In our 10th episode of Guided, we’re joined by Matt Ash, who has spent the last decade working collaboratively with global businesses to deliver effective people, culture and change programmes.
As a Learning and Development Consultant, Matt has seen what works, and doesn’t work, when it comes to organisational L&D. We chatted to him about challenges to overcome, future focused models to look out for, and being more intentional with smaller budgets.
Community building in the workplace has many rewards. From fostering belonging to breaking down siloes, there are many benefits to workplace communities that have positive long-lasting impacts for your business.
Our resident community building expert, Danika Patel, knows this better than anyone. She’s seen first hand how our community, Guider People Network (GPN), brings people together to share experiences, learn from one another and grow.
Drawing on her experience starting the GPN from scratch and growing it into a thriving learning community, she shares her expert insights to help you foster communities in your organisation.
Whether you’re a community manager or a volunteer, there are many ways that you can build community at work. For both virtual community building and in-person, we have the tips you need to succeed!
With years of experience bringing together professionals across Learning and Development and Diversity and Inclusion with the GPN, Danika gives us her top tips.
What do you need for a strong community?
First up, it’s important to understand what makes a strong community. For Danika, there are three essentials that you need:
This is key. When you bring people together to share and learn together, you need to build trust. This is not just in you as the organiser but across the whole group. In the GPN, Danika is connecting professionals from across industries and organisations that need to know it’s a safe place to share openly and with honesty.
Another big factor, especially for growing a community, is identifying your champions. These are the people you can trust to give you feedback that will support your community as it grows. Identifying dedicated people that are bought in to what you’re doing is a great way to support your efforts.
This one might sound strange, you need to have community to build community, but it means that you need your community to be led by itself, for itself. From the start, you need to make decisions together and not dictate what people need. Ensuring your community is run by the people it’s for means that, from day 1, it’s a genuine community.
What are the top things you do to foster community?
In order to build trust, identify champions and create community, there are 3 key things that Danika’s learned to do. These are important in all different kinds of community, from Employee Resource Groups to group mentoring. These are:
Hold a pre-joining call
This is your opportunity to explain the purpose of your community, how it’s run and how to act when you’re together. This ensures trust and psychological safety are built from the start.
It’s also an opportunity to make sure everyone is aligned. As Danika explains: “I always tell people, it’s a community where you learn but where you want to give too. If that’s not what they want to do then it’s better to know that now.”
Send personalised messages ⚡️
If you’re building your community by personally inviting people to join, then remember to use personalised messages. To get people’s attention, try reading their LinkedIn posts and look at what they share. This way you can start conversations about what they’re interested in and talk to them about that instead of using a generic message.
Focus on quality over quantity
When building a community from scratch, remember that it’s all about quality over quantity. Having less, really engaged people that attend sessions regularly and actively contribute is much more important than having a lot of people in the group that don’t say anything.
What do you wish that you’d known before starting the Guider People Network?
The first thing Danika wishes she’d known is that it requires full time dedication. Building a community from scratch is harder than you think it’s going to be! But with practice, it gets easier and the rewards make the hard work all worthwhile.
She says: “You have to be able to eloquently explain why you’re doing this and be honest about the value that you’re getting from it too.” This will help you find new members that are genuine in their interest in what you’re doing.
She also reminds us that keeping relationships can be challenging too: “The key is to have different avenues to keep in touch with people and give the most value. We’ve tried Slack and LinkedIn, but the best way to engage people is always on a call.”
This means it can be hard to keep engagement going in between sessions. Which is another blocker, as you can only run so many sessions before needing more resources. Remember though, this is a challenge for most people. Focus on building quality when the community is together, when they find value in it then they’ll keep coming back.
What would you say is the biggest benefit of community at work?
The benefits of communities are vast. In the workplace, Danika says, “It’s the company’s job to make the work environment safe and make everyone feel like they have a nice place to come and work. That’s not on the individual. A community can make you feel safe to bring your whole self to work.”
If people feel more comfortable then that leads them to staying in the company and feeling more fulfilled, which is great for talent development and retention – key pain points for many organisations.
The biggest benefit of a community like the GPN is the number of different industries and job roles that are represented. In a lot of sectors people can become siloed. Communities break this down and widen perspectives.
As Danika says: “You find peace in knowing other people are having the same problems as you. Even big global companies will still have the same problems.”
Which brings us to our final point, feeling part of a community is an essential part of feeling connected and supported, through whatever challenges you face. There are many ways to build a community at work, whichever method you choose we hope this top tips will help you on your journey.
If you’re building communities, whether through Employee Resource Groups or mentoring programs, we’re here to help. Chat to our mentoring guides to find out more.
