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Harnessing the Power of Your People to Scale Social Learning with Guider and Clyde & Co

The venue:

Theatre 4, Learning Technologies Conference 2022

The speakers: 

  • Nicola Cronin, our very own Head of Content and expert in all things Guider.
  • Naomi Boachie-Ansah, Clyde & Co’s Digital Design Lead.
  • Guy Wilkins, Clyde & Co’s Senior Digital Learning and Platforms Manager.

The seminar: 

Learning Technologies brings together organisational learning and tech for learning at work in a blockbuster two-day conference. Between our team on the Guider stand and our seminar: Harnessing the Power of your People to Scale Social Learning, we were there to get the word out on the benefits of using Guider in your organisation.

We were extremely lucky to be joined by our clients Clyde & Co, a globally integrated law firm that has used our software to successfully scale its global mentoring program, to help deliver our seminar.

Missed the talk? Catch up on the highlights below!

Harnessing the Power of your People to Scale Social Learning

We kicked off with a crowded room full of learning and development experts putting their hands up if they’d ever had a personal experience of mentoring… *Cue a room full of raised hands*

When Nicola asked; “Keep your hands up if this experience was a positive one” and no one budged, we knew this was going to be an interesting talk!

We weren’t there to tell everyone how great mentoring is; it was clear that everyone already knew that. Instead, in the spirit of learning technologies, Nicola, Guy and Naomi were there to teach everyone something new.

The talk covered:

The importance of social learning

87% of employees identify social knowledge sharing as essential, but only 37% feel the same about formal company training.

Mentoring is an incredibly effective way of creating a culture of social learning. When you harness the knowledge already in your business, you can create a low cost and low touch way to spread expertise across your organisation.

Mentoring is all about people and how we learn through building positive relationships with others.

We’re social creatures at heart and through our interactions with others, we learn…

  • About new perspectives
  • About problem-solving
  • About soft and hard skills
  • About building self-awareness

And so this makes the uses of mentoring really broad, as you can see from the Venn diagram below:

Here at Guider, we work with a number of large organisations on a range of mentoring, reverse mentoring, diversity and inclusion, coaching, and sponsorship initiatives. The common factor in all of these programs is that people come together to share knowledge and experiences and to learn from one another.

We wholeheartedly believe in the power of mentoring as a diverse and multifaceted solution for businesses worldwide. It’s not just a workplace perk or a nice to have, but a necessity.

So, why isn’t every business doing this really successfully? Well, that’s an excellent question!

Why mentoring fails

We know that mentoring seems simple, but the reality is it can be hard to implement a company-wide program and to do it really well. This is especially true for large, global organisations such as Clyde & Co.

From excess administrative burden to lack of accessibility, there are many ways that mentoring can fail.

Watch Naomi and Guy talking about the challenges they faced setting up a mentoring program first-hand  

A key barrier to success that we notice a lot at Guider, is that mentoring doesn’t have a dedicated home in most organisations. This means that it’s not clear what department it sits in or who is responsible for it. This can cause silos and inconsistency, as well as affect the budgets and resources that get the program off the ground.

Another key challenge is the process. Setting up, matching and tracking multiple mentoring relationships, particularly across global offices, is a huge administrative burden. And when there is no ownership of the program to start with, program managers end up doing all of this extra work on the side of their day job.

But we’re here to tell you that there are solutions to all of these problems and more!

How Guider works

Guider provides a centralised solution to break down communication silos, give mentoring a dedicated home in your organisation, save your program lead time and administrative burden, and allow you to scale your program to positively impact more lives through mentoring.

At the end of the day, the most important part is the impact that you can have on your people through mentoring. What good is a program that can only benefit 40 people in an organisation of 2,000?

Guider connects your people with ease. Below is a short video highlighting just one mentoring relationship at Clyde & Co found through Guider:

Clyde & Co’s success story

Who better to talk about harnessing the power of your people through mentoring, than our clients that have been doing just that?

We handed the floor over to Naomi and Guy to hear them talk first-hand about their experiences using our platform…

About Clyde & Co 

Guy started by introducing Clyde & Co and the old barriers that they faced when setting up a mentoring program. As a global law firm, with more than 50 offices worldwide and 4,000 staff across continents, making meaningful connections between colleagues across the business was a challenge, to say the least.

Yet, by using Guider’s software they have already been able to make a huge impact by bringing people together through mentoring.

