Thinking about changing landscape of training and learning, and then between classroom Vs on the job training, I felt like spending and reflecting on my personal experience of corporate world and then large number of SMEs. I look back and think about days of hiring new employees and thinking how much do i have to spent in terms of time & money to train the person to make him/her most effective at work. And they always say “Hire for attitude as skills can be developed”, still we were hiring for skills most of the times. Then developing a mentoring framework to make them learn :
- Companies political environment navigation or cultural adjustments or “How things work here”
And all of it was done to ensure they succeed “Here”. They were never going to get fired because of their skills , or they were not going to resign due to skills as they say “people leave people, not companies”. So what is the best way to ensure they settle down in company after joining, and learn all of the above. Mentoring come to my mind which was more effective than anything else.
We can have mentoring at various levels starting from peer to peer mentoring that makes them feel comfortable in the new environment to a departmental to cross function mentoring where a mentor from a different department is assigned to provide completely unbiased mentoring. It can even be on the form of a pool of mentors from various functions assigned to the new batch of joins in rotation basis. Mentoring is done by senior(s) in the company who can help mentee understand the company culture from their personal experience and the strategies to make a successful career. Mentoring is sharing and guiding your mentee. It requires less structure and more relationship building.
Being a mentor to someone creates a special relationship where the mentor watches over the mentee, guides them, and corrects them in different situations. There is not a set intervention. It is constant awareness, looking out for pitfalls and political traps that are common in the work environment.
Now then question is One mentor or Many Mentors?
Assigning a mentor is simple, ensure that mentoring programme works in a positive way , slightly tricky. Most of the time mentoring, when not understanding boundaries, can become patronising, and mantee may start looking the organisation from mentor’s eyes. Due to its informal structure, sessions tend to go in various directions and mantle may end up copying mentor’s style.
Having more than one mentor help mentee use their own experience and analyse organisation environment and develop their own style of management with time, which is great for organisation and mantee both. So, if multiple mentors the, what should be the structure of the mentoring programme?