Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Nicola Cronin, Author at Guider
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Benefits of Mentoring 

National Mentoring Month 2023: 6 Ways You Can Get Involved This January

Are you ready to celebrate mentoring this National Mentoring Month 2023?

Whether you’re new to mentoring or a seasoned mentor program leader, now’s the perfect time to put mentoring front and centre in your organisation. National Mentoring Month is a dedicated month that’s all about the different types of mentoring – so let’s get planning!

As program leaders, managers and team members, you can raise awareness of the power of mentoring to achieve goals by getting involved in National Mentoring Month celebrations. This includes events, comms campaigns and taking the time to reflect on your own mentoring journey.

What is National Mentoring Month?

National Mentoring Month is a widespread campaign to spread awareness around the importance of mentoring in society, as well as celebrate its positive impact. It runs every January and includes Thank Your Mentor day on the 26th.

This can be a great way to launch both your team and company towards a successful year through mentorship. By focusing on key areas of internal improvement facilitated by individual self-development, effective goal setting & identifying areas for growth. You can scale and monitor this more efficiently throughout the year.

National Mentoring Month’s 3 key goals are:

  1. To raise awareness of all the different types of mentoring
  2. To inspire more people to become mentors, particularly younger people
  3. To advance the growth of mentoring by encouraging organisations to run mentoring programs for their people

Why celebrate National Mentoring Month 2023 with your business?

Yearly, more organisations are becoming aware of National Mentoring Month celebrations and how it can benefit not only the development of their business but the lives of their employees.

What started as a US youth mentoring movement, has snowballed into a global celebration of the benefits of mentoring in all areas of society, with many organisations, universities, and charities getting involved.

Returning to work this January, many employees will struggle with motivation and getting back into the work routine.

However, National Mentoring Month is an opportunity for organisations to unite their teams and kickstart the year – not just through goal setting, but also by addressing obstacles or key areas of concern hindering both employee and company development. Working collaboratively on setting a foundation for a prosperous year ahead.

Mentoring has benefits across the board: from building trust and psychological safety, to helping to onboard, retain and develop your people. There are so many reasons to get involved in mentoring, this January really is the perfect time!

How can you get involved with National Mentoring Month?

Whether you are a mentor, mentee, program leader or advocate it’s the perfect time to join the conversation. If you don’t yet have a mentorship program in your business then this is the perfect time to introduce it! Schedule a call with our team, to discuss how to set up the right mentoring program for your people.

If you already have an active mentoring program in your organisation, there are many ways to celebrate your fantastic mentors and mentees, as well as reinvigorate your program. This includes running a mentoring event to celebrate and promote your program.

Here are a few of our suggestions on what you can do this January:

  1. Start a mentoring program at work
  2. Find yourself a mentor
  3. Become a mentor
  4. Share your mentoring story
  5. Participate in Thank Your Mentor Day
  6. Keep up the momentum

Continue reading below to learn more…

1. Start a mentoring program at work

No matter what kind of organisation you work in, mentoring can be used for a wide range of purposes.

So if you want to make a real impact, you need to establish a mentoring program within your company. Mentoring has so many positive uses in the workplace, including leadership training, diversity and inclusion, onboarding, graduate retention, and more.

On a more general note – everybody wants to learn, develop and grow in their careers. By formalising and promoting that in a mentoring program, you will end up helping a lot of people and creating a better company culture.

The great thing is 89% of mentees go on to become mentors in the future, meaning any mentoring efforts you implement now will have a long-lasting impact.

Read our stats on mentoring in the workplace so you can approach senior leaders in your business and pitch your mentoring program with some killer numbers to back it up!

Ready to start a mentoring program? Download our detailed guide to help you get started:

2. Find yourself a mentor

The start of a new year is all about setting goals and thinking about what you want to achieve. With January fittingly being National Mentoring Month, it’s a great opportunity to decide to get a mentor for the year ahead.

Mentoring is an incredible way of increasing your self-awareness, career opportunities and confidence. Finding yourself a mentor is therefore one of the most effective ways to take responsibility for your personal development.

How to get a mentor:

  1. Determine why you want a mentor: what are your goals?
  2. Identify potential mentors in your network: who do you admire? Who could help you?
  3. Put in the groundwork – do your research, reach out, and be proactive
  4. Ask to meet to get their advice about a specific topic
  5. When you meet, assess their experience, characteristics and the chemistry between you to see if they could be a good fit
  6. Ask them to be your mentor!

For more detail, check out our full guide: How To Find A Great Mentor

Remember, mentoring is not a one-way relationship, but a partnership. The more effort you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.

And you never know, there’s a lot your mentor could learn from you too!

3. Become a mentor

Being a mentor is a highly rewarding privilege. You have the ability to help somebody else realise their potential, achieve their goals and become the person they want to be.

As much as the reward of being a mentor is a feeling of ‘giving back’, it also has many additional benefits. Mentors experience higher levels of job satisfaction and fulfilment, as well as the opportunity to develop their leadership and management skills.

Harvard Business Review found mentoring to be good for mental health, with mentors experiencing less stress and anxiety at work, and describing their job as more meaningful than those who did not mentor.

A great way to get involved with National Mentoring Month is by becoming a mentor. The easiest way to do this is by speaking to your company and finding out if they have any mentoring schemes you can sign up to.

Using mentoring software such as Guider allows new mentors to sign up to their organisation’s mentoring program in a matter of minutes and input the skills and knowledge they feel they can share.

Think you’re not ready? Check out our top characteristics of a mentor, maybe we can change your mind!

4. Share a mentoring story

Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. If you’d like to get involved with National Mentoring Month, but perhaps aren’t in a position to get into a mentoring relationship, why not spread awareness of the good mentoring can do from personal experience?

We’ve all been exposed to mentoring in some shape or form in our lives, even if we’ve never had an official or formal ‘mentor’. Maybe a teacher at school, a colleague or a relative took particular care to teach or support you in some way?

These experiences of mentorship at a young age can be extremely formative, helping shape our lives and mindsets. By sharing these stories with others, you may be the person that inspires somebody else to become a mentor or seek out a mentor – it’s extremely valuable!

We would also love to hear how mentoring has impacted your life or career! Tweet us or drop us a message

5. Thank Your Mentor Day

National Mentoring Month concludes with an official #ThankYourMentor Day on January 26th 2023!

The whole month is an opportunity to reflect on mentoring and what it means for you, so it’s only right that the last day is an opportunity to thank those who have mentored you or the fantastic mentors in your organisation’s program.

On January 26th, remember to convey your thanks to the mentors in your life and encourage those around you to do the same!

One way to do this is to give your mentor a shout-out on LinkedIn or Twitter using the hashtag #ThankYourMentor or even post a more detailed story of the impact they’ve had on your life on LinkedIn. This hashtag will receive a lot of traction on social media channels on the day, so make sure you don’t miss out.

Equally, if you and/or your mentor are not social media people, send them a card or a gift to show your appreciation for their support. This will only strengthen your relationship, and serve as a reminder to them why being a mentor is a great thing to do!

IDEA: if you’re responsible for running mentoring programs or initiatives within your organisation, why not host a Thank Your Mentor Day event to get everyone in the mentoring community together to celebrate the relationships that have formed? It’s a great way to keep people engaged, and hopefully inspire a new generation of mentees to become mentors!

6. Keeping Up the Momentum

At the start of a new year, typically the habit is to create a list of goals & bucket lists or even form some S.M.A.R.T. goals. But admittedly, it is quite easy to lose commitment to your goals.

However, mentorship can provide added guidance that can nurture and direct organisations more clearly towards achieving goals.

Mentoring is not a one-time activity, but rather a long-lasting investment. It can be something you revisit moving forward as new goals & challenges enter your path. It is something innate in the knowledge-seeking part of us, as we pursue the act of exchange with the people that surround us, becoming mentors and mentees, to develop smarter ways to grow as an individual, organisation and society.

The biggest reason mentoring schemes fail is that they lose momentum – remember to use National Mentoring Month to spread awareness or launch a program, but then keep promoting the value throughout the year.