How Guider works for them 

Guy shared the key features of Guider that have helped Clyde & Co scale their mentoring effectively. These are:

  • Ease of access: With Guider, there is one destination for mentoring. You can create a custom landing page and further features such as a content hub will support your people to make the most of mentoring.
  • Dynamic templates: Guider provides helpful suggestions along the way so you can tailor your profile and messages to your mentor effectively.
  • Effective profiles: Gone are the basic name, title, and location fields. Now you can add additional fields like LinkedIn profiles, outside interests, skills and personality traits. All this facilitates better matches.
  • More matches: Guider finds your top three matches, widening your choice of mentor and expanding your networks. This removes a huge headache from program leads that would otherwise have to manually pair people up!

He then shared their 8 tips for running a successful mentoring program. These are…

Getting the most out of your mentoring programme

Naomi went on to discuss the success and impact of the program. They’ve had some incredible results, such as…

  • 1,000 participants joined the program in less than a year
  • It is now accessible to all – anyone in any Clyde & Co team can get a mentor
  • Barriers have been broken down and silos are gone, leading to greater inter-departmental communication across the board

But you don’t need to take our word for it. Naomi shared some of the feedback from within the business that they’ve had on the program so far

Guider testimonials

We’re really proud of our work with Clyde & Co and are thrilled to see the ongoing success of their mentoring program. While there wasn’t enough time for a Q&A at the end of our seminar, we were happy to welcome more people back to the stand for a chat.

We’d like to thank both Naomi and Guy for joining us at the conference. It’s always a pleasure to hear from a happy customer!

Find out more about Clyde & Co’s mentoring journey here.

Thank you to Learning Technologies for a fantastic two-day conference. It’s been wonderful to get to meet in person again and talk about the fantastic benefits of mentoring.

With a mentoring platform such as Guider, scaling your mentoring program and harnessing the power of your people is possible. Because that’s what it’s all about: bringing people together to share positive experiences. Our technology is simply the enabler.

Feeling inspired? If you want to replicate the success of Clyde & Co’s program, get in touch with Guider today! You can schedule a discovery call by booking a demo.

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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.

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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.

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Customer Stories

Mentoring Entrepreneurs: Interview With EY Mentor Ashish Kukreti

For the past two decades, EY has supported entrepreneurs of all backgrounds – by recognising their incredible achievements through the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® programme, by standing beside female founders through the Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ programme, and by working with impact-driven entrepreneurs through EY Ripples, a programme that aims to positively impact one billion lives by 2030.

With an ecosystem of unstoppable entrepreneurs and an ambition to help them unlock their full potential, EY is new tapping into the breadth and depth of its global network to bring a new level of support to these entrepreneurs: mentoring.

Guider are delighted to support EY in this effort and to help match talented entrepreneurs with experienced business mentors from a huge range of fields.

“Entrepreneurs are at the forefront of innovating better answers to society’s toughest challenges. It’s exciting to connect early and growth stage entrepreneurs, and an EY community of world-leading entrepreneurs around the globe, to help accelerate their growth and impact.” – Jessie Coates, EY Global Impact Entrepreneurship Leader

Mentoring is an established method of career development with endless benefits for mentees and mentors. It can be hugely beneficial for entrepreneurs facing new markets and challenges, to be mentored by somebody who has experience in these areas, and who can pass down their wisdom. Everyone can benefit from mentoring, especially entrepreneurs, who are forging entirely new paths to create products and innovations that the world needs most.

One of those very people is Ashish Kukreti, COO of Little Ride, the pan-African mobility platform. Ashish will be serving as a mentor in a new mentoring programme that connects entrepreneurs from the entire EY entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The Guider team chatted with Ashish, from Nairobi to London, to discuss the programme so far, and his passion for sharing knowledge as a means to personal growth.

Hello Ashish! Great to have you as a mentor for EY-connected entrepreneurs.

Hi yes, thanks for hosting the programme and speaking with me! EY approached me based on my background and engagement with startups, and asked me if I wanted to be part of the programme. And, from there, I immediately went in the mode of mentorship!

It’s very rare that people have the possibility of meeting someone they could call a mentor. I found myself in this situation at the beginning of my career, and I thought – “Ashish, if you can find a way to give back and contribute, then you should be doing that”.

It’s a wonderful feeling. And surely it brings a big transformation value to someone’s life, someone who is seriously looking for it.

It’s really a wonderful experience for me as well, and I feel great about it.

A picture of Ashish Kukreti smiling

Often the benefits of mentoring are mainly associated with the mentee – but what are the benefits for the mentor?

