Posts Tagged ‘management’

Mentoring for New Hires (On-Boarding): Part 1

January 10, 2011

There are seven types of formal mentoring programs. 

Mentor Resources is one of the leading providers of software for managing mentoring programs with a few dozen pairs to thousands of particpants.  Our software can be tailored to nearly all of these.  Most of our customers run several mentoring programs with different objectives and participants, and our software has considerable flexibility to help you reach your mentoring goals.

By way of review, the seven types of mentoring programs we see with our clients are:

  • Mentoring for Succession Planning
  • Mentoring for Communities of Practice  
  • Reverse Mentoring
  • Mentoring for Career Development
  • Mentoring within Employee Resource Groups
  • Mentoring for Skills Transfer
  • Mentoring for On-boarding

On-boarding or Mentoring for New Hires may be the single most effective way to integrate new employees into an existing corporate culture.  A new employee is assigned a Mentor who is a peer.  The Mentor is there to explain the unwritten rules of the workplace and to shorten the learning curve of the new employee.

Every article and book about Millennials, the demographic group now in their 20’s, points out that these employees expect and seek a significant amount of feedback about their performance. Many managers (read this as “most Baby Boomers”) find this expectation draining.  This results in both the supervisor and the new employee frustrated and dissatisfied with the work environment. 

One effective solution is to pair the new employee with another, more experienced, Millennial as a Mentor.  Note, this experienced colleague is not the supervisor of the new employee, but someone who can give realistic feedback and temper the Millennial’s expectations to the organization’s norms. 

As a broad generality, Millennials view work as a central part of their life, not a separate activity that needs to be “balanced” against.   Therefore, finding work that’s personally fulfilling and socially connected is of paramount importance.

For these employees, mentoring can be a meaningful recruiting tool. Millennials assume work is a place to make new friends, learn new skills and connect to a larger purpose.  If an employer can offer the Millennial a clear path towards this, through a peer-mentor, the employer will be offering a compelling Employee Value Proposition. 

In plain English, your firm can get a better pool of candidates with peer-mentoring as part of the employment package and simulaniously take some of the burden off the line managers at the same time. Mentoring is one of the high priority factors Millennial strivers seek in an employer. 

Click here for a recent article from the Harvard Business Review on Millennials and mentoring.  Contact us directly for more information.

 

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Good Boss: How to Be the Best

October 2, 2010

At Mentor Resources we believe in Strength-Based Learning.  We have built an entire company around the idea that a Great Match creates better results from a Mentoring Program.

But we recognize that most mentoring programs are part of a company’s leadership development or talent management program. So we read many of the newly published books on leadership and management development.

One that is worthy of you time is: Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best … and Learn from the Worst.

Written by Robert Sutton, Professor of Management and Engineering at Stanford University, the book blends the latest management and psychological research with stories derived from reaction to his prior book, The No Asshole Rule (a NY Times bestseller).

By contrasting examples of the best and worst bosses, Sutton builds a case for staying in attuned to how the people who work directly for you react to what you say and do.  The best bosses are self-aware and know that their success depends on accurately interpreting their impact on others, and having the self-control to make adjustments that spark effort, dignity, and drive among their people.

Most supervisors suffer from overestimating their intellectual and social skills, but the best bosses are keenly aware of their flaws and work to overcome them.  They constantly seek to change and improve the situation, sometimes calling in others to help. The best bosses devote significant effort to understanding how their moods and actions impact their followers’ performance.

A Summary of Useful Tricks for Taking Charge

Since the single most important thing bosses to is convince others that they are in charge, we will share with you Sutton’s seven steps for enhancing the perception of leadership:

1. Talk more than others, but not the whole time.

2. Interrupt occasionally—and don’t let others interrupt you too much.

3. Cross your arms when you talk.

4. Use positive self-talk

5. Try a flash of anger occasionally.

6. If you aren’t sure whether to sit or to stand, stand. Place yourself at the head of the table.

7. Surrender some power or status, but make sure everyone knows that you did so freely.

We are very interested in talking to organizations about their leadership development programs and the role of a formal mentoring program.

Mentorship vs. Sponsorship

September 22, 2010

This month’s Harvard Business Review has an article Why Men Still Get More Promotions Than Women which prompted us to reflect on the pyramid of women in American business. Women represent over half of all managers at fifty-one percent, yet less than fourteen percent of executive officers in Fortune 500 companies are women.

Herminia Ibarra (from INSEAD) and Nancy Carter and Christine Silva (both of Catalyst) believe there is a difference between Mentors and Sponsors.

Mentors were expected to provide psychosocial and career support. Most mentors focus on personal and professional development.

Sponsorship, by contrast, involves advocating for advancement. Without sponsorship, a person is less likely to be promoted, even if they are high-potential. Research by Kathy Kram suggests that someone is likely to be overlooked for promotion regardless of his or her competence and performance. This is especially true for managers at mid-career and beyond.

Mentors and Sponsors: How They Differ

Mentors

  • Can sit at any level in the hierarchy
  • Provide emotional support, feedback on how to improve and other advice
  • Focus on mentee’s personal and professional development
  • Help mentees learn to navigate corporate politics
  • Serve as role models

Sponsors

  • Must be senior managers with influence
  • Give proteges exposure to other executives who may help their careers
  • Make sure their people are considered for promising opportunities and challenging assignments
  • Protect their sponsorees from negative publicity or damaging contact with senior executives
  • Fight to get their people promoted

The article ended on a positive note: Women in formal mentoring programs were more likely to win promotions than those who had found their own mentors.

So, while firms are only beginning to have clear sponsorship expectations from mentors in their high-potential programs, some sponsorship was occurring. In one example cited, IBM Europe has a clearly defined sponsorship program for senior women below the executive level. Sponsors are expected to get their candidates ready to for the next level within a year. Failure to obtain a promotion is viewed as a failure of the sponsor, not of the candidate.

We would like to talk to you about how WisdomShare™ can help you achieve your firm’s mentoring or sponsorship goals.

Kim Wise  &  Elizabeth Pearce