‍If you are a champion, leader or expert looking to develop your team through mentorship, Guider can efficiently scale this for you by making the experience as seamless and organised as possible to help you achieve your goals sooner rather than later.

Get in touch with the team to see how you can keep the new year momentum going for the rest of the year!

Categories
Benefits of Mentoring 

Why Every Organisation Needs a ‘Head of Mentoring’

You’d be stretched to find somebody who doesn’t recognise that mentoring is valuable.

The importance of mentoring has been widely documented; from celebrity autobiographies to business books, we’re reminded of the benefits mentoring can have for personal and career development.

These benefits don’t only apply to the individuals involved, but to the businesses they work in too. Positively impacting employee engagement, retention, diverse representation in leadership, company culture and more, mentoring is a powerful practice for organisations.

Yet time and time again we see mentoring not being given the dedicated time, resources, and ownership it needs to provide this impact at scale within businesses.

This article will outline the business need for a Head of Mentoring role, and demonstrate the immediate value this person could deliver within their organisation.

Find out more about embedding mentoring in your HR initiatives with Guider

But first to expand on the 3 observations that inspired this idea:

1. There’s no obvious home for mentoring in an organisation

Nobody is quite sure where mentoring sits within a business.

For something so people-centric, with the potential to impact every team and department, it surprisingly lacks clear ownership. In many organisations, mentoring is recognised as a part of their Learning & Development strategy. For others, mentoring sits within their HR functions. More commonly, mentoring is playing a key role in Diversity and Inclusion.

While these are the departments most often managing mentoring, it typically forms an additional part of a role – something someone takes up alongside their day job.

2. Mentoring rarely has a dedicated budget

Due to this lack of clear ownership, an issue that the program managers face, is their lack of budget. We’ve found in 80-90% of cases, L&D teams won’t have a budget specifically for mentoring.

If for example, a Learning & Development professional is managing their organisation’s mentoring program, they will likely have a L&D budget for schemes covering a wide scope. Mentoring can naturally fit into this scope, but rarely has its own dedicated budget. Depending on other objectives and goals, it can get de-prioritised, or runs on such a low budget that it’s near impossible to scale.

This issue of budget also varies across departments. If Finance decides to run their own internal mentoring initiative to share knowledge between generations, they might have a different budget allocation to a different department, leading mentoring to become even more siloed and inconsistent across a business.

3. It is happening, but it can’t scale (because of 1 and 2)

It’s important to acknowledge that mentoring is not new for the majority of businesses, and is often already taking place in some form. So it’s not that mentoring can’t happen without this Head of Mentoring role we’re suggesting, but it is that it can’t scale.

Without dedicated ownership, resources or budget, program managers will struggle to roll mentoring out as a widespread initiative across the organisation. This results in small, tailored programs which only run for a short period of time, and only benefit an exclusive group. For the same reasons, these programs struggle to deliver impactful results and metrics, which prevent wider roll-out. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.

If organisations want to feel the true value and ROI of mentoring across the entire business, they need to stop expecting someone in the HR team to manage it on the side. They need to create a role for a Head of Mentoring.

From working with many organisations at Guider, we’ve spoken to a number of people currently managing mentoring within their business, frustrated with not being able to do as much as they’d like to. This is a common theme:

“I’m the only person responsible for a 200 person mentoring scheme, which I run manually alongside the rest of my job. We have hundreds more employees who would benefit from mentoring, but there’s only one of me and I’m at full capacity”.

If that resonates with you, I hope this piece inspires some thoughtful conversations in your organisation…

a woman stands before a group leading a meeting.

The Head of Mentoring Role

The Head of Mentoring owns mentoring across an entire organisation, including:

  • Developing, delivering and scaling specific program
  • Managing mentoring budget
  • Creating a good mentor and mentee experience
  • Developing innovative mentoring strategies to drive growth
  • Forming mentoring partnerships
  • Driving a culture of mentoring at an organisational level

Of course, other people are still involved with mentoring and the running of specific programs, but the Head of Mentoring facilitates and unites these across the organisation.

This role goes beyond simply the running of programs (although that’s a huge job in itself), and looks at mentoring as an innovative business growth strategy.

Here’s how:

1. Driving innovation

A crucial part of the Head of Mentoring’s role is aligning with the wider business objectives and vision, and harnessing mentoring as an innovative tool to drive growth and success.

So often mentoring is reduced to an HR function because it’s all about people, yet a mentoring culture has the power to affect productivity, retention, loyalty – even revenue. The Head of Mentoring can develop external partnerships with networks, or cross-company programs with other organisations – facilitating strategic relationships which benefit not only employees, but the business as a whole.

Across most organisations, mentoring program managers are responsible for:

  • Program development
  • Program promotion
  • Participant recruitment and training
  • Metric tracking
  • Proving impact / ROI

This alone is a huge amount of work, but it’s predominantly operational work: planning, logistics, ensuring the mentoring relationships are happening etc. What the Head of Mentoring does, is take this role beyond logistics. Elevating the need for mentoring at a senior level, understanding what the business needs, and coming up with innovative ways of using mentoring to get there.

2. Dedicated Ownership

The Head of Mentoring solves the lack of ownership issues.

Mentoring should not be seen as merely a function of Learning and Development, but as a cultural staple of a business. The effects of mentoring are felt far beyond a set team or department, and the way it operates in a company should reflect that.

We have spoken with current program managers about the desire to “do more” with mentoring in their organisation, yet they lack the capacity, authority, or budget. Paired with the fact this is typically being done alongside their day to day role, it’s no surprise they can’t take mentoring to the next level. Having a full-time Head of Mentoring removes the ambiguity from where mentoring ‘sits’, and provides the individual with the power to scale mentoring more widely.

For current Program Managers who can relate to these challenges, make a note of the mentoring growth opportunities you’ve identified but weren’t able to act on, or the business areas mentoring could add more value if you only had more capacity. When put together, this will showcase an abundance of missed opportunity and highlight the need for this role.

Another common reason mentoring fails to scale is not having leadership buy in. The Head of Mentoring, particularly being a senior role, addresses this issue. As with many things in business, behaviour filters down from the top. Mentoring programs are successful when senior leaders are advocating for and involved in them. Part of the necessity for a Head of Mentoring is to ensure this advocacy exists across the highest levels of the business. Where a HR Manager responsible for a graduate program might not be able to approach C-Suite, the Head of Mentoring can.

3. Breaking down silos

Typically, mentoring is very siloed, with multiple departments running their own programs with no clear way to share the learnings or impact across the wider business.

Suzie King, the mentoring program manager at M&S, said: “before using Guider, we used to have a very ad-hoc mentoring system – somebody would ask their line manager for a mentor, and a mentor would be found, but you were still in your siloed area”.

The Head of Mentoring exists to ensure the benefits of mentoring are being felt throughout the business across all groups, and therefore works to unite the organisation’s mentoring efforts.

This works on two levels:

  • Employees equally benefit from mentoring, creating a more inclusive work environment
  • There’s a consistent structure in place to run a program, meaning more mentoring can happen more easily

For any department, team, network, or group wanting a mentoring program – they now have a dedicated person to go to. This not only prevents silos forming, but also means there are set processes and strategies in place for how mentoring is done across the organisation. Rather than it taking a department 6 weeks of work from scratch, a program could be launched in a matter of days.

The Head of Mentoring creates this process for running a program to be scalable and repeatable, meaning that mentoring can impact more areas across the business.

The Missing Piece

If businesses want to scale mentoring successfully, and make it an integral part of their company – it cannot be done on the side of a full time role. Organisations are actually losing out on the full possibilities of mentoring by not creating a dedicated role for it.

A Head of Mentoring is therefore essential for any business who wants to truly see the value of mentoring across the whole organisation, not just among small groups. It solves the issues of lack of ownership, lack of budget, and siloed workforces, while creating innovative growth opportunities beyond an HR function.

At Guider we always want to talk mentoring. Hear from some of the businesses we currently support here, or book a chat with us.

