Why hiring developers as mentors will multiply your organization's value

By Norman KöhringJul 5, 2021Read time 3 min
Embedded mentoring

Hiring senior developers as externals is a widely used practice in tech projects. Less common is utilizing them as mentors for your own employees. This is what embedded mentoring is: hiring developers to mentor your in-house developers.

External talent is usually hired for help because of their knowledge and experience. Beyond the project contribution, technical experts can also share their expertise and educate your team.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, the demand for software developers will increase by 22 percent in the next ten years. In the competitive job market, mentoring is one of the best methods of retaining top talent. It’s also an investment in the solution.

When is embedded mentoring a good choice?

A mentor is a senior developer who codes in a project, consults for the customer, and coaches other developers in the team. External mentors can also implement learning programs, assess your internal processes with fresh eyes and be great mediators between management and your dev team.

When should a company hire mentors?

Here are some of the situations in which hiring mentors is extremely advisable:

  • You need a tech lead to conduct major changes.

  • You wish to increase your talent pool and need an external developer for a temporary solution.

  • You wish to create a mentoring program but your team lacks seniority or the workforce.

  • You need someone to complement your senior employee(s).

  • You hired new talent and you need seniority to bring the team up to speed.

  • Your team members want to upgrade their expertise.

  • Your company is in the startup phase and your team is mostly junior. Having a senior developer can help the junior team thrive.

  • Your company is in an advanced stage and you are looking to increase the project’s scope. 

If any of these situations resonate with your case, hiring an external senior developer can be the solution to your challenges.

How to succeed with embedded mentoring?

Many factors will determine the success of a mentorship collaboration. Here are our suggestions to get the most of this collaboration:

1. Know why you are hiring a mentor. When hiring a mentor, you are willing to let go of the blockers that stagnate certain work areas in your business. You should have an open mindset to allow for changes.

2. Include your team in the process. A good synergy between the mentor and the team is crucial for a rich mentoring process. Ask the team what they need instead of telling them what you think they need. Involving your developers in choosing a mentor will increase the chances of the cooperation's success.

3. Hire a developer mentor that shares your values and mission. Assess what kind of developer you’re looking for, starting from your organizational structure. Is your company more corporate or modern, hierarchical or flat? What’s your company size? All these elements matter when choosing the right mentor for your team. 

4. Make the mentor a member of your team, just as everyone else. The faster you introduce the external to a team, the more engagement, productivity, and higher retention you’ll see from your workforce. 

5. Define the role of the mentor. Will the mentor be part of the team as any senior developer? What is the expected allocation of his/her/their resources? Half coding, half mentoring? Half coding, 25 percent mentoring, 25 percent consulting? This should be agreed upon beforehand. Mentoring isn’t just a by-product of working together. It needs to be planned.

"Embedded mentors can train your team, assess your internal processes and become great mediators between management and your in-house team".

Multiply your organization's value with external talent

We live in a time when keeping up technically and professionally is both increasingly important and more difficult. Utilizing external talents as mentors is a way to multiply the value of an organization’s investment in outside experts.

Wunderdog mentors are experienced developers who, coming from the consulting side, have seen many organizations, projects, and teams prosper. They have also seen teams fail. Whatever issue you might have, they have been there before, done that before, and found a solution for it. Tailor a mentoring program to your team, offer them consistent learning opportunities, improve their expertise within projects and they will stay to make your business thrive.

Are you interested in embedded mentoring for your team or business? Book a 30-min free consultation with Wunderdog to see how you can maximize the value of your investment.

Interested? Contact us.