When you tell someone else how to do something, it makes you understand it more. It brings you into the inclusion of that thought. It also allows you to understand what is needed and how the science of improvement works for different people in different scenarios. In a nutshell, it makes you more enlightened to different perspectives.

For example, I could say “this is the way to do ROI”, or “this is the way you generate a product from one stage to another”. But when I keep talking about it and go into more and more detail, new things start to form. And with the right questions coming from different places and different people’s perspectives, the mentor also grows, just from understanding how people are doing trade or approaching problems in other parts of the world. And for me, that’s just a mind-boggling feeling!

Similarly, in the process, people also share an incredible level of detailed knowledge, that makes you even more enlightened, and excited. It brings you to the level of their sight, where you can focus thoroughly on the need of your mentees and from there you contribute toward their mission and goals.

Personally, I often interact with people, I love to understand people and work on things like how they feel and act during the different business situations. From there, I try to understand what I can do to help improve their performance or their interaction towards the customer, because that is the virtue.

Besides all that, I also feel it is imperative to ask and learn the right questions to find the real problem, as it then enhances your ability as a mentor and gives you heightened awareness. And for me, it is encouraging and enlightening.

From the sounds of it you’ve been a mentor for many years in many different corporate settings. Is this the first time you’ve used mentoring software?

Yes, this is the first time I’ve used anything like Guider, and I think the name suggests very rightly that it is a guider, it guides you, it tells you what to do, and how to do it.

It’s a very wonderful tool, especially for the mentees, because they know how to approach mentors and what to say at the beginning of the conversation. It also helps you to formulate the first email, which is the right approach.

I like the approach, I like the concept, and I think it is a wonderful product to connect people!

An advert for Guider mentoring software

Glad to hear! And you’ve already got a mentee in the EY entrepreneurial ecosystem – how’s that going?

I’m working closely with my mentee, we’re talking on many different levels about making improvements in areas she’s looking at.

My mentee has a very good business background and she is proactive in asking what insight I can give from my experience which might be fruitful for her business.

I think it’s essential for me to help her to achieve the things that can lead to her success. She selected me on Guider to assist her in tracking down the right experts and other needs for the business. In totality, it’s going very well.

A quote from global EY leader Stasia Mitchell

Amazing, and you’re based in Nairobi but she’s in London – so Guider has opened up a mentoring programme that bridges geographical divides.

Exactly, it’s a wonderful tool.

The best thing about Guider is that it guides the mentor and mentee through the mentoring process. You find yourself using a platform which is engaging you through smart stages or predefined actions. It’s dynamic, and sometimes it prompts you to move to the next level, as a reminder to get going.

In a sense, it allows you to move as swiftly as you can towards your next goal.

We’ve spoken about the perks, but what are some of the challenges of being a mentor?

The biggest challenge of being a mentor is understanding the problems and challenges your mentee is facing. It’s also important to understand what kind of relevance you have to that problem.

I’ve found that you really have to ask to follow-up questions. As a mentor, you should do question-answer rounds with your mentee, as it helps you to approach a solution very early in the process, which leads to great success for you and your mentee.

Moreover, knowing what is being asked is the challenge, and then answering it is not principally a difficult task. Any problem in this world surely has at least one or two solutions, but what is more important is that you know what question or problem you are solving is, and how you are going to solve it. It’s also important to be able to determine whether responding to a certain problem is even an absolute requirement of the mentee at that point in time.

These are some difficulties any mentors would find if they don’t truly understand the problem and what is needed from their end to contribute to a solution. Most people say you have to ‘know your customer’ and I think that’s the case with being a mentor – you need to know your mentee and understand their business.

Any other top tips for somebody interested in becoming a mentor?

If you have that feeling of wanting to support people and help to take them to the next level, you should mentor. If you feel that brewing inside you – a feeling of wanting to help people and improve their lives, to contribute towards their goals, then that’s really what’s required of you as a mentor.

It is a journey where you transform people and their lives by your thoughts and contribution. Once you are tuned to that level, then the next step is basically knowing the nitty-gritty, which you can learn from books, from different people, and so on, but first and foremost is that you have that attitude and that desire to help someone.

I’m excited to be part of this work with EY! I want to help people and improve lives, and in the process, I want to improve myself.

Graphic with a quote from Ashish Kukreti: "I'm excited to be part of this work with EY! I want to help people and improve lives and in the process, I want to improve myself.

