Tag Archives: online mentoring

Why and how should you promote Diversity & Inclusion at your workplace?

While Women’s Equality Day was being observed on August 26 to commemorate the voting rights being conferred on women in US in 1920, somewhere in France a controversy was playing out over women wearing burkini or burqini. These unrelated events reflect a wide range of public conscience around diversity & inclusion around gender, ethnicity, race in our society.

Diversity & inclusion are not just restricted to our society at large as we see these occurring in our workplaces too. Having said that, according to research published in American Sociological Review, workplace diversity is among the most important contributing factors of a business’ sales revenue, customer numbers and profitability.

In his outlook on HR Trends for 2016, Josh Bersin talks about Building an inclusive culture is now the No. 1 predictive strategy for global financial performance, bringing this topic into the focus on CEOs and senior execs. Further, management consulting firm, McK

insey reported that companies in the top quartile for diversity financially outperform those in the bottom quartile. “Gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform” their industry average, “while ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to outperform” the industry average. And diversity is probably “a competitive differentiator that shifts market share toward more diverse companies over time.”

Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace are important for bottomline
Diversity matters

 Despite all the data and the awareness around the significance of Diversity & Inclusion available with us,   upward of 95 percent of large corporate diversity recruiting efforts routinely fail to meet their modest diversity goals. In fact, the EEOC (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) reports that diversity employee representation percentages at corporations have barely budged since 1985.

There are multiple ways through which Diversity & Inclusion can be built and sustained in the workplace.  I am listing out a few which you can choose from depending on your organization’s context and policies:

Create internal awareness

Create an internal marketing program for people to know about Diversity & Inclusion, the benefits of it and the various initiatives your organization is taking for it. Right information leads to right decisions being taken by managers and employees of your organization.

Diversity is important for company's bottomline
Diversity is important for bottomline

 Focus on data-driven Diversity hiring

It is important to use data while hiring for diversity. You can look at what programs are attracting candidates more, what kind of social is more effective, what is the right choice of words when advertising for jobs to promote diversity. Data based decisions can then be tracked to focus on the one yielding better results in diversity recruitment ratio.

Engage them gainfully

Give new hires a reason to stay. Devote an equal amount of time and effort in retaining new employees. Familiarize them with the new job and company culture. The first few weeks can be the most difficult time for any employee. It’s important to show they have a future in the company. Clearly communicate opportunities for advancement. Set up mentoring programs to build close working relationships. Finding mentors that share personal interests can foster new friendships.

Customize initiatives in line with your workforce

From setting up day care to extended leave for mothers with new-borns, listen in to what your workforce is asking for. Fine tuning your initiatives to meet your workforce requirements is one of the best ways to create diversity in the workplace.

Above all, constant monitoring of all Diversity & Inclusion initiatives need to be done by concerned business leaders to ensure any course correction required to sustain the multiple benefits of a workplace Diversity & Inclusion strategy for the organization.

How to Succeed with Mentoring Programs in Corporate

Are you planning to start a mentoring program to improve employee engagement? That’s great! Whatever might be the reason, mentoring is a great way to support, develop and grow your employee in a much more impactful way for your business.

Another important aspect is employee retention. as per 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 60-70% of your Millennials workforce will leave your organization by the year 2020. This is a cause of grave concern.Employee Engagement is important else they will exit your organization

If we look at what Millennials are looking for, Harvard Business Review has put it well very in this compact infographic below. To summarize, they are looking for a constant dialogue for meaningful conversations and feedback. Mentoring can be great tool to support that need.

What Millennials Want

But before you go too far in implementing mentoring program in your organization, here are a few key aspects you need to look at:

Is your organization ready for Mentoring?

Most of the companies are still led by Boomers and Gen X people. For them to understand the need of a Millennial can sometimes be difficult. The whole concept of social, collaborative work environment is very new for them. Boomers, grew up in an environment of societal upheaval where challenging authority and the status quo were the norm. They come to the workplace confident, prepared to work hard, and expecting to be rewarded for their efforts. On the other hand, Millennials grew up in an environment of adult attention where monitoring, recognition, and support were the norm. This difference keeps creating a conflict in the organization and relationship between Boomers and Millennials.

