You might say that mentoring never left your organisation, and there are indeed some lovely examples…but in many companies, the existence of positive, sustainable programmes has waned. Sound familiar?
In three short chunks, I will offer you, as a key player in the process, some building blocks to enable the development of a mentoring programme that delivers benefits to your organisation.
Despite how some present it, there is no ‘rocket science’ behind successful mentoring…but there are a few fundamental principles, and so over a series of posts, I’ll outline some principles that I have found most pertinent. I won’t focus on the benefits of mentoring however, it is implicit that whomever is implementing a programme needs to be clear about what they aim to achieve from doing so.
Leith Gordon Ltd’s recent experience with Cabot Specialty Fluids (CSF), Aberdeen, Scotland will be used as examples. Amy Robertson, HR Manager of CSF decided to implement a pilot mentoring scheme and has been delighted with the progress to date.
So the first few pearls of wisdom are:
1. You need to get genuine leadership buy in before launching. No huge surprise but really…a champion in the leadership team is essential if mentoring is going to have credibility and if mentees are going to feel they have permission to dedicate time their own development. In CSF, the General Manager has been leading the march - he speaks about it passionately, he is a mentor himself, he introduces each workshop and communicates about the programme to the wider organisation. Good start!
2. Nominate an Internal coordinator – whilst it is very useful to have external support to design the programme, training, follow up and evaluation, there absolutely needs to be an internal coordinator. Make sure that the coordinator is given credit and time to do this role effectively At CSF, the HR Manager is the internal coordinator and folks know whom to contact with any queries.
3. Give your Matching process some thought – Matching… there’s a viper’s nest if ever there was one. Again many ways to do this with pros and cons for each method. CSF have set up a small pilot with a few employees who indicated they’d be up for it together with a group of volunteer mentors. The HR Manager did the first pass of matching. So far, there’s been a positive reaction.
So there are some starting points. My questions to you are:
Give it some thought and look out for the next two articles for some more fundamentals to get mentoring back onto your organisation’s agenda.
In the meantime, give me a shout with any questions.
Susan and her family lived in Azerbaijan for over 6 years. Whilst on assignment, Susan wrote the ‘Baku Diaries’ for the CIPD North of Scotland & Islands newsletter.
By request, these diaries have been included here. They are ‘oldies’ now, but hopefully still ‘goodies'. Enjoy!