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Customer Stories

How EY and Guider are Making Mentoring Accessible to Young People

Launched in 2014, The EY Foundation is on a mission to reduce the barriers many young people face as they enter the world of higher education and employment. Those from low-income backgrounds are less likely to have access to career advice and social networks, so the Foundation has stepped in to help bridge the gap.

In addition to employability skills training, their ‘Our Future’ and ‘Smart Futures’ programmes pair young people with experienced mentors to guide them into the working world and help them secure employment.

Both ‘Smart Futures’ and ‘Our Future’ offer 2 weeks of paid work experience, 10 months of mentoring support, and a CMI level 2 adult qualification. Each programme gives the participants mentors to support them with skills such as communication, team leading, presentation and effective networking.

In the EY Foundation’s last reporting year (July 2019-June 2020) they supported nearly 7000  young people in their journey into employment.

In 2020, Guider has teamed up with the EY Foundation to bring easy, accessible mentoring to more young people.

David’s Story

David Adeniken joined the program in 2017 and was paired with mentor Alexandra Chan, a Cyber Security Associate in EY’s Managed Services department. Struggling between making the decision of entering the workforce and entering university, Alexandra helped him learn about the other options available and he elected to begin a degree apprenticeship.

Research by Upreach shows that state school students were less likely to have access to career advice at school, complete work experience, or have access to a network. Private school students were 45% more likely than state school students to have career help at school. The EY Foundation works to fill in these gaps by providing the guidance that motivated students, such as David, are looking for.

David was taught about building his self-confidence, being proactive, and was able to learn from Alexandra as she led by example. EY offered him the opportunity to tackle not only Mount Toubkal in South West Morocco, but the fundraising for it too, showing him that he can achieve anything he puts his mind to.

Mark’s Story

Mark sought out the EY Foundation as he needed job guidance. He was placed on a 2-week work experience position with a construction company. He quickly became part of the team, learning from other employees and his managers. His managers watched as he became more open, forthcoming and grew in confidence. With his new skills and new growth in confidence, Mark knew that he wanted to become a plumber and understood the journey he needed to take.

Many ambitious students such as Mark and David take on the challenge of building their future, seeking skills such as ‘job seeking’, ‘CV Writing’ and ‘networking skills’. The mentees had identified where they most sought help, and with the support of EY Foundation were able to get that boost they needed.

Research shows that 80% of jobs are found through networking, and private school students were 45% more likely to have accessed new jobs through family and friends, compared to state school students. This is why networking skills are especially useful for those from low-income backgrounds, who are least likely to have connections.

Guider and the EY Foundation Together

With Guider, the EY Foundation has been able to connect mentees and mentors virtually across the world. Giving young people access to a wider range of mentors than ever before. Guider simplifies the matching process and makes it easier for the programme managers to report on the impact of the mentoring programme.

  • Mentor Matching – The platform has a simple matching process giving mentors and mentees the freedom to select the most suitable partnership. This frees up time for programme managers to focus on providing the best experience for mentors and mentees.
  • Reporting – Manual reporting can be long, tedious, and difficult. Programme managers can see important data such as which skills are most sought after by mentees right on their Guider dashboard.
  • Learning Hub – The mentors and mentees are able to access a range of information and resources to help them progress in their journey.

The Impact

The EY Foundation found that 22% of the programme participants were worried about the impact Covid-19 would have on their work experience opportunities, and 46% were worried about the impact Covid would have on exams. With Guider, their participants are able to access mentoring and learning opportunities at home with minimal disruption regardless of lockdown.

In their 2019 to 2020 impact report, the EY Foundation found that:

  • 61% of the young people on the programme came from the top 3 most deprived postcode areas in the UK
  • 100% were on free school meals

However, as a result of the programme:

  • 92% of mentees felt that the programme improved their career prospects
  • 78% said the programme helped them decide their future goals
  • 76% were satisfied with their present job
  • 75% of employers said that the EY programme helped them understand the challenges many young people face.

It’s incredible to see what the EY Foundation has achieved over the years and the progress young people are able to make when given opportunities they hadn’t previously had.

We look forward to continuing working with the EY Foundation to bring simple, accessible mentoring to the employees of the future.

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Customer Stories

Mentoring a New Generation of Software Developers: Interview with Dragos Nedelcu

Mentoring is important across all industries, but can be particularly impactful in the ever-changing landscape of software engineering.

I interviewed Berlin-based software developer Dragos Nedelcu about the importance of mentorship in software engineering, his passion for mentoring, and how all tech companies should be jumping on the trend.

