E-mentoring, i.e., online peer support groups are useful in a wide variety of situations. The principles of e-mentoring can be utilized in organizational internal development programs, in the orientation of new employees and as a tool for teleworking. The need for online peer support has increased as teleworking has become more common. Many may feel left alone in the midst of constraints as normal interactions within the workplace have diminished. E-mentoring enables people to interact and improve well-being at work, regardless of where or how you work.
The development of e-mentoring began at Humak in 2013 with the eMessi2 project, which aimed to promote work management in everyday life, work-related learning and making tacit knowledge visible.
In 2018 and 2019, Humak implemented e-mentoring activities as part of the activities of the Outreach Youth Work Competence Center, managed by the City of Espoo. Youth work is human-centric work that requires extensive professional skills such as good interpersonal and interaction skills as well as pedagogical skills. In outreach youth work, e-mentoring was used to familiarize new employees with their work and as a tool in building professional identity.
The importance of peer learning has increased in working life. Its importance as a promoter of well-being at work and its effect on the strengthening of competence and professional identity has been noticed. Humak’s mentoring is based on the principle of equality, which puts mentors and mentees (attendees) on an equal footing, regardless of their different roles. This allows mentors and mentees to share information more openly, and also learn from each other.
The end result of the mentoring development process was concretized into three operating models, Mepe! mentor orientation, mentor groups, and supervisor peer meetings.
The purpose of mentor orientation is to serve as a tool for reflecting and evaluating one’s own competence. Orientation meetings help prepare you to act as a mentor. The purpose of the meetings is to familiarize participants with online mentoring and to help participants identify their own strengths as mentors and apply their skills to mentoring in practice.
Mentoring groups especially benefit small groups and those who work remotely. The peer support groups support and improve team spirit, aim to strengthen professional skills and create an open forum for discussion on work-related issues, as well as provide a platform for professional growth. Peer meetings of supervisors are themed meetings for experts, which provide a platform to discuss work-related issues with colleagues.