08 October 2012

Employed Mentors' Program

File under "well, it's worth considering even if it isn't fully thought through as yet."

Unemployment is usually between 5% to 10%. That means that for every one person who is unemployed, there are 9 to 19 people who are employed. Why not a mentor program that gives each unemployed person access to the 9 to 19 who are employed? It could be both value and prod to the unemployed and a form of service tax on the employed.

There are a lot of things that could be done with this model, but essentially you'd raise the probability that someone out of the labor market still had connections to it. The employed mentors (EMs?) could offer interview tips, share job leads, suggest training programs, give feedback about where to apply, etc. Mentor teams could track their numbers against national averages, looking at numbers like time to get their apprentice into a job, ratio of pay in last job to next job, etc.

Particularly for the long-term unemployed, it is easy to become disconnected from prevailing norms, trends, and even the hope that comes from talking to people who show an interest. A program like this might help.


Geordie Keitt said...

People network who can network, and they network to the extent that they can network. Those who can't network do not network.

Mentorship requires a certain amount of emotional buy-in from the mentor and mentee, and some people have the ability to make these kinds of connections. Likely these people already network.

If you set up a program that tries to help everyone, bad networkers will derive or deliver the least benefit. The only way to make it work that I can see is to gamify it so that everyone has incentive to come out of their shell and make a connection.

I like the notion of the "mentoring team", where mentors can mentor other mentors on how better to mentor whomever the team is mentoring.

Could we set up a fantasy league and get some action on this? We'd want to draft mentors who specialize in hot, high-value fields like web 2.0 design and creative tax avoidance.

Ron Davison said...


I like the idea of gamifying this. The real catalyst for this, though, is my notion that unemployment is at least partly a function of isolation from groups who might unofficially give you some good advice or useful connections. So many people move away from home for their careers and depending on their personality, a layoff could result in severe isolation that might never be overcome enough to get them back into the informal connections that create so many hires.