AI tools to automate routine tasks. But these tools will impact every aspect of an organization, even something as personal as the way senior staff mentor rising talent. SHRM Enterprise Solutions and Linkage, a SHRM Company, have decades of experience in helping organizations understand and develop their leadership capacity, even during seismic shifts in the workplace. Here are five ways the AI tools on the market today will transform the mentor relationships of tomorrow.
Automation creates capacity. The most significant barrier to senior staff taking new talent under their wing is time. Mentors are high-performers whose talents are in great demand. They often have little time to pass on what they’ve learned to the next generation. AI won’t solve this issue, but it will automate countless low-value tasks that leave leaders depleted at the end of the day. The hour a leader might have spent poring over spreadsheets will become time they can spend with a mentee discussing how to make strategic decisions based on the AI’s preliminary data analysis.
AI-powered matchmaking improves opportunity. One of the biggest challenges in mentorship is finding compatible pairs of mentors and mentees. Too often this is left to chance, which means many high-potential workers never get the mentorship they need. In the future, AI programs will accelerate the matching process, though there will still be the need for human involvement to account for potential biases and ensure equitable access to these valuable resources.
Assessments reveal growth opportunities. Getting to know a mentee’s strengths and weaknesses is a large part of the early mentorship process. This process can require a great deal of emotional intelligence on the part of both parties, as revealed by many of Linkage’s signature solutions. AI can speed this process by providing customizable psychometric evaluations that identify areas where the mentee needs the most guidance. Additionally, AI can help create equal opportunity and more balanced access to both mentors and growth opportunities. Current mentor programs match women with more junior mentors than such programs do for men, resulting in less impact on career advancement for women.
Data analysis uncovers trends. Sometimes a mentor will have to try a few different tacks with a mentee to find an approach that works. Or a mentee may come to their mentor with a challenge with several possible solutions that require further testing. Simply put: You can’t mentor what you don’t measure. AI can help here, too, making it easier to track performance over time so that both parties can see which approaches get results.
AI coaches can scale lessons. A mentor is an invaluable resource but not an inexhaustible one. A mentee may struggle with applying a mentor’s lessons to a particular situation. That’s where an AI coach can help fill in the gap. An AI chatbot trained on the mentor’s methodology and wisdom may help the mentee explore applications of their mentor’s approach, even when the mentor isn’t available to meet.
None of this is science fiction. There are tools on the market right now that address each of these needs. Many are in their infancy now, but with time and user feedback, they will only improve. However, none of these tools can replace what underlies all outstanding mentorship: the human relationships at the heart of programs like Linkage’s Purposeful Leadership® Solutions. Mentors can build rapport, share wisdom, spot problems, instill confidence and open doors for talented staff on the rise. All of that will be as valuable in the workplace of tomorrow as it has been for thousands of years. AI will accelerate the mentor relationships of the future, but it can never replace them.
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