Mentoring: The best kept secret of onboarding

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Written by Laura Francis on 10 November 2020

The company I work for was recently acquired by a competitor. My teammates and I are now in the process of onboarding with this new company, learning about their organisational culture, figuring out our new roles, meeting new teammates, and getting a crash-course in how they approach mentoring compared to how we do.

I’m thrilled to say it is all going well and there is a natural fit between our two organisations and our philosophies about mentoring software. But it’s also a learning experience and a change.

I like to think I’m pretty easygoing and can adapt to change when necessary (a critical life skill as a mom to a child with significant disabilities), but let’s be honest…I’m not sure the majority of people really like change. We just find ways to cope with it.

One of the highlights of this new adventure I find myself on is that we are using mentoring as part of the onboarding process. MentorcliQ welcomed the River team with open arms and access to mentors – and I’m loving every minute of it.

Peer mentoring through silo busters

One of the first ways I began meeting some of my new colleagues was through a silo busters mentoring group. Because River is a wholly owned subsidiary of MentorcliQ, it still exists the way it did prior to the acquisition. That meant that while we were technically acquired, the River team had very little interaction with our new colleagues in the early days. 

By sharing my own insights, past mistakes, ideas, and best practices. It creates a wonderful community where we all come together with a shared purpose

The silo busters group consisted of four to five people, each of us from a different function. Each River teammate was in a different group, which allowed us to meet a larger number of people and even report back to one another on who we met, what role they play, how they can help us accomplish our daily work, etc.

The experience was a great way to introduce people to one another from across departments and across the two organisations so that we could begin creating a unified company.

The people in my silo buster helped me with learning more about the new organisational culture, pointed me in the right direction when I had questions, and became some of my very first friendly faces that I could chat with at the new company. It was a great way to break down silos and get to know people.

Peer mentoring with a buddy

As I begin integrating into the MentorcliQ team more fully and start taking on a new role and responsibilities, I’ve started another mentoring relationship. This one is with a peer who is my buddy in a functional onboarding programme. He is my go-to source for information as I begin to expand my role at the company and take on new assignments. This expert guide will be critical to my success.

I’m currently going through training at MentorcliQ to learn more details about their mentoring software. My mentor and I meet every couple of weeks to discuss this training and dig into any questions I have.


He also uses this as an opportunity to give me real-world insights on how to accomplish our work as we support our clients and their mentoring programmes. It’s been a valuable way to learn from an experienced team member who can give me support when I need it.

I’m also fortunate to have some informal buddies as well. There are several people on the team who have graciously offered their time and expertise to answer my questions and help me when I need a better understanding of the material I’m studying.

I’ve reached out to them to hear about their lessons learnt based on their own experiences, which can help me deepen my own understanding based on their accomplishments and growing pains.

Since I also have 20 years of experience in the mentoring field, I am able to give back to these new team members by sharing my own insights, past mistakes, ideas, and best practices. It creates a wonderful community where we all come together with a shared purpose.

Too often, we professionals in HR, talent development, and learning don’t get the opportunity to experience our recommendations from the other side of the equation – but it’s a great chance to get excited and reengaged with the daily work that drives us.

For my situation, all of these mentoring relationships create a powerful learning network for me when I need it most. And they remind me that I will never stop learning, sharing, and growing.

 

About the author

Laura Francis is chief knowledge officer for River, a mentoring software company based in Denver.

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