Your employees need career help. So much so that LinkedIn is testing a new feature that matches professionals seeking career advice with mentors at the ready.  

There is no arguing the value of a fantastic mentor. Suzi Owens, group manager of Consumer Products, Corporate Communications at LinkedIn, is quoted in a FastCompany article about the new service as saying, “[The service] is not meant to be a replacement for long-term mentorship. It’s meant to tackle those ‘quick question’ requests such as whether you are taking the right approach in different scenarios.”

The article explains that the program was launched in part due to the changing workplace and the shorter amount of time employees are spending with one employer. Both issues make it difficult to establish solid mentor-mentee relationships and this new service, Owens says, is  “a new form of mentorship that’s virtual, lightweight, and that fits today’s changing workplace.”

Agreed, times have changed and old strategies no longer work. And yes, mentoring and coaching are different things but your employees need career advice. Period. It’s time you rethink how you want them to get it.

Companies who want to differentiate themselves, and demonstrate commitment to employees’ individual career development goals can do so by finding a way to offer this benefit in house.  A few ideas:

  1. Carve a space in your corporate wellness program to provide the confidential career service that your employees desire. After all, career stress is a leading contributor to health issues including depression, obesity, sleep issues, addiction and more that your wellness programs try to address.
  2. Collaborate with a qualified career coach to determine a strategy that works for your budget. It is as easy as offering a set number of career coaching hours available per employee per month/quarter/year so they don’t have to go outside of the organization. Measure ROI using existing engagement surveys, stay and exit interviews, etc.
  3. Hire an in-house career coach – trickier for smaller businesses
  4. Incorporate career development workshops into your quarterly training budget

Companies fear that if an employee talks with a career coach, they will be coached to leave. Good coaches do not offer advice like this. Companies that support the individual’s’ overall career growth are likely to see positive effects on the organization in terms of loyalty and engagement.

The job market is hot, and the war for talent even hotter. With shorter stints of employment making it harder to establish mentoring relationships and fueling the need for on-demand career support, it makes sense for forward-thinking businesses to do all they can to not only retain but inspire their workforce. The good news is that technology makes offering mentoring and career counseling immeasurably easier, and affordable.

If you want to know more about how outsourced career coaching works or how to incorporate a career wellness component into your company wellness program, contact me at


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