Categories
Benefits of Mentoring 

What is a Mentor? Definition, Purpose and More

The figure of a mentor has been around since the days of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Nowadays, people often talk about the importance of mentoring in personal development and career contexts, with ‘get a mentor’ being a key piece of advice from successful business people the world over.

In the search to find a mentor, you may find yourself asking what is a mentor, really?

What is a mentor?

A mentor is a person who can support, advise and guide you. They typically take the time to get to know you and the challenges you’re facing and then use their understanding and personal experience to help you improve.

This relationship is additional to a manager or boss and benefits from a more personal and confidential structure. Mentors have the potential to become lifelong friends, or the relationship might only last until you’ve achieved a goal, there’s no one size fits all.

Many celebrities have publicly discussed the impact their mentors had on their success, including Christian Dior, Richard Branson, and Oprah Winfrey.

 

What a mentor isn’t:

❌ While a mentor can provide invaluable support and guidance across a range of topics including mental health, they are not a therapist. It is important to establish this to all parties participating in mentoring.

A mentor is not the same as a coach. Coaches are paid for and provide time-bound teaching on specific topics. You can find out more about the difference between mentoring and coaching here.

Mentoring is not a magic cure. While mentoring can support a range of development goals and has many benefits for both parties and organisations, it isn’t going to fix everything. There are many complementary ways to develop your people alongside mentoring.

 

Mentoring definition

Definition: The act or process of helping and guiding another person to support their personal development.

Note that we’ve said ‘personal’ development here rather than ‘career’ development – and that’s because ultimately, mentoring is about people. If someone helps you improve your confidence or self-awareness, that’s going to translate beyond your day job.

 

What is the difference between mentoring and mentorship?

You may have heard the term mentorship used in various contexts and be unclear about what it means. Mentorship is simply the word for a mentoring relationship (mentor + relationship = mentorship). It can be used to reference both the act of mentoring and the relationship you have with your mentor or mentee.

 

What is the role of a mentor?

The purpose of a mentor is to help you grow as a person and become the best version of yourself.

This may involve helping you achieve your personal or career goals, introducing you to new ways of thinking, challenging your limiting assumptions, sharing valuable life lessons, and much more.

A mentor is someone that guides you and you may have several throughout your life and career. In fact, there are many different types of mentoring, from peer to peer, to group. You can find a mentor in many different ways.

 

Why do people become mentors?

People choose to mentor others because it’s an incredibly valuable experience; seeing somebody grow and succeed as a result of your advice is highly rewarding. There are many benefits of mentoring for the mentor as well as the mentee, such as improving communication and developing leadership skills.

Harvard Business Review conducted a study researching the positive effects of mentoring, and found that people who served as mentors also experienced lower levels of anxiety, and described their job as more meaningful, than those who did not mentor.

 

What makes a good mentor?

“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.” — Bob Proctor

When asking, what is a mentor, it’s important to understand the difference between good mentors and… not so good ones. This quote highlights the essence of a good mentor: somebody that does not tell you what to do, but guides you to figuring it out for yourself.

When looking for a mentor there are certain characteristics to keep in mind. The traits of a good mentor include:

  • Being a good listener
  • Asking good questions
  • Showing empathy
  • Being encouraging and supportive
  • Self-awareness
  • A personable demeanour
  • Giving constructive and honest feedback

Read our guide on How To Be A Good Mentor

 

Misconceptions about mentoring

There are a few common misconceptions about mentoring that affect the way people think about what a mentor is.

We want to set the record straight in this mentoring myth-busting:

  • “Mentors have to be old” – Mentoring has no age requirements, and older people can benefit from being mentored by younger people, such as in reverse mentoring. What’s important is relevant experience and chemistry.
  • “Mentoring only benefits mentees” – Mentoring has heaps of benefits for the mentor as well as the mentee, including; improving communication and leadership skills, increased fulfilment, likelihood of promotion and more. Read all the benefits here.
  • “Mentoring is elitist” – It’s not about senior managers taking prodigies ‘under their wing’. Modern mentoring is fair and inclusive (when established right) and can break down unfair hierarchies.
  • “You’re either a mentor or a mentee” – In fact, 89% of people with a mentor go on to be a mentor themselves. You can be both a mentor and mentee, and even switch between the two in a peer mentoring relationship.
  • “My mentor has to be similar to me” – Familiarity is nice, but the best learning happens when you’re exposed to different ways of thinking. It can be better for your development to seek out opinions from outside of your usual spheres of influence.

How do you find a mentor?

If you have somebody that you admire in mind to be your mentor, we recommend you reach out to them for a coffee or a video call. Say you’d love to pick their brains about a certain topic and have some questions ready – don’t ask them to be your mentor straight away!

It’s important to build a relationship with them before making the ask. If you have good chemistry and you can see their experience being valuable to you in your career journey, then ask them if they’d be happy to meet more often and mentor you.

Read our full guide here: How To Find A Great Mentor

Sometimes it’s hard to find mentorship on your own. You might not know the right people, or feel intimidated to reach out to someone. In that case, speak to your organisation. More and more companies are running formal mentoring programs than ever, so there’s a good chance your company can support you.

So, there we have it! Everything you need to know about what a mentor is, and isn’t. If you want to learn more about mentorship download our e-book ‘Introduction to Mentoring’ to find out more!

If you’re an employer looking to establish or scale mentoring, get in touch with us by booking a demo.

Banner advert for Guider mentoring software with a woman smiling and speaking on a video call
Categories
Benefits of Mentoring 

The Importance of Mentoring in the Workplace

Organisations are always looking for ways to nurture and retain their best people. Fortunately for them, most employees are similarly looking for ways to get fulfilment and satisfaction out of their work, making this a key area for businesses to cultivate.

This is where workplace mentoring, sometimes known as business mentoring, comes in. In this article, we run through how business mentoring can help you to retain and develop your people by creating a better working culture in which employees can learn and grow.

Jump to section

What is mentoring in the workplace?

Mentoring in the workplace is an established partnership between colleagues for the purposes of learning and growth. There are several different types of mentoring, the most common is 1:1 or traditional mentorship.

Having a mentor at work can traditionally be seen as senior and more experienced employees giving advice and support to younger employees earlier on in their careers.

This dynamic is known as ‘informal mentoring’, as it often comes about from the mentor taking a liking to the mentee and taking them ‘under their wing’, rather than a formalised mentorship.

There is a lot to be said for informal mentoring, and many successful people refer to these kinds of relationships as helping them get to where they are today, such as Yves Saint Laurent and his formative mentoring from Christian Dior.

However, the issue with informal mentoring is that it’s often exclusive and elitist, with people choosing to mentor individuals they see themselves in (not doing anything for diversity in the process).

These kinds of relationships also rely on sheer luck a lot of the time. How many successful entrepreneurs have you heard say they were “in the right place at the right time” when they met a crucial person that took a chance on them?

As a result of these biases, mentoring in the workplace needs to be established as ‘formal mentoring’ in order to give employees equal opportunities to develop.

When should I establish a formal mentoring program?  

There will likely be informal mentoring happening in your organisation already. The key question is, when do you formalise your program?

A formal program is when an organisation intentionally sets up a mentoring program in which they actively match mentors and mentees and support the relationships to develop long-term.

Mentoring programs can be run using spreadsheets and manual matching or through mentoring software, such as Guider. Mentoring software removes the headache, using AI to make mentor matches and providing integrated tools to manage the relationship effectively.

It’s helpful to consider the following questions when deciding when to set up a formal mentoring program:

  • How many people are currently accessing some type of mentoring in your organisation?
  • What is the potential reach of a formal mentoring program?
  • How does mentoring align with your learning and development goals?

By establishing a formal mentoring program you are opening up mentoring across your organisation and removing bias from the process. You are also actively encouraging the growth and development of all of your employees.

 

Benefits of business mentoring

The benefits of mentoring in your business are wide-ranging. From leadership mentoring to supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives, there are many ways that mentoring can support your business.

Mentoring in the workplace will also impact your people’s personal development, can positively support mental health and improve employee retention.

