When people think of mentoring, the first thing that comes to mind is a long-in-the-tooth executive trying to compress their years of experience into monthly sessions with an aspirational junior staff member.
Whilst mentoring like this still has a lot of value the relationships and dynamics of modern mentoring have changed dramatically. Today, people may seek out mentors to unlock a finite skill or look to people only one or two steps ahead in their career to provide direction and inspire their next steps.
An effective mentoring relationship allows you to share difficulties, celebrate success, and build important partnerships that will allow you to understand the pathway toward your goals, whilst gathering trustworthy advice on how to get there.
With these countless benefits, it is a simple decision for businesses to back mentoring as much as they can, and at Hamlyn Williams, it is key to our strategy, not just during mentoring month, but year-round.
How Hamlyn Williams has Developed a Mentoring Culture
To support employees on a mentoring journey, it has to be embedded into the fabric of a company and supported at all levels. At Hamlyn Williams, we treat mentoring as an active, evolving process that we are constantly looking to improve.
- Training mentors
- To get the most out of the relationship, mentors need to be comfortable and informed of how to optimize the sessions. To ensure this, we provide training to everybody who wants to begin a mentorship journey.
- Embedding the process
- Our Learning and Development team are on hand to help guide the mentorship journey when needed, providing their knowledge and guiding internal initiatives designed to keep everyone engaged.
- Matching mentors with suitable mentees
- When a colleague completes their 12-week training, they are given the opportunity to request a mentor. Our L&D team then match them with someone in the business who will be able to inspire their growth.
- Hosting roundtables to discuss success and potential improvements
- We have built processes to ensure feedback is shared, collated, and actioned upon, enabling us to continually improve the entire process.
- Real career progression
- Once someone is promoted to a senior consultant, they are offered the opportunity to attend the mentor training session and be assigned a mentee. This offers them the ability to develop a new skillset outside of the technical skills of recruitment.
How to get a mentor
If your employer doesn’t offer an internal mentorship scheme like Hamlyn Williams, there are still plenty of ways for you to make it happen for yourself.
Most mentoring relationships begin with simply asking somebody within your network, often someone else within your organization.
Simply saying “will you become my mentor” is a pretty overwhelming question, so perhaps tell the person what particular subject or problem you would like mentoring on and invite them out for a coffee to discuss this. During this meeting, you will gain an insight into the chemistry between you, and if all goes well it could grow into a more structured mentor relationship.
If you don’t know anybody through your own network, the internet is full of resources for finding a mentor.
The Small Business Association runs SCORE.org, which includes a long list of active mentors that are easily searchable. LinkedIn can also be incredibly powerful, search around your first- or second-degree connections and look for a shared contact who may be able to introduce you to a valuable mentor.
Benefits to mentors
People often think that the value in the mentor-mentee relationship is one-sided, but our experience at Hamlyn Williams proves that this is not the case.
Morgan Glassford, Hamlyn Williams’ Head of Talent Acquisition spoke about how her organizational understanding has dramatically improved:
"Being a mentor is helpful for your mentees but it can also be helpful and insightful for the mentors themselves. As a mentor, I am able to speak with individuals in different departments than mine and learn more about the difficulties that come with different roles in the business. This has expanded my point of view to consider other people's challenges that I haven't thought of before and has improved my management style accordingly."
As a mentor, you can grow just as much as the person you are mentoring. By casting your mind back in your career, you are given the opportunity to reflect on your journey and learn new insights into both your personality and your processes.
Antoinette Miller discusses her personal growth:
“The best part of mentoring is building a genuine relationship with mentees and hearing how comfortable they feel coming to you about any sort of situation and trusting you to support them.”
Mentoring, when done correctly is an important driver of professional development and has been proven to be a valuable tool for businesses to support employee growth and career progression for both mentors and mentees.
If you would like to know more about working at Hamlyn Williams, please visit our careers page.