Find out more about the benefits of mentoring for software engineers with Guider

A picture of Nicola and Dragos talking via video call
[Dragos and I having this conversation over Zoom between Berlin and London]

Hello Dragos, please introduce yourself…

Hi, I am Dragos. I am a Software Engineer and Mentor at Mister Spex. As a mentor I share my passion for software at ReDI School and the Mentoring Club. I’ve mentored 20+ incredible software developers so far, and I just love it!

What was your first experience of mentoring, and how did it impact you?

I first came in touch with mentoring as a mentee. As a young professional I was hungry for knowledge. Early on in my career I sought mentorship from individuals who I aspired to be like. My personal mantra ever since has been “work with people you admire”.

It wasn’t until I joined the Mentorship Program at Redi School in Berlin that I became a mentor myself. I started there with a few mentees, some of whom became lifelong friends.

My mentoring experience continued during my engagement in a Coding Bootcamp, and when I joined the Mentoring Club during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve had so many fantastic memories since my first mentoring session.

You’ve become quite the advocate of mentoring on social media, why is it important to you?

I believe mentoring is crucial and critical to individual and organisational success.

At individual level, we live in a complex and fast-moving world: new technology, constant change, and a multitude of career choices make the tech space exciting, yet at the same time sometimes scary. It is impossible to keep up with all the changes on your own, mentoring can help you navigate this complex landscape more easily.

At an industry level, software is living a massive change. The new generation of software developers is highly diverse. It is in this context that I see mentoring becoming a “bridge” between the new generation of software professionals and the current leadership in the industry. I see it as a possible solution to employee retention issues, which are increasingly common in tech companies.

A mentorship program creates emotional deposits and connections inside the company. It has huge impacts on employee satisfaction, resulting in higher commitment from both leadership and employees to each other’s success.

For me, mentorship is the commitment from leadership to this new and diverse workforce.

A screenshot of a LinkedIn post from Dragos
Follow Dragos on LinkedIn

So specifically as a software engineer, what do you think are the main benefits of mentoring?

I will be really honest: I’ve had a tough time in tech making my way up as a software engineer – and I have a background in Engineering and a few years of experience already!

Tech is a fast paced industry, making software development a rewarding but complex job. In all difficult situations I told myself, hey as I gain more experience, I will make sure I make this industry a better place. Because I’ve been there and I know how hard it is.

Being a mentor gave me the chance to expand my understanding and to widen my perspective as a future leader. It taught me how to be more mindful, to listen, and to take things less for granted. Being close to a person navigating the learning curves of such a complex world is a unique experience. You soon realize that for your mentees, you are more than a mentor. You are almost a superhero.

And when you see people achieving that goal they have been working so hard for, the satisfaction you get goes beyond financial reward or success. Knowing that you have played a role in that, and that their life will be now different is incomparably rewarding.

Read More: Why Mentoring is Important

Many people still see mentoring as only benefiting the mentee. Having been on both sides of the relationship, what do you think mentors gain besides the rewarding feeling you mentioned?

Mentoring someone is the chance to boil down all the passion and knowledge you have for what you have learned so far. And then share that with someone who is seeing it for the first time. You don’t get that opportunity many times in your life.

I would go even further and say that as an executive, your most important job is doing exactly that. It is inspiring and helps prepare the leaders of tomorrow. It is a memorable experience and something that I feel lucky to have experienced early in my life.

Summing up, two things make mentoring special as a mentor: One is the opportunity to develop empathy, active listening and a bit of humility. The other is introducing someone to your area of expertise for the first time and transmitting the passion that gets you up every morning to future generations.

Read more on developing your software engineers through mentoring here

What do you see as the main challenges surrounding mentoring in industry?

I am quite optimistic, yet I still see a lot of work to do. Most mentoring initiatives I’m a part of started in a non-profit environment. I am confident we will see this kind of development gain traction inside companies as well.

I also believe that the connection between mentorship programs and financial metrics that corporate managers are pushed to care about is still not so clear to many. I do consider myself lucky to work for a company such as Mister Spex, which believes strongly in the power of mentorship.

Mentorship will happen, whether we want to pioneer that change or just witness it is up to us. I see a huge opportunity there for companies to show they are able to innovate and make these programs a reality faster!

A quote from Dragos on mentorship

So what do you think organisations can be doing to make mentoring more commonplace?

Mentorship is already happening across most organisations. It happens in the shape of informal relationships between executives and other employees. It happens across hierarchies, across teams, and across departments.