Here are the key points to get started:

Benefits to the mentee

Finding a mentor at work can help you build a host of essential skills. Those with mentors at work will benefit from an increase in:

  • Self-confidence
  • Self-awareness
  • Job satisfaction
  • Aspiration
  • Likelihood of promotion
  • Loyalty to their company
  • Fulfilment at work

89% of those who have been mentored will also go on to mentor others, and so contribute to this cycle of learning and development within an organisation.

Benefits to the mentor

There are also many positive benefits for those doing the mentoring. Studies have shown an increase in:

  • Self-confidence
  • Communication skills
  • Job satisfaction
  • Loyalty to their company
  • Fulfilment at work

Harvard Business Review conducted a study researching the positive effects mentoring can have on the mentors themselves and found that people who served as mentors experienced lower levels of anxiety and described their job as more meaningful than those who did not mentor. Leadership mentoring is also a key way to develop your leadership skills.

Benefits to your organisation

The positive outcomes of mentoring stretch far beyond personal development for the people involved in the mentorships. Mentoring in the workplace has huge benefits for the organisations themselves, increasing:

  • Employee engagement
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Employee loyalty

All of these contribute to employee retention!

It can also improve:

  • Diversity in leadership
  • Knowledge sharing
  • On-boarding ease
  • Strong company culture

Not to mention reducing learning costs as you are sourcing experts from within your organisation to foster the development of others.

Another benefit for organisations offering mentoring in the workplace is recruitment opportunities. Studies have shown that 79% of millennials see mentoring as crucial to their career success. Given that by 2025, this demographic will comprise more than 75% of the workforce, it ought to be a top priority for businesses of all sizes.

You can read more on the Benefits of Mentoring here

Mentoring in the workplace key statistics

Above we mention some key statistics for implementing a mentoring program in your business. Yet, this is only a fraction of the data out there that shows the efficacy of mentoring in the workplace.

Tell me more…

  • 84% of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs.
  • 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if they were offered opportunities to learn and grow.
  • 67% of businesses reported an increase in productivity due to mentoring.
  • 55% of businesses felt that mentoring had a positive impact on their profits.
  • Mentoring programs boosted minority representation at the management level from 9% to 24%.
  • Top reasons for millennials wanting to quit their jobs are ‘Not enough opportunities to advance’ at 35% and ‘Lack of learning and development opportunities’ at 28%.
  • 71% of people with a mentor say their company provides them with good opportunities to advance in their career, compared with 47% of those without a mentor.
  • More than 4 in 10 workers who don’t have a mentor say they’ve considered quitting their job in the past three months.
  • 87% of mentors and mentees feel empowered by their mentoring relationships and have developed greater confidence.

As shown in the numerous studies on the positive effects of mentoring in the workplace, it’s one of the simplest things organisations can do to keep their employees engaged, productive and motivated. This is true across the different types of mentoring too.

We’ve written a more detailed guide to Mentoring Statistics if you want to explore even more research!

How to implement business mentoring

Implementing mentoring in the workplace is not only about what your business can gain, but, as we’ve shown, the opportunity cost of not investing in mentoring can be huge.

Now we’ve established how important mentoring in the workplace is, you’re probably itching to find out how you can implement an effective mentoring program within your organisation.

Luckily we’ve put a full step-by-step guide together

Read: How To Start A Mentoring Program

So, there we have it—everything you need to know about the importance of mentoring in your workplace. As you can see, mentoring is not just a nice to have but an essential part of your learning and development toolkit.

By implementing a formal mentoring program you can benefit from a whole host of lasting changes. The question isn’t “why is mentoring important”, but rather “why don’t we already do it!”

Want to learn more about how Guider’s mentoring platform can help your business thrive? Click ‘book a demo’ and arrange a call with our team today.

Categories
Advice for Businesses

Coaching and Mentoring: What’s the Difference?

Coaching and mentoring both exist for the same purpose: helping others grow, develop and reach their full potential. Both coaching and mentoring give the opportunity for individuals to take responsibility for their own personal and career development.

Both coaching and mentoring form an intrinsic part of your people development, in particular, both coaching and mentoring are essential in corporate leadership training.

The two frequently get grouped together making it feel like an ‘either or’ decision for organisations. But there are a number of key differences between coaching and mentoring, so it’s important to see them as separate things and understand how they can work together.

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How are coaching and mentoring different?

To start with, let us consider the definition and elements of both coaching and mentoring:

What is a career mentor?

A mentor is someone who can guide, advise, and support you to be the best you can be in your career. They take time to understand you and the challenges you’re facing and then advise you based on their understanding of the problem and their personal experience – with the aim of helping you towards your goals.

The benefits of mentoring include; increasing self-confidence, developing communication and leadership skills, and gaining exposure to new perspectives. As a result, those with mentors are more likely to feel inspired and motivated to progress in their careers.

This is what makes it an essential part of corporate leadership training. Mentoring is a great way to identify and develop future leaders, managers and high-potential employees.

While the best mentors will bring elements of coaching into their sessions, there are key elements of mentoring that are different to coaching.

Key elements of mentoring vs coaching

  • Long term

Mentoring relationships, or mentorships, have the potential to last a lifetime if they result in friendship. Even if you initially get a mentor to support you with a specific goal, once you have that connection with someone you may reach out to them again in the future. Mentoring tends to be longer-term than coaching partnerships due to its personal and informal nature.

  • Voluntary

Typically, mentoring is voluntary. Whether the mentoring takes place informally through personal networks, or formally through a company mentoring program, there is rarely an expectation of payment for the mentor’s time. Both parties are dedicated to the personal development of the mentee, and the process is also highly rewarding for the mentor. Mentoring succeeds because mentors like to ‘give back’ or ‘pay it forwards’ and understand that mentoring is also beneficial for them.

Mentors find their jobs more meaningful and less stressful than those who do not mentor, and have also been found to be more likely to get a promotion.

  • Advice & guidance

The role of a mentor is to listen, learn, and advise. It is about pointing their mentee in the right direction and aiding their career development. The difference between coaching and mentoring in this regard is that mentoring is a softer and more relationship-focused form of guidance, as opposed to a structured training approach coaching often takes.

  • Mentee driven

In mentorship, the mentee is responsible for driving the sessions and steering the relationship. A common misconception is that a mentor will tell you exactly what to do and shape you into a more successful person, but the opposite is true. A mentee must be dedicated to their own development and utilise their mentor to help them achieve their goals.

Read more: How To Be A Good Mentee

  • Mentor advises based on personal experience

Due to the personal nature of mentoring, a mentor will often draw on their personal experiences and expertise to help advise their mentee. This could be in the form of sharing a story that taught them a valuable lesson, or a challenge they overcame in their career. In corporate leadership training, this first-hand advice can help the mentee to navigate power structures and progress within their organisation or industry. This kind of personal dialogue is welcomed and encouraged in a mentoring relationship. Another key difference between coaching and mentoring.

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What is a career coach?

While there are a number of different styles of coaching and types of career coach, ultimately a coach is someone who can support you in specific personal or career development areas. They may identify and prioritise improvement areas, break down your end goal into smaller goals and work with you to shape and grow your mindset.

Career coaches help you understand yourself better, improve your mindset and equip you with the skills to handle future challenges and situations.

Another comparison between coaching and mentoring, is that coaching is typically more structured and tailored to specific outcomes, as opposed to general personal development. This more formal structure is also a result of coaches charging for their service, unlike mentors. The structured nature of coaching makes it a great addition to your corporate leadership training, as you can target specific areas to up-skill you current and future leaders.

Here are some of the key elements of coaching that differ from mentoring:

Key elements of coaching vs mentoring

  • Short term

Coaching partnerships are more short-term than mentoring relationships, due to the fact that they are objective-driven and more structured. Someone may seek out a coach to help them develop a specific skill or work through a particular limiting belief. The coaching could well end once that skill or objective had been acquired.

