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Articles  
Moulding employees to organizational needs thru Competent Mentoring
 
 
  SECTIONS
Introduction
What is mentoring?
Significance
Who is a mentor?
Returns
Profit center - case study
Outcome
Best practices
Mentored?

Organizations originate and grow in dynamic environment where change is inevitable. Changes in the external environment of an organization produce reflexes in its internal environment. These reflexes in turn pave the way to the creation of new ideas and visions necessary for growth. The process of adapting changes and evolving may be called learning, which enables transformation.
Changes like layoffs that pressurize employees for better performance are common today. For efficient performance, organizations require an efficient workforce and hence need to train them. Effective learning develops an efficient workforce and helps achieve the desired results. Mentoring facilitates effective learning.


What is mentoring?


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Mentoring is a supportive learning relationship between a caring individual (mentor) who shares knowledge, experience and wisdom with another (pupil) individual who is ready and willing to benefit from this exchange, to enrich their professional journey.

To quote Suzanne Faure, "Mentoring is a long-term relationship that meets a development need, helps develop full potential, and benefits all partners, mentors, pupil and the organization."

Mentoring installs an encouraging atmosphere for effective functioning and accomplishment of objectives. It endows organizations with productive employees and assists in developing human resources. Mentoring develops leadership qualities and partnership skills and facilitates experimentation with innovative ideas. In the process, employees gain the required competency levels. Mentoring thus enhances performance.


Significance


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To progress in this technological era, organizations need to recruit employees who are techno-savvy and have the vision to implement it. In such situations, the behavioral aspect of the employees is often neglected. Mentoring streamlines these behaviors with that of superiors and smoothens the progress of organizations.

Mentoring explores and forecasts future, diagnoses opportunities and enables career development. It also helps organizations to focus on objectives such as reducing turnover and developing leaders.

Mentoring assists managers in assessing their subordinates and supports learning and improving vital managerial functions.


Who is a mentor?


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To quote Stephen Gibb, a mentor is "an accomplished and experienced performer who takes a special, personal interest in helping to guide and develop a junior or more in experienced person."

Mentor is a trusted counselor, coach and sponsor. He is a role model, sincere and an expert in human behaviour specializing in

Enhancement of talents and abilities
Inspiring and motivating
Turning vision into results
Building the quality of fluency in work and life

Senior employees of an organization are the mentors for junior employees. An employee to be a good mentor needs to have:

A positive experience with the pupil
Trust in the pupil
A good rapport with the pupil

Hence, both need to share a good relationship for a fruitful mentoring.


Returns


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The process of mentoring bestows many advantages. It enables

Learning for the mentor and pupil
Employees adapt and adjust to work conditions
Faster and effective communication besides an easy flow and exchange of information
Integration of diversified objectives of the employees with that of the organization
Improvement in recruitment practices and reduces turnover
New hires become aware of the right behaviour and also creates an innovative and knowledgeable workforce
Forum for discussion and for resolving employees' issues in confidentiality

Well-structured mentoring programmes are planned, methodical and open with a designated beginning and end.


Profit center - case study


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Varian Associates' radiation division was under losses for more than five years. The turnover of new hires was increasing. This was a result of de-layering of management, which hindered promotions. It produced negative vibes between the new hires and the old staff. The company wanted to avoid expenditure on training the fresh recruits. Hence, it adopted a six-month mentor - assisted programme. The focus was on enhancing the one-to-one relationship within the organization.

The programme aimed at:

Recognizing qualified partners for mentors
Training the mentor and the pupil together
Training for effective planning and succession
Empowering and equipping the pupils
Training in rotation with mentors
Appointment of a moderator for the programme
Regular feedback

Outcome


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Consequent to the programme:

Turnover reduced by 50%
Productivity increased as friction between the old and new employees reduced
Senior employees learnt software programmes and the new ones gained from their experience.
The lacunae in the skill sets of the pupils were filled
The pupils were made aware of the upcoming trends in business
Overall everyone had a clear picture of the company's mission and that of its competitors

The company followed and executed other mentor-assisted programmes in all its divisions and was successful. The programme proved profitable. The radiation unit was soon leading among the 23 Varian divisions.

organizations can benefit from mentoring only by implementing latest practices.


Best practices


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Joint training: Mentoring programmes include training the superiors and the new hires together. Trust building exercises like the blindfold games are a part of such programmes. These exercises are interpreted and linked to the behavioural aspects of the participants and highlight their strengths and limitations.

Here the mentors guide the pupils in problem solving. This helps in building effective interpersonal relationships and understanding communication styles. The appropriate blends of equipping and empowering employees are thereby realized.

Internship: The internship programmes for 3 to 6 months are popular practices. These help the participants in decision-making and day-to-day organization.

Workshops: The mentors and pupils each attend separate training workshops. These workshops provide written material, demonstrations, videotapes and skill practice. Skills like listening for instance need practice for effective communication.

Mentoring groups: The mentoring groups consist of three to four mentors with six to eight pupils. The programme focuses on career development and learning the intricacies of the work in the organization.

Multi-faceted approach: In this approach a council of members is established. The council includes people from various fields of expertise. It has mentors, executive directors, personal coaches and small learning groups. This facilitates identifying problems encountered in other functional areas. Employees learn from varied job experiences.


Mentored?


Top

organizations require mentoring to tackle the challenges of the present environment and pioneer their business. Appropriate mentoring practices ensure success and reward organizations with competent employees.

Happy Mentoring....

Author:
Dr. Vikram Raj - Strategy Partner

 
 

 

 
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