What companies can do as a first step is to make these informal relationships official and to enable them in a proactive way. To track results, to create awareness of such initiatives across the company and to incorporate them to their processes. I am certain most professionals want to see this happening. It is a win-win.

It is in this process that companies like Guider can play a major role in helping to manage this process and use technology to make it smooth. You are doing a fantastic job in that area, keep it up!

Interested in mentoring and don’t know where to start?

If you are a software engineer ReDI School of Digital Integration is the best place to start. Just drop Isabelle Köhncke a line.

If you are an executive, try the Mentoring Club. With leaders such as Jessica Dewald and Bastian Buch and an exclusive community, they will take great care of you.

Thanks to Dragos for his insight and words of wisdom. If you’re looking to promote mentoring within your organisation, check our guide to virtual mentoring, or book a demo below.

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Customer Stories

How Guider’s Partners Are Making A Difference During Covid-19

As Covid-19 leaves a quarter of the world’s population in lockdown, more and more businesses and individuals are taking action to support any way they can.

At Guider we’ve been delighted to hear of the positive strategies our partners are taking in order to make a difference during this uncertain and frightening time.

LVMH

LVMH hit headlines last week due to the fact that they have directed all of their perfume factories to start producing hand sanitiser in a bid to tackle France’s shortage. LVMH’s Chairman and Chief Exec Bernard Arnault instructed the factories to switch production, and are supplying the sanitiser free of charge. LVMH have sworn that they will ‘continue to honor this commitment for as long as necessary’, in a statement given on March 15th.

A statement from LVMH published on Twitter

Not only this, the conglomerate also plans to order 40 million hygiene masks from China to supply to the French health service. Having already successfully ordered 10 million from a Chinese supplier, LVMH plans to make the same order every week for the next month. This initiative, costing a total of €5 million, will help the country as they suffer from shortages.

We’re incredibly proud to work with LVMH at this time, and admire their response to the current crisis. Guider began working with LVMH in October 2019 to support their women in leadership mentoring program as part of the EllesVMH gender diversity initiative.

LVMH women in leadership mentoring launch event with Guider.

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer have responded equally quickly to the Coronavirus pandemic. As of last Friday, they began reserving the first hour of trading across 4 days of the week to the elderly, vulnerable and those working for the NHS / Emergency Services. With more and more people panic buying and store shelves left empty across the country, these are crucial measures to protect the most vulnerable people in our society.

Stores selling only Clothing and Home are now closed, however the C&H teams will be joining the Food teams to help with increased demand. M&S have also put social distancing measures in place across their stores, with many putting floor markings down near checkouts to ensure people are staying the recommended 2m away from one another, and sneeze guards being installed at till points.

As well as these measures, M&S is also kickstarting the Neighbourly Community Fund, to support those most impacted by COVID-19. It’s great to see how quickly M&S have adapted in times of crisis, and we’re glad that we can support them with mentoring during this period.

“Our primary focus in these uncertain times is on the mental and physical health of our people, which is why it’s been so important to keep our mentoring programme running as usual. Thanks to Guider’s platform and integrated video chat, this has been possible. Now, more than ever, people across M&S will be needing additional support, so having an active culture of mentoring is extremely beneficial.” – Suzie King, Talent Specialist at M&S.

RB

Meanwhile, RB (Reckitt Benckiser) have been active in tackling Coronavirus on a global scale since January, having donated £5.5 million in cash and antibacterial products to combat the outbreak in China. Their cleaning and disinfectant products were used to help meet the cleaning and disinfection requirements in Wuhan’s hospitals.

More recently, Lysol has donated $2 million to the CDC Foundation’s new Coronavirus campaign, ‘All of Us: Combat Coronavirus’, helping to address fast emerging needs posed by the virus, with a preference toward supporting schools, students and children.

And their efforts are not slowing down, this week, RB has partnered with public health experts in a bid to tackle fake news during these unprecedented times. They launched covid-19facts.com as a source to help people find facts rather than myths while researching Coronavirus online.

As well as this, in India, RB are distributing 10 million Dettol soaps and 3.5 million N95 masks to the most vulnerable in society. This is part of their Fight for Access Fund which has seen £32 million being mobilised to help fight the spread of Covid-19.

RB have been a real inspiration in the speed and generosity of their support across the globe during this pandemic, and as always, we’re proud to work with them.