That said it’s not impossible to put an end to this. Given the right training and setting expectations, we can have a very committed and successful relationship. So before you start make sure you are doing the due diligence to find out the pain points and addressing the issues.

Have you defined a Process for Mentoring?

Adhoc attempts without proper planning and process to support your program can definitely cost you. Process always helps you keep focused on the tasks in hand and guide you on the next steps. There are also great tools available for you to retrospect if you feel something went wrong. You may want to read this blog post which explains the D.E.L.T.A. process of NxtSpark which aids and guides your internal Mentoring program.

Figured out a way to Mentee Mentor Matching?

Getting paired with the right mentor is crucial, this will probably define whether you will be able to sustain the momentum of the program and have a ROI of the significant time and investment you have made. Read this blog to understand more on how to get it right.

Are you tracking the progess?

Most of the companies, who have successfully implemented mentoring, had a strong tracking system to measure the pulse of the program. Getting insights into whether employees are realizing the value or if the Mentoring pairs is spending enough time with each other is very important for the success of the program.

However, there’s an important aspect to bear in mind. The specific details about a Mentoring relationship are supposed to be confidential to enable them to open up. Crossing that line can result in breach of trust of your employees, which can cause a monumental issue and can cause more damage.

To conclude, Employee engagement is one of the hardest issues corporates are facing today. Mentoring/Coaching, Peer mentoring, mentoring 2.0 are different names and ways to solve the problem. But at the end of the day we are talking about human relationship. If solutions are used as a checklist item, they are bound to fail. Make sure you are reading the pulse of the employees well and you are prepared to take on the problem head on. Most of organization need help, so don’t think twice if you feel help is required.

Creating Shared Journeys In The Workplace

mentoring coaching onboarding

In Homer’s “The Odyssey,” before leaving for the Trojan War Odysseus had left a wise and trusted fellow named Mentor to be the guardian and teacher of his son, Telemachus, during his absence. While this provides a root metaphor to Mentoring, the book entitled Seasons of a Man’s Life by Levinson, et al aroused the interest in modern day study of Mentoring and Developmental Relationships. Kathy E Kram’s seminal Mentoring at Work: Developmental Relationships in Organizational Life has provided the core concepts of Mentoring.

Modern day employees need mentors as much as Telemachus, especially in these times of corporate upheaval.

Shared Journeys Are Vital For All

Sachin is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and is a Senior Vice President for Sales at a Leading Pharmaceuticals Company. He has more than 20 years of experience behind him. At work, he is mentoring two people who have around 8 years of experience. They are neither in the same department as Sachin nor are in the same function. They are in operations department of the organization. He meets them atleast once in a month and shares his insights into the pharmaceuticals industry, the company and its hierarchy, its values and norms, the people in the company they should know, etc. The sessions are either initiated by Sachin or by the other two people. Sachin believes that this is not a one way road and he has himself learnt a lot in this ‘give-and-take’ relationship with his mentees.

Sankalp is one of the members of the core team at a thriving Start-up in India. He often realizes that people in the organization, while talented and driven, needs skills to manage their ever increasing teams in a dynamically changing start-up environment. He is currently mentoring 3 people, who don’t report to him, on important leadership facets. Sankalp had to build his leadership competencies all by himself and often struggled with a lot of dilemmas with no one to reach out to when the startup was a fledgling one. Sankalp believes that people in his organization should not have the same situation and has taken to mentoring with all the sincerity and commitment to groom leadership talent in the organization. In the process, Sankalp gets important insights into what drives younger, junior people, what are their challenges and what are their aspirations.

This has helped shape Sankalp into a better leader and has also helped the organization hold on to talented yet restless younger people.

Organizations Need To Adopt Mentoring As “Team Science”

Mentoring has been often referred to as “team science” that delivers the goods to all the stakeholders – the mentors, the mentees and the organization.  By adopting Mentoring, organizations have been able to develop emerging leaders, engage them productively and retain them for a longer term. It’s time organizations take to creating meaningful shared journeys a mantra for success in the workplace.

