How to Get a Mentoring Programme Off to a Great Start

Two work colleagues chatting as part of a mentoring programme
Saint-Gobain is the world leader in the habitat and construction market.  Last year the Head of Career Management for Saint-Gobain in the UK, Ireland and South Africa contacted us.  She is responsible for how they attract, retain and develop their key “talents”.  And part of that is around developing a mentoring programme for the talents within the business.The organisation see mentoring as a key part of how they accelerate the career development of people with potential.  They also see it as a key support to their diversity agenda in helping accelerate the career progression of people from under-represented groups in the business.
There had been a lot of mentoring taking place in the various individual businesses within the UK.  What they wanted was to have a programme that allowed people to benefit from the whole depth and breadth of the organisation so they could access mentors from outside their own business.  They also wanted to help cultural change by enabling people to partner with colleagues that they might not normally have access to.  So both mentor and mentee would learn from each other about their experiences of working in the company.

Designing the Mentoring Strategy

We provided the team with a step by step guide on how to design and plan a mentoring programme so it met the strategic needs of the business.They designed a “Mentor for Success” programme that’s open to everybody.  It’s not an exclusive programme.  But they pay particular attention to women and other under-represented groups to help them become more diverse as an organisation.  Access to the Programme is by referral from the People Review process.

Launching the Mentoring Programme and Engaging Mentors

We provided customisable templates for various guides on mentoring so they could develop their own branded materials to launch the Programme and engage key stakeholders within the business.

“Antoinette has been a great support to myself and my colleagues, in how we organise and structure the programme.  She could bring her expertise and knowledge of doing this from a point of expertise in many businesses over several years and she’s clearly very, very knowledgeable in the subject area.” Andrea Huckett, Head of Career Management, Saint-Gobain UK, Ireland & South Africa

Training and Matching of Mentors and Mentees

So far we have facilitated 6 workshops for mentors and a couple of workshops for mentees.  We also provided customisable templates to develop their own branded mentor and mentee information forms as well as guidelines on preparing for the first mentor meeting and getting the most from the mentoring relationship.

 “Antoinette’s got a great style.  When you see her at work she’s an excellent facilitator.  We’ve had some very senior figures from managing directors of our businesses through to middle management working with Antoinette.  Her ability to adapt and engage with all that variety of audience in the same way and at the same time has been brilliant.  I don’t think everybody could do that as well as Antoinette.”  Andrea Huckett, Head of Career Management, Saint-Gobain UK, Ireland & South Africa

The Results

Mentoring is not a quick fix and this programme is still in its early days.  There are now over 30 trained mentors who can work with a great framework and powerful conversation tools to make sure the mentoring programme and the experience of mentees are consistent.

“Antoinette has helped us launch the programme professionally and ensure that our people, who are acting as mentors, can do the best job possible in how they engage with and support our people.  Just bringing the different people together in the room for the mentoring training itself opened new networks and brokered new relationships across the businesses.”   Andrea Huckett, Head of Career Management, Saint-Gobain UK, Ireland & South Africa

20 mentoring partnerships are established and have reported the first meetings have gone well.  More mentees are gradually coming through via referral and being matched with mentors.

Continuing support and evaluation of the programme is vital.  The next step is to carry out activities that preserve the enthusiasm for the programme and to track and monitor the impact it has both at an individual level and an organisational level.

But it’s off to a great start.

Click here to find out how we can help you get your mentoring programme off to a great start >>

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