Tune in and listen to our latest guest, Charlotte Fuller, to talk about some of the challenges women face navigating male dominated workplaces. The Director of Digital Transformation Consulting & Women in STEM Training, she is on a mission to support female tech talent to build the confidence, skills and mindset to thrive in tech.
This fantastic episode includes actionable tips on setting boundaries at work, building self-confidence, and how businesses can better empower female employees.
In a job market where sales turnover is higher than ever, sales leaders are struggling to find and retain productive talent.
This issue is driven by a lack of ownership of the onboarding process and supporting new sellers, ultimately increasing the likelihood of employee churn. The process may be managed by a sales leader or an HR specialist who would take this on as an additional responsibility, instead of as an essential part of recruitment. This can leave new sellers feeling under-equipped and undervalued in their roles.
Michael Smith, a Managing Director from Blue Ridge Partners, puts this growing issue into numbers when he says; “We’ve seen companies lose 80% of their talent following an acquisition. Fast-growing businesses in attractive and growing markets are unable to keep pace with that growth almost entirely due to their inability to attract and retain sales talent. In Silicon Valley, it’s not unusual for firms to lose 25% or more of their sellers every quarter.”
When firms lose a large number of their sellers, there is a direct negative impact on their business activity – including revenue, costs, and margins.
Research by Blue Ridge Partners indicates that “A five percent increase in sales rep attrition across your sales team can increase selling costs 4-6% and reduce total revenue attainment by 2-3% overall”. Not to mention the difficulty of fostering long-term relationships between short-term sellers and customers and motivating your sales team throughout.
Therefore, it’s in your company’s best interest to develop its talent. If you can do so successfully, the results are two-fold. Not only will the seller be less likely to look for a new job, but the entire company will see a boost in production.
A recent study by McKinsey & Company, which included more than 600,000 researchers, entertainers, politicians, and athletes reveals that “High performers are 400 percent more productive than average ones”. So, the idea is simple: when you can recruit and develop sales members into high-performing employees, business performance increases.
This is a lot easier said than done – and something that many senior executives do not have time to take on. Mckinsey & Company found that, “a whopping 82 percent of companies don’t believe they recruit highly talented people. For companies that do, only 7 percent think they can keep it”. There’s clearly a problem.
The great news is that companies don’t have to tackle this challenge alone. Internal mentoring software, such as Guider exists for these reasons. Here at Guider, we understand the difficulties faced by sales leaders – a lack of resources, dealing with poor employee experiences, and fluent communication in an age of hybrid working. To assist sales leaders, Guider provides one centralised innovative mentoring platform with everything you need to launch or scale impactful mentoring programs and prove ROI.
Providing sales mentors to your team tackles employee churn and speeds up time to competency for new hires. It’s a win-win all round. Whether you’re building out a new outbound sales team or developing the performance of your sales leaders, mentoring and coaching are essential.
Our platform can transform mentoring and coaching in your organisation. With uses across the recruitment, onboarding and team development process, mentoring software is a solution that effectively reduces employee churn.
With Guider’s mentoring platform you can:
✅ Offer an attractive benefit to new candidates
✅ Improve the efficacy of your onboarding process
✅ Develop and up-skill your sales team
✅ Offer greater opportunities for learning and growth
✅ Develop your teams networks across the business
Our mentoring software can be implemented virtually too, making it a great solution for hybrid and remote first companies.
By working with us, your sales team will be set up for success. With out dedicated customer success and engagement teams on hand, we go the extra mile to get your people connected through sales mentoring. We take care of the groundwork by taking care of the following:
Build your mentoring program
Before going live, we build your mentoring platform with:
☑ Customised landing pages unique to your program
☑ Work with our expert team to create a recruitment and promotion plan
☑ Customise the Guider platform with your branding
Time and time again, mentoring has proven to boost retention rates for companies around the world. Frank Jules at AT&T understands the value of mentoring programs and describes its benefits when he says; “If you don’t invest in training and enabling your people, you wind up spending a significant chunk of resources dealing with rep churn, finding new reps, and ramping them. In the end, very few of them will develop into the top talent you need to outperform the competition.”
To avoid this common problem, give your team the edge by investing in mentoring for your sales team. By partnering with us, you can improve both business performance and retain long-term sales talent. The benefits of mentoring are remarkable why don’t you find out for yourself?
Want to find out more? Talk to us on the chat below about how we can transform your sales team through mentoring
The Guided podcast has another fantastic episode for you!
This week, we speak to Moses Williams, EMEA Regional DE&I Lead at ERM and ex-police officer. Moses’ journey from police force to corporate DE&I is a fascinating one that raises key challenges and learnings regardless of industry and sector.
Tune in to hear about changing the system from the inside and why all businesses should be celebrating the small wins when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Listen to the latest episode here or catch-up on the series so far
It’s natural that companies want their employees to feel nurtured, valued and supported. But it’s only a successful effort if everybody is feeling that way.