Setting Goals is Not Enough for Success of Mentoring Program

Mentoring Coaching Onboarding Software

What are SMART Goals?

The concept of SMART Goal appeared first in 1981 in Management Review and is now widely used for setting career, business, financial and health goals. SMART Goal helps in setting goals that are relevant and realistic.

While SMART method is a great way of setting a Goal, it per se doesn’t guarantee achievement of the Goal. What is required is a Process to achieving that goal.

Process for achieving SMART Goals

Scott Adams, the famous creator of Dilbert, in his book ‘How to Almost Fail At Everything and Still Win Big’ describes that the Process is more important than the Goal when it comes to achieving success.

The Process has all the steps built in that ensure incremental progress towards the goal. When the process is followed, one can work towards the seemingly  far goal and achieve it ultimately. Without the Process, one may just lose track especially when encountered with obstacles or distractions.

While setting Career Goals, a similar scenario may crop up. With so many distractions at work and demands on one’s time, it is possible to lose sight of the goal one is working towards. The Process ensures one can pick up the chips and start from where one left.

Further, with disruption happening all the time and all around us, the Process helps in ensuring goal achievement through a step-by-step approach of revisiting some of the inbuilt steps and modify them if necessary.

Process of Breaking down SMART Goals

The Process breaks down Goals into two sub-levels – the first level is near term which could be achieved over 3-6 months e.g. a certification required for achieving the Goal – and the second level is what could be done on a daily or a regular basis at workplace to achieve the first level objectives.

This Process ensures visibility of progress and enabling one to do course correction or bringing one upto speed on Goal achievement.

NxtSpark’s online Mentoring software is based on the underlying Process of Goals and breaking them down to two sub-levels to ensure maximum Goal achievement by mentees, because the primary purpose of the Mentoring Program of an organization is to achieve Goal achievement as many mentees as possible. The Mentoring software also has a way to record and indicate progress at each of the three levels.

NxtSpark’s intuitive, online Mentoring software is a combined effort of understanding Mentoring as a science and using latest technology, to bring the benefits to organizations and its workforce when conducting Mentoring, Coaching and New-hire Onboarding Programs. NxtSpark’s Mentoring software has been appreciated by industry leaders at CXO level and Mentoring Experts like Prof. Kathy Kram of Boston University.

Battling The Talent Crisis

Mentoring Software

In the new organizational era, it appears we have a new buzz term: “talent crisis.” On September 19, 2008, BusinessWeek reported in an article called “The Global Talent Crisis” that, “Companies and countries will need more than 4 billion people by 2020 to fill knowledge worker positions. Projections indicate that there will be shortages between 32 million and 39 million people to fill these positions. The U.S. will have the biggest shortfall—needing as many as an additional 14 million people.”

To add to the bleak picture, consider this: A 2008 study by Deloitte Research found that one in three new hires leave a company within the first year of employment. The first-year turnover rate grew to 31.7 percent in 2007. In addition, according to Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum and Success Factors, which conducted a survey of over 700 human resource professionals (in cooperation with the Human Capital Institute), 98% of respondents said competition for talent is increasing in their industry, and 65% said it’s increasing to a “high” or “very high” degree.

As you can see, attracting, developing, and retaining top talent is likely to remain a challenge. What companies need is a proactive and viable solution to this challenge. Luckily, that solution exists: mentoring programs. Mentoring programs involve matching talented, experienced employees (mentors) with promising, less experienced employees (mentees). Over time, working one-on-one, the mentor and mentoree—and the organization—reap real rewards.

A successful mentoring program benefits your organization by:

  • Enhancing strategic business initiatives
  • Encouraging retention
  • Improving productivity
  • Engender collaboration across departments
  • Linking employees with valuable knowledge and information to other employees in need of such information
  • Using your own employees, instead of outside consultants, as internal experts for professional development

In this article, I would like to share how Mentoring can benefit your organization:

Attract the Best & Brightest

Your organization’s reputation is a huge incentive for eager and skilled prospects to join your organization. However, with ‘talent crisis’ this scenario changes. Think of it like this: if a prospective employee is deciding between a company with an outstanding reputation but a notoriously brutal work environment and an organization with an outstanding reputation and a proven mentoring program that grows and nurtures its top talent, which company will the person likely choose? A planned approach to a person’s career development, such as a mentoring program, has become a “must-have” for organizations that want to attract top talent. When marketing to prospective employees, advertising that your company has a professional and effective mentoring program can be a significant differentiator between you and your competitors.

