In the media

In the Media

Is a lack of mentoring creating a knowledge-deficient workforce?

20 October 2014


 “The British workforce is at risk of becoming knowledge deficient within a decade because senior employees are failing to pass on crucial insight to younger colleagues before they retire, experts fear” was the headline in a recent article.

In the same article the writer acknowledges that some companies are forward thinking enough to have mentoring schemes, but that these tend to be rudimentary. They tend to depend on senior employees voluntarily supporting one or more less-experienced mentees in an attempt at a low cost solution to retaining critical information.

Some might say that any mentoring is better than no mentoring – but surely this approach could be damaging rather than helpful.

The answer must be to face up properly to the problem. Acknowledge that the information gap is a real threat. Identify where that threat is and put substantive mentoring support in place.

To me this reads a lot like the problem of not putting in place leadership succession planning – it is an example of heard-in-the-sand business.

So why is this not being addressed? Maybe everyone knows its needs to be done but no one sees it as their responsibility. Yes HR have a role to play, but in an SME economy like Northern Ireland’s, many company’s don’t have an HR specialist. I’d suggest that the leadership team should know long before HR that there is the danger of an internal brain drain.

Succession planning and mentoring are excellent ways of ensuring information protection within companies. Relegating this to generous volunteers is no way to treat what is essentially another form of intellectual property.

If you need help designing an effective mentoring or succession planning programme call me on07768 552 773, or email me at

Article quoted from “Baby boomers leaving knowledge gap legacy, expert warns” by Suen Robert-Edomi in the Training Journal, 19 November 2014.


Image courtesy of Ambro from www. Free Digital