Saturday, 25 September 2010

3 is the magic number

I saw this post from Punk Rock HR after much research – not quite, but thank you Zemanta nevertheless. I have been on a bit of a mentoring binge thought wise anyway, but this post got me thinking about how you might make a mentoring scheme work.

Punk Rock’s post suggested that it does not really work on a formal basis in organisations, which I understand -  it kind of defeats the whole purpose of what is meant to be a learner lead process if it is foisted upon you when you arrive at a new employer.

So how can businesses make it work? I think the best way is to provide the facility for the mentoring interaction to take place without forcing it upon people. But how might this look in reality?:

1. Get someone to offer up some time to try and match mentors and mentees and the admin that goes in to this

I can hear the groans already – yep it’s a thankless task and one we might not all enjoy but think about the internal networking opportunities this would provide to someone who did take this role? People love banging on about organisational citizenship and I think this is a worthy case in point – not to mention a bit of a buzz to be the go to person/hub around which the scheme depends upon.

Could also pitch it as a means of developing recruitment and selection skills or try and get some time from someone with experience in this area? Ok, it might not be possible but if you don't ask you don't get right?

2. Get more than one hub

This ties in to the point about one person perhaps having too much to do on top of their current day job. Furthermore it is always good to get a second set of eyes on things for fresh perspective – not to mention cover in unforeseen absences, holidays etc. Perhaps have management of the admin of the scheme rotating on a 2 monthly basis so people don’t get snowed under. It would also provide an opportunity to reflect on means to improve processes and practice it whilst at away from the scheme.

3. Would you consider external mentoring with other organisations?

This is something of a wild card which has just come to mind as I have been typing so I wait to be shot down on how the practicalities of this might work! Better yet if someone has an example of how they make it work please say.

There will be issues in terms of intellectual property if you are competitors, for example Barclays Capital are not going to be overly happy about their brightest and best spending time over at Merrill Lynch.

But what about cross industry or sector link ups? Could the health services not pick up a trick from a scheme which gives them access to manager in business? Might also be a good CSR opportunity?

These are just suggestions but what should not get lost in this is the the main motivation for implementing the scheme - providing the structure so individuals can find the best means to informally continue their professional development.

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