A structured mentorship programme is crucial for any company, as it enables it to have happy and productive employees from the day one of their joining.
In the initial period of their career, mentors play a key role in helping new joiners/employees drop their guard/inhibitions/hesitations, and get answers to all their questions. This also helps in having engaged employees and in turn curb infant attrition.
“New employees get comfortable as their mentors support them to find their feet in the organisation. Mentors spend time with their mentees to make them aware of the system, organisation structure, processes, company policies etc. and help new employees make quality contributions. An engaged new joinee adds value and is less likely to leave the company in the first few months,” says Bhupendra Joshi, head of people function, organisation development and talent management, of Koo - the Indian multilingual, micro-blogging platform.
Koo regularly organises informal and formal boot-camps for interns where they work on internal live projects for 3-6 months and are mentored rigorously on a weekly basis.
“In addition to this, we have co-sponsoring technical certification projects for our employees to help them advance their skills. Our objective is to train the workforce in a manner that is not only beneficial to us in the longer term, but also to the individuals in their professional growth,” adds Joshi.
In an interaction with People Matters Joshi talks about the role of mentoring in new hire onboarding and benefits of having a customised mentoring programme for new employees.
How is a good onboarding mentorship programme built?
A good mentorship programme consists of mentors who are seasoned, understanding, possess a positive upfront attitude, and are well-versed in the company’s culture and values.
It is pivotal that the company knows what it wants from its mentors. If the mentors are mature enough to understand their role and the company’s value proposition, its various policies, processes, people values etc., then it becomes easy to articulate the expectations to the mentees and new joiners.
Additionally, mentors must be available when the mentees need them to solve issues, guide and provide them with suitable solutions/leads.
At Koo, the employees are given equal opportunity to interact with the leaders of any team (no hierarchy) and put their thoughts across and make the product better. Our mentorship programmes are based on this thought process.
Being communications enablers ourselves, we try to ensure a free flow of communication within the workforce.
What qualifications should a mentor have?
We believe that a mentor must have an experience of five years overall and one year with the organisation in order to have an understanding of the industry and the company’s value and vision.
In terms of personal values, a positive attitude, being easily approachable, patient, trustworthy and an active listener are some of the must-haves to be a good mentor.
How should success be measured here?
The mentorship programme must be evaluated on the basis of the predetermined goals being achieved.
Mentors and mentees must sign up for the programme before the commencement as they need to regularly communicate and exchange expectations towards common goals. These goals can be towards career development, onboarding employees that lead to faster productivity, and improving diversity - among others.
At the same time, it is also important to assess the success of the mentorship programme/mentee feedback, mentee’s work effectiveness, output in the first week of joining the organisation, and his/her engagement with the company’s various initiatives are some of the indicators which can help assess the success.
Mentee development sheets which consist of developmental areas, and actionable insights also help in keeping a track of what is achieved and what else we need to focus on both for mentees and mentors. This can be done by doing a frequent pulse check such as a simple google form to capture inputs from the mentors.
Lastly, it is also good to have a mentor rewards programme and a fixed timeline for the project.'
What is the role of using technology in mentorship programmes?
We believe in the K-I-S-S method of communication, which means keeping it simple, and simple-minded, only because it is easy to understand. Therefore, we are currently using MS Word and Excel, but as we grow in size, we will evaluate an online tool.