Recently, we had the opportunity to partner with the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) and GovLoop’s Andrew Krzmarzick to host a webinar on mentorship within government. In the presentation, Krzmarzick described the evolution of mentorship and the growing need for effective, government-wide mentorship programs.

In the beginning of his presentation, Krzmarzick points out that while professional mentorship itself is long-established, there is a new type of “social mentorship” that has recently taken root.  According to his definition, social mentorship “leverages social networks and social media to forge connections among individuals in need of advice, admonition, or assistance.” And he should know, as GovLoop is already harnessing social mentoring for the benefit of government.

If you are unfamiliar with GovLoop, it is an active online community that connects individuals across agencies and levels of government to discuss and solve problems. Last year, GovLoop took its knowledge-sharing forum to the next level by launching a virtual mentoring program to connect retired civil servants with new members of the public sector. This program allowed seasoned civil servants to pass on valuable, on-the-ground experience to their mentees, and 93% of participants reported that this otherwise inaccessible knowledge helped them grow both personally and professionally in their new government roles.

From my perspective, programs like these represent the best of social and informal learning since they foster highly-relevant conversations that may have never occurred otherwise, including in-depth discussions between employees and senior officials, or between individuals who are separated geographically.  Many of these practices and principles can (and should) be applied to existing government training plans. This type of knowledge sharing and mentorship can come from a variety of platforms, including knowledge forums like GovLoop, social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn, and even blended learning environments that combine classroom training with social learning, like Blackboard.

You can learn more about the specifics behind GovLoop’s government mentorship program by viewing Andrew Krzmarzick’s webinar here or in the slideshow below. We would also love to hear about your thoughts and experiences with government social mentorship, so tell us about it in the comments below!

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