Monday, April 22, 2013

Implementing an Ementoring program

Mentoring has always been a huge game-changer in an organisation!  Who would not want more mentor - mentee relationships to build a culture of trust where levels of motivation are high and where all team members and their managers become focused on learning and on personal and professional growth.

In the past, mentoring programs have tended to be very formal and have had mixed rates of success.  Some mentee - mentor relationships have grown in leaps and bounds and in other cases, there has been a big start with little follow-through.
Technology has without doubt come to our aid!  My new favorite expression is - "ÿou cannot  un-invent what has been invented".  The technology to enable e-mentoring is now in place.  As HR and L and D managers, we need to take advantage of what is now invented and use it to improve our service delivery.

The technology is there to enable mentoring to move to another level and has huge advantages:
  • We are able to draw from a wider pool of mentors who are based in different offices and states - the larger the mentor pool, the easier it is to make the right matching arrangements with mentees
  • We are able to provide the platform for shorter, more intensive sessions that happen more frequently - this constant contact strengthens the relationship
  • There is the opportunity to provide a wider program that ultimately has more impact as more people join the program and the impact is felt in the organisation
  • The experience can be more user-friendly and more applicants for both mentor and mentee roles are able to be processed more readily

Yes - there are challenges....
  • Some might not be familiar with the technology AND Yes it is possible to induct them in to using it
  • Some might still demand face to face sessions as the only and best way of doing things.  YES AND remind them that people tried to deter Alexander Bell from inventing the telephone as they preferred face to face contact.....
  • There could be other forms of resistance based on misconceptions about mentoring and the huge value it adds to the organisation.  YES And it is possible to run education campaigns to overcome these obstacles 
AND who would not want - a low upfront investment in the platform and in training the mentors and mentees followed by some monitoring to ensure that the process stays on track and is achieving milestones.
Seems a no-brainer to me:  low upfront investment and loads of rewards as culture change takes place, knowledge is transferred from baby boomers to new millenials and new recruits settle in well.  And that is besides some of the other benefits such as growing and retaining talent, providing women with opportunities to 'lean in' and setting a culture of sharing and learning in place.
Here are some guidelines for implementing a successful ementoring program, the MCI way:

  1. Ensure that each person has the right technology - camera and ear phones with microphones AND your new best friends are the IT team.  Ensure that your ementoring platform is in place and works well.
  2. Get buy-in to form a team of champions - put your marketing cap on and start selling it to key stakeholders
  3. Have training in place for mentors and mentees - ensure that they know what to expect and how to get the most out of their interactions
  4. Do your follow-up: don't just hope for the best that the process will work out.  Be on top of things to provide reports and to check-in that the pairings are working out well and achieving their milestones
  5. Collect success stories - and celebrate even the smallest wins

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