  • Training & Up-skilling

As opposed to advising and guiding, coaching focuses more on training and up-skilling to help you develop a winning mindset. A coach can help increase your self-awareness by identifying areas for improvement and challenging assumptions that may be preventing you achieve your goals. Coaching is often used in corporate leadership training to develop key skills, where they may train you in the art of questioning to equip you to manage others better or identify limiting beliefs about yourself.

  • Coach drives the sessions

Unlike a mentorship, a coach is more likely to drive the sessions than the client. While the client will naturally have input and is taking responsibility for their development by undergoing coaching, there is less expectation for them to run the sessions. NB: this may differ depending on the style of coaching.

  • Coach does not necessarily discuss personal experience

A coach is not obligated to discuss anything personal. In fact, there’s a high chance they have no experience in the industry or role that their client works in. However, they will have expertise in specific areas, such as leadership training or coaching agile teams. This is a key difference between coaching and mentoring, where mentors would draw on their experience and knowledge to give advice.

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How can I use coaching and mentoring in my organisation?

As you can see from the above lists, coaching and mentoring are not the same thing. However, they’re also not worlds apart. Both coaching and mentoring are methods of developing individuals and they hold similar values at their core. They can both be used in corporate leadership training, up-skilling and providing targeted support to your people in different areas. Implementing coaching and mentoring in your organisation can support your learning and development goals in different ways.

It is a journey where the process of learning is as important as the knowledge and skills gained” (Zeus and Skiffington, 2000)

In both coaching and mentoring, there is:

  • Trust between both parties
  • A desire to develop
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Developing self-awareness
  • Discussion of goals
  • Exposure to new ways of thinking
  • Skill development
  • Focus on career progression
  • The unlocking of someone’s potential

And so the relationships are underpinned by many similar principles.

Once you understand the similarities and differences between coaching and mentoring, you can see how they are able to complement each other as development practices.

For example, as an organisation, you may want to foster a culture of people-focused personal development and implement a company-wide mentoring program. Yet you could also provide a specific corporate leadership training option to your managers, and so provide them with coaching sessions or mentoring with high-performing senior leaders.

The effect of this two-pronged approach to coaching and mentoring is highly valuable. Those managers who have undergone coaching will also make very good mentors to other individuals in your organisation. When you bear in mind that 89% of mentees go on to be mentors, you can create a ripple effect culture of learning and development within your organisation that has people at its core.

Interested in finding out how Guider can help you scale coaching and mentoring?  Book a chat today to speak to our team.

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Advice for Businesses

How to Start a Mentoring Program: A Step by Step Guide

With more and more emphasis on workplace wellbeing and self-improvement, companies need to be investing in development opportunities for their employees to keep them fulfilled and happy at work.

Starting a mentoring program is one way to do that.

You probably already know the importance of mentoring in the workplace – but if you need a reminder, check out our article on the importance of workplace mentoring programs.

So, now you’re looking to find out how to start a mentoring program in your organisation.

Luckily, you’re in the right place. In this step by step guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process – from designing your mentoring program through to execution – highlighting challenges and providing tips along the way.

This guide runs through starting a mentoring program without a mentoring platform. While you don’t need corporate mentoring software to get you started, we certainly recommend it if you want to grow and scale your programs.

Let’s get to it…

How to start a mentoring program: step by step

Step 1: How do I define the purpose & goals of my program?

Firstly, what are the main reasons for wanting to start a mentoring program from an organisational point of view?

  • Is employee engagement low?
  • Are talented graduates leaving?
  • Is your gender balance in leadership highly uneven?

There are many ways that a mentoring program can support your business goals, create a better workplace culture and support hiring and retention. Read more on the benefits of a mentoring program here.

Whatever the reasons are, clearly define them with your team and make sure you keep them at the forefront when designing and running your mentoring program.

Secondly, identify the key reasons and motivations for people signing up for the mentoring program. These will naturally differ from the business’ reasons but are vital to define in order to attract people to the program and deliver value.

An example reason could be:

  • a mentee might sign up because they’re looking to get a promotion, or build their confidence.
  • a mentor might sign up because they want to hone their leadership qualities.

Thirdly, what are you looking to achieve from the mentoring program? And how can you measure its success?

In order to tackle a challenge such as low employee engagement, you must define the metrics and KPIs you will be tracking in advance. You can use these KPIs to set goals in order to have a definition of success for your program.

i.e. a diversity mentoring program may track promotion rates and self-confidence of participants, compared with non-participants.

This step is crucial to get right, as program managers will often have to report ROI of the program to senior management.

This being said, it’s not all business goals and objectives. You must also outline what success could be for the mentees and mentors and how you can track and measure their goals.

TOP TIP: Don’t make assumptions when it comes to the mentees and mentors involved in the program. At this planning stage, conduct some research to find out the key reasons for interest in mentoring amongst your company, and what they would be hoping to achieve by taking part. This way you can design your program to fit both your needs as a business and the needs of your people. It will also help when it comes to attracting participation!

Read more on the importance of including your program users in the design of your mentoring program here.

From this first step, you might decide to design a whole mentoring program around a specific goal, as LVMH did to increase gender diversity.

Here at Guider, we have made tens of thousands of matches worldwide. We can help you kick start your program right, whatever your goals, with our corporate mentoring software.

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Step 2: How do I design a mentoring program?

Time for the details. Next, you need to design the specifics of the mentoring program. Some things to outline at this stage include:

  • How many spaces are available?
  • Is it exclusive or inclusive? (i.e are you choosing participants)
  • If it’s inclusive, how can people sign up?
  • What is the sign up process?
  • How will you encourage sign ups?
  • How will you launch the program?
  • How long will the mentoring relationship last?
  • How will you match participants?
  • What is the commitment expected from participants?
  • How will you monitor progress?
  • How will you report success?

There are a whole host of other questions to help design the specifics of your mentoring program, with a lot depending on the type of organisation and the objectives of the program.

The trick is to try and be as detailed as possible here, and map out your whole mentoring program from start to finish. This is also the stage when you may decide that mentoring software is needed to design and built a program that works for your organisational goals.

For more support, download our detailed e-book:

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Step 3: How should I onboard mentors & mentees?

Once you have designed your mentoring program, a key challenge for mentoring program organisers is doing all of that work, and then getting low participation rates. Mentoring programs can only scale if promotion and onboarding are working effectively.

Here are our tips on how to attract people to your mentoring program:

Communicate the benefits for mentors and mentees

Don’t assume people will already know why they should care about mentoring. To drive interest you need to really highlight what’s in it for them. If you need a reminder, we have some killer statistics you can share.

Remove as many barriers to entry as possible 

People may not sign up for a mentoring program because of a lack of time, a fear that it will double their workload, or that they won’t be able to commit. Think about removing as many barriers as possible to your mentoring program.

Offer training and preparation materials

For many, this could be their first experience of mentoring. To encourage as many people as possible to sign up for your mentoring program, try offering training and preparation materials so people feel informed, and therefore more comfortable committing.

Get key stakeholders and leaders on board

Find the people in your organisation with the most influential weight and sell them the dream first. If you can get them signed up for the program and talking about it with others in the business, they will act as ambassadors for the program and encourage sign-ups.

If you can do all of the above, you shouldn’t have a problem attracting participants to start a mentoring program!

Read More: How to Use Mentoring Software

Step 4: How can I match mentors & mentees?

This step also raises a lot of issues for HR and L&D teams or whoever is managing the mentoring program. You’ve done the hard work of designing the mentoring program and onboarding many eager participants – now, how to match them?

The details the participants were required to enter upon sign up – such as background, skills, experience, interests and so on – can be used to match mentees with mentors who can best help them reach their goals.

Most of the time, this is done manually by the program organisers, as they have the best knowledge of the objectives and participants. However, this manual matching is naturally subject to human bias, as they are choosing who gets to be mentored by who (or ‘playing God’ if you enjoy a slightly dramatic analogy!).

To avoid this, businesses can use mentoring software to match their employees. Guider makes smart, relevant and accurate mentor matches based on data inputted by participants. This removes bias and democratises mentoring within organisations.