Develop Your Employees into Tomorrow’s Leaders

Developing your company’s junior employees can be a daunting challenge. Where does a new employee go if he or she wishes to gain from the experience and wisdom of a more seasoned manager? Yes, new employees can always turn to their immediate supervisors and HR directors, but there is an inherent hesitation to do this because the new employee doesn’t want to appear “incompetent” or “weak.” Mentoring can provide not only the experiential wisdom, but also a supportive environment whereby the newer employee can share the real issues affecting success. During the mentoring relationship, mentees and mentors will discuss important issues, such as how to interact and work effectively with your top clients; how to get along and communicate with peers and upper management; how to understand and fit in better with your organization’s “corporate culture”; and how to deal with increased scrutiny; plus so much more. While baptism by fire often remains a popular strategy for getting new employees up to speed, it still makes sense to provide a safe haven—the mentoring relationship—where the associate can relax and let down his or her guard.

Retain Top Talent & See High ROI

According to the Deloitte Research study, “Research suggests that a company’s ‘HiPos’ are the first to be poached and are less likely to stay. Also, a study of investment banks found that when imported from elsewhere, stars rarely sustain their performance in the new organization.” The last thing you want to see is your HiPos walk across the street to one of your competitors. Talent retention affects the bottom line not only by reducing costs, but also by building an effective workforce. Companies often invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in recruiting talent but then stop there and miss the opportunity to get the best return on their hiring investment. Mentoring is a strategic tool that has multiple outcomes for your organization:

  • Demonstrate to new employees the company’s investment in their future with the organization
  • Create a more effective contributor to the company’s overall goals
  • Engender a sense of loyalty in employees

Succeed in Succession Planning

Mentoring is an ideal strategy for enriching your succession-planning program. In succession planning, you’re targeting individual talent to take on increasingly more responsible positions and eventually assume a major position within your organization. This requires solid experience and solid advice from seasoned employees. Adding mentoring as a method of pairing such individuals with your talent pool ensures that the right expertise will complement your succession-planning goals. Mentoring also ensures that your senior managers’ expertise will not be lost once they retire or leave the company. Rather, the expertise will be retained by having been shared with those who are poised to take their place.

It’s evident by now that mentoring programs can achieve many positive results when implemented in the most effective way. Also, read How DHL & Sun Nailed IT With Mentoring to know how you can implement a successful Mentoring Program.

Correct Mentor Mentee Matching Holds The Key

In order to make Mentoring Programs successful, an organization needs to make a significant investment of time and effort. However, investments made by the mentor and the mentee are even greater in terms of time and commitment.

It’s crucial then to make this investment worthwhile.  According to a research report by Catalyst, a leading nonprofit working for over 50 years towards building inclusive workplaces, Mentor-Mentee matching is the most important criteria for a Mentoring Program to be successful.

Successful Mentoring Software

How do you then do that? Here are three useful pointers for successful matching criteria:

Goals should be clear and objectively defined

Without having clarity around goals, it’s difficult to assess what kind of mentoring support is required. The mentee can approach this in multiple ways – self reflection, talk to peers and managers and take a self assessment for goal identification.

Clear Goals lead to Identifying support required

Once the goals are clear, the mentee would know what kind of skills are needed to reach the goals. The mentee can then reach out to the right mentors who have those skills or have overlapping interests and can help.

Matching Should Be Comprehensive

In order to ensure the match is compatible to the mentor mentee relationship, one needs to ensure that matching should be done not only at skills level but also at the interest level, personality type, etc. as they become crucial to the success of the relationship.

Matching with so many parameters can be complex and a manually daunting task. NxtSpark’s intuitive algorithm takes all the matching criteria into consideration and throws up the most optimal matches between a mentee and several mentors out of which either the Mentoring Program administrator or the Mentee can make a choice.