It’s been incredible to see these responses from Guider partners to the pandemic. We’re confident that with more companies and individuals doing what they can, we will have a united impact. Guider hope that we can continue to support our partners’ remote teams with mentoring during this time of uncertainty.

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Customer Stories

Marks & Spencer Making a Difference With Mentoring

In the Deloitte 2019 Millennial Survey, 49% of millennials said they would quit their current jobs in the next two years if they had the choice. Besides being dissatisfied with pay, the top reasons for this were:

  • ‘Not enough opportunities to advance’ at 35%, and
  • ‘Lack of learning and development opportunities’ at 28%

The requirements of the workforce are changing. With more emphasis on personal development and workplace wellbeing than ever before, companies need to address how they’re supporting their people to keep them fulfilled and progressing at work.

How Marks & Spencer are using mentoring

One organisation doing just that is Marks & Spencer, who Guider started working with in September 2019 to take their mentoring programme to the next level and get more people benefiting from self-development.

In such large organisations (Marks and Spencer employ over 75,000 employees) it can be a challenge to foster a unified and cohesive culture. With many people often only working with their direct colleagues, they lose visibility over the business as a whole and the impact they are having. An effective way of tackling this problem and breaking down silos is through workplace mentoring. Rather than just running more external team-building or training sessions, mentoring allows organisations to look inwards and harness the people and the skills they already have.

But the problem with traditional mentoring programmes is that they are difficult to manage, measure, and scale. They can also be subject to subconscious bias, and often lose momentum. A mentoring software like Guider takes these difficulties away, making mentoring more accessible across all levels of a business, with minimal admin and maintenance.

“Before we signed up with Guider, we had a very ad-hoc mentoring system, there wasn’t any science behind it. You were very much still in your silo’d area, so we needed something more structured. What Guider has done is opened that up, so you can now be a mentor or a mentee with anybody in the business… It’s been a real eye opener for me for how easily we can connect all the different people within the business, and not only connect them, but share everybody’s fantastic skills.” – Suzie King, Programme Manager

From many mentees on the programme at M&S, being mentored by somebody in a completely different business area to them is one of the most valuable things. Getting exposure to new perspectives from someone they would never have the chance to meet gives employees additional support figures outside their team, as well as a more well-rounded view of the business.

And this type of support is invaluable. Mentees have reported increases in confidence, self-assuredness, and motivation since joining Guider and meeting their mentor. One mentee has even received a promotion after their mentor encouraged them to apply, showing how the program is already having a true impact.

Read More: Why Mentoring is Important

Emma Burrell (left) mentors Nicole Edwards (right) at Marks & Spencer
Emma Burrell (left) mentors Nicole Edwards (right) at Marks & Spencer

While mentoring can traditionally appear an individualistic pursuit, if organisations can successfully create and grow a company-wide mentoring culture, everyone can benefit. Through Guider, M&S employees can request multiple mentors with varying experience, to help them with different areas of their personal and career development.

And the mentors are also hungry for it! James Newton-Brown at M&S, is currently mentoring 5 people, and spoke to us passionately about what’s in it for him:

“Every day that you come into contact with different types of people and work through different challenges, issues, successes, you learn something. Every single time you have a conversation, you learn something about people’s behaviour, you learn something about their motivations, and you learn something about yourself…it’s rich, it’s rewarding…it’s a win win.” – James Newton-Brown, Head of Product Development

Picture of James Newton-Brown using an ipad
James Newton-Brown, Mentor at M&S

With more mentors adopting this outlook, the traditional idea of ‘giving back’ being the only reason someone would become a mentor, is fading. In fact, since using Guider, reverse mentoring is taking place at Marks & Spencer of its own accord.

Rob Davies, who has been at M&S for 25 years, has been overwhelmed with how much he’s learning as a mentor in his relationships through Guider. Reinforcing the value that mentoring has for both parties:

“I’m getting a lot of help in reverse, particularly in the digital technology and technical systems worlds, in addition to understanding new parts of the business such as HR and Logistics. So it’s genuinely a two-way relationship. What I can give in return is a bit more expertise and guidance, and I am also learning a huge amount of new stuff that I wouldn’t normally touch”. – Rob Davies, Head of Network Change & Implementation

In this regard, mentoring is a highly impactful way of creating an inclusive workforce, and tackling diversity issues such as ageism, ableism and others. Considering 41% of IT and tech workers have witnessed age discrimination in the workplace, and 32% fear losing their roles due to ageism, mentoring offers a human focused, mutually beneficial solution.