Read more: How to Match Mentors & Mentees

Step 5: How do I maintain mentoring momentum?

Now the mentors and mentees are matched and connected, your mentoring program is well underway. But if you thought this is where you can sit back and let the mentoring relationships blossom, you thought wrong.

Mentoring can easily lose momentum, typically because it’s new for both parties and not part of their routines yet. Without structure, guidance, and inspiration – such as reminding them why they signed up – you can expect a number of your participants to drop off.

It’s therefore important to check in with mentors and mentees, as well as ask for reports and feedback! This is something you can factor in when you design a mentoring program.

TOP TIP: At the beginning of a mentoring relationship, make sure the mentee outlines clear goals to their mentor for what they want to achieve. This will give the relationship direction and objective, as well as hold both parties accountable for reaching the goals.

With mentoring often happening offline, it’s also hard for program managers to have visibility over the success of the relationship, or even know if it’s happening at all. That’s why using mentoring software can help eradicate these issues, as all communication and goal setting takes place on the platform. Making it easy for the participants and the program manager to keep track.

Creating a community around the mentoring program will also help maintain momentum. Send a regular newsletter to all participants of the mentoring program, featuring content about getting the most out of the relationship, as well as personal development tips. This is another area that corporate mentoring software can help with. Out team at Guider, are experts in sending great emails, supporting you to promote your program internally.

This is also a great place to celebrate any successes and make everyone feel part of something. If you have an end date for your mentoring program, why not host an event to get everyone in the program together to thank them for their participation? Rewards and community benefits will reduce drop off and create a more positive, memorable experience for all.

Step 6: How can I measure the success & ROI of my program?

The final stage of starting a mentoring program is measuring its success against its objectives. Running these programs (as this guide demonstrates) takes a huge amount of work, and so program managers will often have to report back and prove ROI.

It’s important to measure success across all areas of the mentoring program, even if you haven’t quite hit your targets as a business (employee engagement for example), the positive outcomes for the mentees in terms of their personal development could still be overwhelming. The mentoring program hasn’t failed, it could be a case of taking what you’ve learned and trying again.

Things to measure:

  • The business objectives outlined

Have you hit your KPIs as a result of the mentoring program?

  • Mentee personal development

Did the mentee achieve their goals? What impact did the mentoring program have on them?

It’s also crucial to ask for feedback from all participants at this stage. Were the mentors satisfied with the outcome of their relationship? Would they mentor again? What could be improved about the program? What were the biggest challenges? And so on.

If it’s the first time you’re starting a mentoring program, you will learn endless amounts on how to improve and iterate for future cohorts. With mentoring platforms such as Guider, it’s easy to prove the ROI of your program using our smart analytics tools. Our team are on hand to guide you through the process and help you make the most of mentoring.

Read more: How to Measure the Success of your Mentoring Program

So, there we have it! Everything you need to start your mentoring program, step by step. While it may look like a big task, the benefits of a successful mentoring program are enormous to both your organisation and your people.

If you want an easy, scalable way to start your mentoring program, then investing in mentoring software such as Guider could be the game-changer you are looking for.

Note: We have written a separate article on running virtual mentoring programs to support fully remote or hybrid teams through mentoring. 

Interested in learning how Guider can support your business? Get in touch by booking a demo!

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Benefits of Mentoring 

The Positive Impact of Mentoring on Mental Health

In an increasingly fast paced world, it is difficult to find time to be there for people and even for ourselves. As a consequence, spaces to talk about mental health are shrinking. The day has therefore been set aside to create supportive communities by having conversations with family, friends, or colleagues about mental health. We all need good mental health. By talking about it, we can support ourselves and others.

What’s mentoring got to do with mental health?

At its core, mentoring is about helping another person. A mentor is somebody who advises, supports and guides another in the right direction.

There are many benefits of mentoring, which is why this type of relationship is established in schools, universities and organisations the world over. Many celebrities have cited their mentors as having played a huge role in their success, and finding a mentor is on the top of many people’s career development lists.

But less often discussed is the positive impact, for both the mentee and the mentor, that the relationship has on mental health and wellbeing.

Find out more about embedding mentoring in your diversity and inclusion initiatives with Guider

How mentoring helps mental health

Here are 5 ways that mentoring has a positive effect on mental health, for both the mentee and the mentor involved:

1. Supporting isolation

Those struggling with mental health issues often feel isolated.

While the stigma around mental health issues is thankfully decreasing, it can still be very difficult to speak up, particularly in a workplace. This stigma can leave people feeling isolated, and believing it’s better to stay quiet. This is even more relevant following the effects of 2020, with feelings of loneliness reaching a record high in UK adults.

In their guide to supporting mental health at work, the Mental Health Foundation lists mentoring as an effective solution. Having a support system in the form of a mentoring programme for those who have lived experience of mental health can have a huge impact. This could be in the form of peer, group, or team mentoring, or equally traditional one on one mentoring can provide someone struggling from mental health issues with a person who is invested in their success, leading them to feel less alone. You can read more about the different types of mentoring here.

 In the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Week, remember to check in on your colleagues regardless of whether or not you are formally mentoring them. We never know what someone else is going through, and knowing that people are looking out for you does a lot of good for someone suffering from feelings of isolation.

A person wearing a large backpack and hiking gear looks across a lake at a scenic mountain view.

2. Reducing levels of anxiety

Those who suffer from constant anxiety are likely to worry about everything from the simplest of tasks, to the people around them, to their own abilities.

Anxiety at work drastically impacts general wellbeing, and is a huge set back for many people and organisations. In fact, the World Health Organisation estimates a global cost of $1 trillion per year in lost productivity as a result of depression and anxiety.

There are many actions that businesses can put in place to support their employees better and reduce that impact. Mentoring is one of those methods that has been proven to reduce anxiety, particularly around one’s own ability. Those feelings and worries are minimised by sharing them with a mentor who can encourage and inspire you.

‘Work politics can be a real challenge when we have mental health problems. It can be helpful to find a mentor or a small group of trusted colleagues with whom you can discuss feelings about work.’ – Mental Health Foundation

While we often focus on the benefits of mentoring for those receiving it, this also works the other way. As the Mental Health Foundation highlight in their choice of kindness as 2020’s theme, helping other people feels good.

Harvard Business Review conducted a study researching the positive effects of mentoring on the mentors themselves, and found that people who served as mentors experienced lower levels of anxiety, and described their job as more meaningful, than those who did not mentor. These findings were also found in a study by Cambridge Judge Business School, with mentoring reducing anxiety in mentors.

3. Increasing self-confidence

Mental health charity Mind says: ‘while low self-esteem isn’t a mental health problem in itself, they are closely linked’.

An increase in confidence can therefore positively impact mental health, and help to challenge those limiting assumptions about ourselves that mental health issues cause us to feel.

Those with mentors frequently report an increase in their self-confidence, particularly as they feel supported in their decisions and career path. Mentoring relationships are a safe space for mentees to explore new ideas and grow without fear of judgement, as well as receive reassurance from someone they admire. These factors naturally work to increase their confidence in themselves, and so can really help to tackle mental health issues such as depression.

Mental health issues feed off limiting beliefs about ourselves. Feelings of worthlessness and futility are closing linked with depression, and so investing in building the self-confidence and self-esteem of your employees is a highly effective way of improving mental health across your workforce.

Mentors similarly experience improved self-esteem and confidence from the act of helping others achieve their goals. This rewarding feeling also results in improved mental health across the board.

A smiling man with a beard looks at the camera from behind a neutral grey desk.

4. Feeling listened to

This may seem obvious, but having a safe and formalised space where you feel listened to and valued has a positive impact on mental health.

It’s not often that those safe spaces are available to us in our day to day lives, particularly in our working lives. For those who do not have a family or friend unit they are close to, these spaces can be hard to come across full stop.

A mentoring relationship, especially one established formally through work, is built around mutual trust and confidentiality. It therefore provides a space to share without judgement, to be listened to and supported. This obviously comes more naturally if the mentor and mentee get along on a personal level, which is important when matching mentoring pairs.

