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Not only can a mentoring program boost your bench strength for top jobs, research proves that people who learn more on the job are far less likely to quit, says Terri Scandura, a University of Miami management professor."It makes the job more interesting to be learning from a senior person," she says.People who have been on the protege side before often make good mentors, says Dawn Plimmer, the associate vice president of learning and performance at Nationwide Insurance.How to match up promising junior talent with mentors?At Nationwide, human resource executives found themselves over-thinking the matches according to technical discipline and personality.Now, they’ve made it much more random, and it works better.Businesses should ensure that top management is involved in the program and in its inception, otherwise it won’t get the attention and enthusiasm it needs to become part of the business culture.“You should have their understanding and their support.
For some people, the separation fosters trust more easily than a relationship between people who see each other every day.Stress what it means to the company, such as a more resilient workforce, more creativity, and more knowledge sharing.IBM emphasizes a “give back, reach back, and pull through” culture, where mentoring is an expectation of all employees and vital for collaboration, innovation, and maintaining institutional knowledge. Hold seminars on mentoring and host networking events that encourage people to find their own mentors.“When you have fuzzy program goals, you have fuzzy outcomes,” says Dr. Zachary, author of “Creating a Mentoring Culture.” Some businesses start a program to help newcomers adjust; others use it as a recruitment tool or a method of leadership grooming.IBM started its program to build knowledge, foster learning, and connect people in a company with 386,000 employees.
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Will it be new recruits, managers, or promising young leaders? If you hope to use the program to aid recruitment, seek out those who like teaching younger people.