A diverse and inclusive organisation is therefore one that employs and equally supports people of all genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, abilities, ages, backgrounds, appearances, and languages.
In general, the benefits of mentoring are extensive. But utilising mentoring for diversity and inclusion, you can truly make an impact. In this guide, we’ll talk you through how mentoring can support diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and provide some tips from our learnings here at Guider.
Why is diversity and inclusion important?
Everybody navigates the world differently. Our characteristics – both physical and personal – affect the way we experience life, resulting in a vast range of perspectives.
In order to best understand anything (be it a problem, a method, or an experience) we need to have as many of these perspectives involved as possible.
Seems intuitive doesn’t it?
Unfortunately not. When managers were asked for factors stopping them implementing diversity, many quoted the worry that too many differing opinions would hamper productivity.
Naturally, this positively affects the bottom line. A study by BCG found that companies with diverse management teams make 19% more revenue, showing how D&I is not limited to an HR goal, but is ultimately good for the economy.
Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge that diversity and inclusion are different things:
️ Diversity is the goal for a workforce to be made up of a broad variety of people.
️ Inclusion is a method to ensure everybody is equally factored into that group.
So, despite diversity and inclusion being grouped together, the way to tackle these issues can actually be contradictory.
For example, if you’re looking to run a mentoring program to increase diversity, you may select a particular minority group and pair individuals in that group with mentors in order to achieve a goal. However, this will not be inclusive if you only make the program available to that one group.
This is something to be aware of before you group them together and set up a ‘Diversity and Inclusion Mentoring Program’.
11 Examples of inclusion
What does inclusion look like in real-life? Here are 11 examples of inclusive behaviours at work in action:
Make sure everyone is heard. Noticed someone was interrupted in a meeting? Actively direct the attention back to that person to give them the chance to finish speaking.
Create a collaborative environment in which everyone can contribute ideas.
Set-up pronoun options on your company communications tools.
Make sure everyone has the chance to speak in meetings by actively inviting them to talk.
Allow people to select their best ways of working for example 1:1 meetings or a quiet environment for working.
Openly give credit for ideas and success to the correct person.
Create channels for open feedback that go both ways.
Provide non-alcoholic drinks options at company socials as well as food options that take into account dietary needs..
Implement a bank holiday exchange scheme that means people can celebrate the religious holiday of their choice each year.
What is equity and equality in the workplace?
Another pair of key terms is equity and equality. With diversity, equity and inclusion or diversity, equality and inclusion often grouped together you may wonder what these words mean.
Equality means giving everyone the same opportunities and resources.
Equity means allocating opportunities and resources so that everyone can achieve the same outcome.
As you can see, these two terms are similar but not the same. Aiming for equity will mean paying greater attention to the way that you allocate your time and resources. This accounts for the systemic inequalities and barriers that exist that cannot be overcome with the same resources.
How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace through mentoring
Workplace mentoring programs are a great way to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. As we’ve outlined, there are differences between the key terms, so the way you approach setting up your programs will differ depending on who you are trying to support.
Let’s look at some examples:
Mentoring programs for diversity
The aim of mentoring programs for diversity is to support and empower minority employees in their career progression, developing their skills and network to increase leadership succession.
This typically involves pairing high potential employees from minority groups, with senior management level employees to diversify the talent pipeline within organisations. This is known as reverse mentoring for diversity and inclusion. The other types of mentoring an be used for diversity mentorship programs too, but reverse mentoring is often the most common.
As with starting any mentoring program, businesses looking to implement a diversity mentoring program must first outline the goals. Try and be more specific here than just ‘fostering a culture of diversity’ – perhaps you’re looking to increase employee retention within a minority group, or encourage more black women into leadership roles. Whatever the goal is, define it before starting and understand how you will measure success.
Depending on the goal, size of organisation, and current diversity status, the way the program is set up will differ. In order to avoid the contradiction of a highly-exclusive diversity program, you can make it open but prioritise the under-represented groups that it is aimed to support.
For a full step by step guide to setting up a mentoring program, check out our full guide:
Alongside a tailored diversity mentoring program, HR and L&D teams can also run mentoring programs supporting a culture of inclusion. You can utilise your employee resource groups (ERGs) to promote and recruit participants to your program.
A good example of where mentoring for inclusion can have a real impact is age discrimination within the tech industry. 41% of IT and tech workers have witnessed age discrimination in the workplace, and 32% fear losing their roles due to ageism.
In this case, a number of companies have seen great success from reverse mentoring. Younger employees mentoring older employees and supporting them in their learning of digital skills can be hugely beneficial to everyone involved.
In this kind of mentorship, the younger employee will naturally also learn a lot, creating an inclusive culture of learning and development.