For those suffering from mental health issues who might not have many people to talk to, mentoring can be very cathartic and supportive. However, it’s important to remember that a mentoring session is not a therapy session, and a mentor is not a therapist. If running a mentoring programme for mental health support, this is an important reminder to share with all participants throughout the programme.

5. Hope for the future

For those suffering from mental health issues, fear and anxiety about the future is a common struggle. People can feel dread and detachment when thinking about what lies ahead for them. This is another experience which has become more widely addressed during the Covid-19 pandemic, and something which mentors can support with.

As a mentor helps someone work towards achievable goals and accelerates their progress, they can reduce these anxieties and instil hope and optimism around the future.

The Advocacy Project shared some of the feedback from their mental health mentoring programme, with mentees describing the experience as ‘a light at the end of the tunnel’ and their mentors giving them ’empowerment and belief in you’.

This is truly powerful and can make a huge difference in the lives of those suffering from poor mental health. If running a mentoring programme tailored towards mental health support specifically, ensure your mentors have received adequate training in how to broach topics surrounding the future, so as not to overwhelm or panic their mentees.

Typically, mentors may look to discuss and set long term career or personal goals with their mentees. However, for someone suffering from mental health issues this could be overwhelming and lead to them putting undue pressure on themselves. Mentors need to be aware of this and work on short term achievable goals to boost confidence and reduce anxiety.

For more practical tips to support employee mental health while working from home, check out this blog post.

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With more and more emphasis on workplace wellbeing and mental health, organisations needs to be ensuring their people are happy and healthy at work. For the reasons discussed in this article, starting a mentoring programme is a highly effective way to tackle mental health issues while also supporting personal development.

Don’t be reactive to mental health support. Mentoring helps to create an inclusive culture built around community, mutual support and growth. Find out how Guider can help, book a chat below.

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Diversity and Inclusion

Making Your Workplace LGBTQ+ Inclusive

Welcome to Pride Month! Held in annually in June (the month the Stonewall Riots took place in the US in 1969), Pride is a month long celebration for LGBTQ+ people. Through marches and events, Pride is a moment to celebrate how far the rights of LGBTQ+ people have come, and a reminder that there is still much work to be done. Different events are held to raise awareness of and combat prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community while celebrating its many achievements and upholding its diversity.

Find out more about the benefits of embedding mentoring in your diversity and inclusion initiatives with Guider

Pride Month in the UK

2022 marks 50 years of Pride in the UK. To celebrate many organisations will be looking at the history of Pride over the last 50 years and looking forward at what we want to achieve in the next 50 years. The visibility of Pride and the communities formed are so important in providing supporting for people across the world.

LGBTQ+ people often interact within their school, family, and workplace environments without getting the comprehension and the feeling of belonging they need in order to experience safety in society. Anyone who is excluded of such a basic necessity over time will have to surmount more obstacles to be their true self fully. A loving and supportive community helps mental health, and allows individuals to recover and continue to grow into the person they are.

In celebration of Pride month, we’ve put together five simple ways businesses and everyone in the workplace can make LGBTQ+ people feel included, not only for Pride month but every month of the year!

1. Assert and Ask

If an LGBTQ+ person shares with you a personal part of their identity, an employer or mentor should respect and confirm their identity if referring to them by using their correct name, pronouns, honorifics and gendered or non-gendered words.

If you ask someone about their gender identity or pronouns, do so in a manner which is not intrusive or disruptive, but based in confidence and friendship. Leaders should make it a normal practise to express and accept each other’s gender pronouns, so that people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community are not identified or placed in vulnerable situations.

Asana incorporated the addition of gender pronouns into their profile settings, so people have visibility over how their team member’s identify. This is a great example of a business fostering inclusivity. Similarly, LinkedIn have recently added the ability to add pronouns to your profile. Managers and leaders should encourage their teams to do so to promote inclusion within their company.

[Source: Asana]

2. Listen and Trust

When you are presented a chance to know more about the identity of your employee, colleague, or work friend, listen to their story and trust in what they share with you.

There may be a desire to question in order to learn more, but bear in mind how this can come across as interrogative and invalidating. Instead, be accepting and perhaps go and read up on the discussed topic elsewhere. While a LGBTQ+ colleague or friend may be happy to explain things, it’s not the responsibility of the community to educate you.

Know that LGBTQ+ identities are legitimate and genuine, and that individuals holding these self-identities deserve to be believed and respected in their awareness of themselves. Disrespecting their trust in you, or marginalising the individual will just diminish their feelings of safety in the work environment.

This culture of listening, trust and mutual respect will filter down if it is held and advocated for by senior leaders. Any organisation trying to become more LGBTQ+ inclusive need to have a senior leadership team who a bought into this mission. If there is some educating to be done within those teams, prioritise that before trying to implement LGBTQ+ inclusion initiatives as it will have more impact in the long run.

3. Include and Support

An employers’ first commitment should be to do no harm. Keep this in mind in policies and procedures, and in intake documents for LGBTQ+ employees, and recommend using inclusive and supportive terminology.

Making these changes may require employers to de-establish their own social conditioning on gender standards and prejudices to better assess the safety of their workplace. Acknowledging the structural or cultural barriers that may affect LGBTQ+ employees is the first step to making changes that make your workplace more inclusive.

Listen to the LGBTQ+ community and include them in the conversation of how to improve. Before launching any programs aimed at supporting the community, make sure you have involved them in the design process and truly understand different lived experiences within the organisation. Feeling truly heard is essential to an inclusive workplace.

4. Utilise Mentoring

At Guider, we understand the power of mentoring. Mentors listen empathetically and respectfully, offering comfort and security and provide their knowledge and experience in everything from self confidence to leadership. The support received from mentors can be life changing for mentees within the organisation.

For many LGBTQ+ people, the fear of homophobia, rejection, being moved on for promotions and work interviews is still very strong. In reality, gay and lesbian job seekers are 5% less likely than heterosexual applicants with similar skills and experience to be given a job interview (as discovered by András Tilcsik, professor of sociology at Harvard University in his Journal Article “Pride and Prejudice: Employment Discrimination against Openly Gay”).

Mentoring, workers networking groups, workshops, and conferences all go a long way towards being a more welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ employees to work. Employees can also be provided with initiatives such as environment assessments, LGBTQ+ awareness training and workplace community groups.

Read more on diversity and inclusion mentoring here.

LGBTQ+ Inclusive Mentoring

5. Reverse Mentoring

The idea of mentoring is well known to most people. But ‘reverse mentoring’ implies the opposite of this, where the senior leader is mentored by a younger, more novice member of staff.

Reverse mentoring benefits both sides and provides the opportunity for junior members to build relationships with senior employees and benefit from their experience and knowledge, while also trying to give senior staff the chance to learn from junior employees with various skills and knowledge.

In the last 20 years, thousands of companies have embraced policies and procedures designed to improve LGBTQ+ integration, but this remains a significant challenge for several workplaces. Research suggests that younger employees will be most likely to push change in terms of diversity and inclusion in LGBTQ+ in the work environment.

Reverse mentoring for LGBTQ+ integration works by matching senior employees with younger LGBTQ+ staff or allies. Reverse mentoring is one of the key methods recommended to businesses that wish to be more LGBTQ+ friendly. It is suggested not only to help increase senior employees’ understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, but also to improve LGBTQ+ employees’ career development.

Traditional mentoring focuses on developing the junior mentee, but both parties benefit from reverse mentoring. Senior mentees get insightful feedback from younger mentors, which helps them actively change and be more understanding and use their position to enhance the culture of the work environment.

Read: The Complete Guide to Reverse Mentoring

We hope that this guide can support businesses to make their workplace more LGBTQ+ inclusive, so that all employees feel accepted. Because feeling a sense of belonging and empowerment in the workplace is proven to increase performance, loyalty, and happiness.

Categories
Customer Stories

How Reed Are Supporting Women in Tech Through Mentoring

The lack of diversity in the tech sector is something the industry has been aware of and trying to address for a number of years now. While it’s a topic on everyone’s radar, change is still happening slowly.