It’s brilliant to see the positive impact taking place in Marks and Spencer in under six months working with Guider. We’re delighted to be helping M&S grow a community within their organisation that is focused on personal development and people.

Watch the full case study here

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Customer Stories

Guider Help LVMH Reach 50/50 Gender Balance Goals With Mentoring

There is still a long way to go for gender parity in organisations, particularly across senior leadership roles. Diversity and Inclusion teams are naturally always looking for ways to reduce this disparity, and many have found an effective solution in mentoring.

Mentoring programmes catered specifically for women in leadership have been proven to increase gender diversity in organisations and support more women into senior managerial roles.

LMVH Tackling Gender Inequality With Mentoring

LVMH is an organisation doing just that, with mentoring being one of the ways they’re hoping to reach 50/50 gender balance in key group positions in 2020. This is an incredible goal set by the EllesVMH initiative, and it’s not far from being achieved.

Guider are delighted to be working with EllesVMH on this ambition, creating an impactful mentoring programme with AI-driven matches to empower women across the organisation through our mentoring software.

On Wednesday 13th November, 74 talents from across 16 Maisons of LVMH gathered at The AllBright Mayfair for the launch of the programme.

We heard from Allbright Co-Founder Anna Jones about the origins of the women’s only members club and the work they’re doing to support women in their professional development.

A panel of industry experts then shared their insight around the power of mentoring, networking, and the ongoing fight for increased gender diversity in the workplace.

The Panel:

Nick Ross – CEO and Co-Founder, Guider

Robert Davies – Head of Network Change, Marks and Spencer

Marie-Clare Fenech – Founder, Unicornz

Ana Loback – MD & Partner, Turningpoint Leadership UK

Nora Lee Notzon – CEO, Ellebiz

Chaired by Janine Leccia

Ana Loback, with her expertise in psychology, discussed the neurological benefits of mentoring and how it can positively affect our wellbeing. She explained that “when you experience a positive human connection, you physically feel better, and that can affect both your mental health and even your immune system”.

Putting the emphasis on the importance of human connection, Ana went on to discuss how we should seek out these mentoring and networking opportunities as much as possible. “When you hear people say you need to stand out from the crowd, I think it’s more about connecting with the crowd”.

On the topic of confidence, particularly for women in a professional context, Nora advised:

“You’d rather be a fool for 5 minutes than a fool forever – always ask the stupid question and put yourself out there”.

Much like becoming an expert in anything, personal development takes work, and it’s something we need to take responsibility for. “The fun thing about life is that we’re all constantly learning” Nora commented, “but you must take responsibility for your own learning and development, because a mentor isn’t going to do it for you, you need to own it”.

CEO and Co-Founder of Guider Nick Ross also discussed the importance of mentoring from a  business point of view, in terms of the challenge of retaining talented young people. Informing the room that “43% of millennials leave their jobs within the first 2 years”, he stressed the need for organisations to take professional development of their employees far more seriously. “Millennials want mentoring, and companies need to give provide it or they’ll leave”.

Robert Davies, with his 25 years of experience within Marks and Spencers, a traditional and corporate organisation, shared some very interesting insight: “Big organisations have to encourage their people to be braver, otherwise it runs the risk of suppressing them”. Inviting the room to think: “What would you do if you were brave?”

The entire discussion was both insightful and inspiring, and we heard some positive testimonials from both mentors and mentees to close.

Top Takeaways: Mentoring at LVMH

During the reception in the Allbright’s dining and co-working space, the feedback and noticeable excitement from LVMH employees was overwhelmingly positive.

Here are some of our top takeaways from the brilliant women and men at LVMH:

⭐️ “It was great to hear Rob’s comment about bravery, I think so often fear is something that really holds you back and it affects women more than men.”

⭐️ “I’ve only ever done informal mentoring, completely dependent on people in HR deciding who gets to be mentored by who. I’m so excited about this programme being done by technology, with it being smarter I hope it’ll allow more people to be mentored by others who are totally different to them and who they might not meet in their normal career”.

⭐️ “I love the idea of mentoring crossing so many different industries and businesses. As such a large group with different brands there’s so much to learn – it will set us free”

⭐️ “I’m really interested by the idea of reverse mentoring that was discussed on the panel, and think it’s important to think of mentoring as a partnership and be open to learn from each other in the unconventional way, particularly with tech skills”.

Thanks once again to EllesVMH and the Allbright – and we wish everyone at LVMH the best with their new mentoring relationships!

The Guider team at the LVMH Mentoring launch