The benefits of a good workplace mentoring scheme are undeniable

The joys of corporate confidantes

GANDALF FROM “The Lord of the Rings”, Yoda in “Star Wars” or M in Ian Fleming’s early James Bond novels all act as mentors, providing sage advice and guidance to the less worldly-wise. In real life, as in fiction, the value of imparting wisdom gained through experience and age (Yoda is 900 years old, Gandalf is in his 1,000s) is becoming ever more important. It is in a company’s interest to keep its employees happy and loyal even if the jobs-market upheavals of the pandemic-induced “great resignation” are fizzling out. A good mentoring scheme can serve this purpose.

Workplace mentoring has long been an informal affair, disguised as a chat by the coffee machine or a trip to a bar with a longer-serving and more senior colleague. Even the most successful find having a receptive ear a useful addition to the corporate armoury. For over 30 years Bill Gates has turned to another billionaire, Warren Buffett, for advice. Peter Thiel, another tech baron, credits René Girard, a French polymath and part-time philosopher, as one of his greatest inspirations.

In recent years businesses have sought to formalise an arrangement with the obvious rewards of nurturing a sense of connection and loyalty, and helping the transfer and development…