In the UK, 19% of tech workers are women (TechNation 2021), and 72% of them feel that ‘bro culture’ can be pervasive in their industry.

When women in tech are outnumbered on a daily basis, it’s easy to see why 78% feel they have to work harder than their coworkers to prove their worth. (Trust Radius 2021)

The effects of Covid-19

Covid-19 has exacerbated the problems faced by women working in the sector..

According to a recent study by Trust Radius, women in tech were nearly twice as likely as men to have lost their jobs or been furloughed due to the pandemic. Equally, 57% of women in tech felt burned out at work in 2021, compared to 36% of men.

With mentoring and sponsorship being some of the most effective ways to accelerate career development and growth in confidence, it’s a crucial element of supporting women in tech.

Women in Tech impacted by COVID-19 graphic. Burnout, overtime, more responsibilities, childcare burden, furlough and starting new businesses are listed as impacts.

Supporting Women in Tech with mentorship

With research showing that women are less inclined to self-promote than men, less likely to apply for jobs than men (unless they meet 100% of the criteria), and lack role models in their industries, it’s no wonder having a mentor to support you is highly valuable.

One organisation using mentoring to support women in tech is the world’s largest family-run recruitment company, Reed.

Reed founded their Women in Technology Mentoring Programme in 2019, after being inspired by the PwC ‘Tech She Can Charter’ initiative.

“Hiring for diversity across positions within the tech market is a concern for practically every employer and so as a specialist recruiter in this space it’s an aspect we help clients with on a daily basis.” – Kevin Dainty, founder of the programme

Since then, the programme has expanded to include hundreds of participants across a range of businesses in the tech industry, including Telegraph Media Group and Close Brothers.

In January 2022, which conveniently happens to be National Mentoring Month, Reed is taking the Women in Tech Programme to the next level by partnering with Guider.

Guider is on a mission to power a billion impactful conversations by helping organisations and communities scale their mentoring and coaching initiatives. The platform makes managing mentoring programmes simple, automating the matching process and providing insightful data.

Reed and Guider’s partnership will make mentorship even more accessible to women in the technology sector, with connections forming across the industry.

An advert for Reed's women in technology programme with a smiling woman in the centre. It says: attract and retain your female talent with our remastered programme.

International Women’s Day 2022 #BreakTheBias

Fittingly International Women’s Day this year is centred around recognising bias.

Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias. (IWD)

There is also a specific focus on the technology industry highlighted on the International Women’s Day website, focused on ‘celebrating digital advancement and championing women forging innovation through technology’.

Guider and Reed are encouraging organisations and individuals to get behind this mission and make a difference in 2022.

Tuesday March 8, 2022, International Women's Day advert

How to get involved? 

Got experience to share? Join and support this fast growing community by giving your time as a mentor. Find out more and register your interest here.

Equally, if you’re a woman in the technology industry and are looking for mentorship, sign up to the program today.

Categories
Customer Stories

Harnessing the Power of Our People: Mentoring at Clyde & Co

Following the events of 2020, which shook the world and transformed the way we work, communication and human connection became more important to organisations than ever.

From managing distributed workforces, to virtually onboarding new hires, to supporting diverse talent – businesses have faced a number of challenges which primarily revolve around people and personal development. That’s why mentoring, with its human-centric approach, is a powerful and multifaceted solution for organisations.

This focus on people and human connection is exactly what drives Clyde & Co’s global mentoring initiative…

Launched in 2018, the global mentoring initiative was established to encourage mentoring across the business. With offices in over 50 cities on 6 continents, there was a huge opportunity to connect Clyde & Co partners and staff through mentoring relationships.

“We think it’s really important that everyone has the opportunity to be part of Clyde & Co’s global mentoring initiative. It doesn’t matter where your office is or what your role is…mentoring has something to offer everyone and can play a significant role in supporting you with your personal, professional and career development.” David Wood, Global Head of Learning & Development

As with the start of many mentoring programmes, Clyde & Co had a very manual process to initiate match making, using an internal directory of names, job titles and locations. Individuals were encouraged to reach out to a Mentoring Ambassador for their advice to help facilitate recommendations for matchmaking. This put the onus on the mentee, which was quite intimidating given the seniority of many of the ambassadors. Naturally this limited exposure to potential mentors, making it inaccessible for certain people, which contrasted with the firm’s vision for mentoring. Embracing technology to enhance the user experience and increase the scope, scale and quality of matchmaking was a priority for Clyde & Co to improve and grow their mentoring offering.

“Guider has the potential to transform lives, at scale, one conversation at a time. The platform achieves a great balance of delivering a clear, accessible user experience with technology that underpins and supports the process to enhance what is fundamentally a human story of connection, relationships and experience sharing. Bravo! Guy Wilkins, Senior Digital Learning & Platforms Manager

Guider began working with Clyde & Co in early 2021 to help scale the mentoring programme and allow the benefits to be felt globally. This also fed into Clyde’s inclusion goals, by giving everyone equal opportunity to a mentor and making it more accessible.

We are now connecting more people than ever, regardless of their job role, seniority, department or location. There was a common misconception in the past around mentors needing to be a partner or at a senior  level, which was something Clyde & Co were keen to challenge, as a reminder that we can all learn from each other.

“I used Guider to find a mentor within the firm and have been very pleased so far. My mentor is someone I would never have found through other means.” Mentee

The surprise, and unexpected value, from the mentoring matches has been a recurring theme since launching the programme through Guider in March, hopefully creating a shift in mindset around who qualifies as a mentor. Exposure to new and different perspectives is one of the most valuable outcomes of mentoring, and can improve empathy, self-awareness, and cultural competence within a workforce. When using mentoring software to match mentors and mentees, you get pairs that would never have been put together if it was done by a programme lead, or by the individuals.

A woman in headphones speaks on a video call on her laptop.

As well as encouraging a more inclusive company culture, mentoring is supporting individuals in their career development across the firm. Skills such as career development, building client relationships, self confidence and networking are the most highly sought after skills within mentoring relationships, as they rely less on technical training, but can be developed through sharing knowledge, wisdom and experiences with another person.

“Using Guider to find a Mentor and then working with my Mentor (broadly on a monthly basis) has already helped me immensely in my career, particularly in goal setting and career planning.” Emma Hughes, Senior Associate

Another area of mentoring Guider has supported Clyde & Co with is preparing and guiding participants through their relationships. In the past, mentorship training would happen all in one go at the onset of the programme, meaning that the content was front loaded and was not always timely. Now, training and resources are delivered to users in the flow of their mentoring journey, increasing engagement and helping maintain momentum. 

“We’ve not had to run any internal mentoring training sessions to get people signed up or engaging with mentoring since using Guider. Having everything in one place, including a customisable learning library, has made mentoring training self-serve and more accessible.”  Naomi Boachie-Ansah, Senior Digital Learning & Platforms Advisor

This naturally frees up a lot of time for the programme managers, particularly as the self-service nature of using Guider means they’re not having to chase people to understand how relationships are progressing. Guider has provided Clyde & Co with visibility over all the connections taking place within the firm, data which was not previously captured. These HR metrics make mentoring more tangible from a business perspective, allowing Clyde’s to use the mentor and mentee skills data and broader relationship metrics to support other development goals or L&D content requirements.

Clyde & Co are just at the beginning of their mentoring mission, with the goal for it to be a core part of the firm’s aspiration to build a learning and growth culture. Every new joiner will have the opportunity to connect with a mentor, and there are plans to expand the programme to include reverse mentoring to support diversity and inclusion efforts further.

A grey haired woman smiles while talking to a man.

“I find this mentoring process incredibly helpful and fun, and I always look forward to our next session right when we finish one. It is amazing to have a plethora of choices of mentors who are committed to helping you grow and advance in your career!” Mentee

With the belief that everyone should have access to and reap the benefits of mentoring, no matter your background or job title, Clyde & Co are leading their industry forward by harnessing the power of their people. Guider are delighted to be supporting them in their vision for a more connected, inclusive, and truly global firm.