Mentoring driving better Employee and Customer Experience
We all know that our marketplace is highly competitive and our customers are expecting more than ever before. In such an environment, customer experience is definitely a matter of high priority for all organizations. And it is needless to point out that the foundation of this customer experience begins with a great employee experience. Happy, engaged and productive employees are becoming a source of competitive advantage and therefore, organisations are now focusing great amount of time, energy, and resources on creating a good employee experience and equipping them to provide great customer experience.
Training and other developmental programs helps to a great extent in this regard. And the addition of a well-structured Mentoring Program helps bring the personal focus to boost employee morale, increase employee engagement and inspiring them to provide a Unified Customer Experience®.
Inevitably it also creates an organizational culture that is conducive for learning, sharing and growing.
Here are six simple steps to designing a mentoring program that will result in more inspired, driven team members who deliver better CX:
1. Define the purpose. A sizeable number of mentoring programs fail because of lack of clear objectives and goals. As successful candidates, our newest HGS team members are brought through a four-stage onboarding process that emphasizes mentoring for support, encouragement, and respect. For example, the mentoring programs associated with our hugely popular development program for HGS India women employees called ‘AGRIMA’ (A-gree-ma (Sanskrit) - The leader, the captain, someone who is in the forefront) is to enable participants to scale up to the next level. Since the objectives are clearly defined, the engagement from both the mentors and mentees is high and benefits all.
2. Set clear expectations. Be sure to set and clarify expectations at the outset of a mentoring initiative. Mentees should know and understand the various aspects that they can focus on and discuss during the mentorship period. By the same token, mentors should motivate and encourage the mentees to engage in open discussion about development objectives. It is a common practice to hold a workshop before the commencement of the mentoring program to clarify expectations so that both mentors and mentees start with a clear understanding of the program.
3. Mentor-Mentee matchmaking: This is the most crucial aspect of a mentoring program. It is important that a lot of time and thought goes into selecting the right mentors. A general best practice is not to assign a participant’s immediate manager as the mentor. Consider involving both the parties in this process – the mentees can suggest a list of top three choices. And mentors can have a look at all the participant profile in detail before shortlisting their top three candidates. Many organizations are now taking advantage of technology to create a compatible match.
4. Clarify roles and responsibilities: Decide how the mentoring program will function and how parties will communicate. Should the mentoring meeting be organized by the mentor or the mentee? Who will select the mentors for each of the mentors? Who will gather feedback and discuss the same with the mentors and the mentees. All this and much more needs to be clarified at the beginning of the program. Discuss time limits and commitments, and ensure a foundation of trust based on tactful feedback, honesty, and confidentiality.
Many organisation with successful mentoring programs appoint a program manager/ coordinator who is responsible to drive the program and ensure that the momentum doesn’t drop over the course of time. This is especially required if the duration of the mentoring program is longer than a couple of months.
5. Strive for mutual benefits: Mentoring isn’t all about the mentees. Yes, mentees benefit most of the all but it is immensely satisfying for the mentors too. There is a huge sense of accomplishment when a mentor witnesses a transformation in the mentee. It is therefore important that both parties feel that they are gaining something through the program. Only then will it benefit the organisation with greater retention and productivity as well as higher engagement to drive a more optimized experience for customers.
With the demographics changing ever-so-fast and millennials becoming a substantial part of the workforce, mentoring is now also clubbed with the concept of reverse mentoring where senior employees gain new perspective from the younger generation.
6. Listen, learn, and implement: While conversations around goal-setting are the basis of a good mentoring relationship, it is important to implement the learnings to practice and demonstrate the growth. This isn’t just applicable for the mentors and mentees but also applies to the program coordinator. Constant feedback about the program is crucial and a formal tracking mechanism helps greatly.
A well-run and successful mentoring program can transform the participants and the organization as a whole.
Ultimately, a structured mentoring program enables value collaboration and sharing of information.