By making mentoring an integral part of your company culture, you will naturally foster the sharing of knowledge, aspiration and development amongst all your employees, contributing to a diverse and thriving workplace.
While external training and courses may have a positive impact, particularly with leadership teams, the best way to enact change is through the people already within the business. This is where diversity and inclusion mentoring can really make an impact.
Mentoring harnesses the people in an organisation to learn and grow together, to share experiences and knowledge, and level up inclusivity in the workplace across the board. That’s why mentoring is such an effective method to support diversity, equity and inclusion in your organisation.
Want to find out how Guider can help? Book a demo now to speak with our team.
With National Mentoring Day 2022 on the horizon, we want to celebrate mentoring and all the people that make it such an effective tool for learning and personal development.
But how do mentors and mentees ensure that they get the most out of mentoring and make sure they hit their goals?
Let’s explore the ways in which you can create a good mentoring relationship…
The desire to grow
Mentoring is a powerful part of personal development. You might find yourself stuck in a rut, not sure where you want to take your career, or maybe you have a clear goal but you don’t know how to get there.
Mentoring is the opportunity to learn from a more experienced individual and gives you new insights into personal development. It’s not just about wanting to grow, it’s about taking action.
By actively seeking information about mentoring you’ve already taken the first step in taking personal responsibility in your personal development! It’s also a fantastic way to foster continuous learning, a lifelong habit that’s essential to build.
Before your first mentoring session, think about your goals and previous experiences. What do you want to achieve from your mentoring relationship? What are your goals for the future? Show that you’re curious and willing to learn.
And if you’re a mentor, science shows that we feel better about ourselves and more energetic when we help people, and when we feel good, good feelings spread.
A mentor is a trusted individual who through years of experience has gained access to knowledge and experiences that the mentee doesn’t. And with that, a unique point of view. Whether its confidence in meetings, organisation skills, or growth within a company, you’ve reached a goal the mentee wants to achieve.
One great way to do this is to learn about the mentee and see if you can relate to their experiences, through this connection you can inspire. Evidence shows that those who are inspired are more receptive to new experiences and become more motivated.
Through mentoring you’ll teach by example and develop empathy and understanding for different points of view. Help the mentee craft a clearer path towards personal development.
You might feel that you have a limited amount of time and will want to get straight to business, but learning about each other is an important part of developing a strong mentoring relationship.
While it’s important to have an effective matching system, mentoring is about the people involved, so will still require active relationship nurturing. A great way to do this is through finding common experiences, aspirations and interests. This makes it easier to understand the other person and where the mentees issues lie, but also how to best help the mentee from your own experience. It also creates moments for the mentee and mentor to joke and bond.
Some people have found mentoring as a great way to connect with other employees, especially due to remote work, so be open to being honest and sharing opinions. It’s through these open discussions that you best learn about another person. Through constant communication, mentoring acts as a way to improve your communication skills.
Active listening is an important part of mentoring and communication in general.
Active listening is when you listen to understand before responding, as opposed to listening just to respond. If you have something that you really, really want to say feel free to jot it down and bring up the point a little after.
Verbally reflect on what the other person has said not only to show that you’re listening, but as a way to reinforce what you’ve picked up from the conversation. And if you need clarification, don’t be afraid to ask. It’s important you both understand each other especially when it comes to goal setting to ensure that the target and path is clear.
Note for mentees: Don’t be afraid to ask questions and contribute your own thoughts. Everyone has their own experiences and holds unique points of view. Your mentor can’t cover everything so questions are the best way to get an answer. Having a back and forth feeds into creativity and inspires new ways of thinking and reflection.
Time investment and commitment
An important aspect of developing a strong mentoring relationship is by understanding that you’re both busy people, so try to schedule ahead. Iron out which times work for you and be honest. Maybe you’re not a morning person, or maybe you get tired late into the afternoon. Consider how often you’ll meet and what you’ll discuss during the next session.
Some people want more contact than others, but it’s important that both the mentor and mentee put time aside to ensure regular meetings, and try to give as much notice as possible for cancelations.
Finally, don’t forget to celebrate success. Positive feedback is useful for both the mentor and mentee and reinforces what was learnt.
Through celebrating success, the mentee becomes more engaged and finds their self esteem boosted. In turn, they find more meaning in their job and become more motivated to continue on the path of self improvement.
Mentoring is about learning, development and future growth so make sure to celebrate the small and big milestones.
Effective communication is a key aspect of developing a successful mentoring relationship. Some things might be obvious, but when you’re worried about career goals or current deadlines, it’s easy to forget.
It’s good to be able to discuss this with someone you relate to and someone who understands you. By putting in the time and effort to learn about the other person and by going into mentoring with goals and drive, you’ll create a strong mentoring relationship.