Deloitte recently released its Global Human Capital Trends for 2015 and with it are some interesting observations. The top three challenges facing organizations in 2015 are: 1) culture and engagement, 2) leadership and 3) learning and development. Of the companies that were surveyed as part of this study only 6% of them are ready to address leadership issues, 10% are comfortable with their succession plans and only 7% have strong programs to build millennial leaders. The study also found that “the capability gap for building great leaders has widened in every region of the world.” (http://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/human-capital/articles/introduction-human-capital-trends.html)
I want to take a few moments to touch on each of these areas and to show how effective mentoring can be part of the solution to address these challenges. I have for a while now talked about the importance of having the right culture in place in order to attract and retain quality employees. I have talked about how the right culture can help in minimizing the disengagement in your organization’s work place. The Deloitte study identified that “Every program in HR must address issues of culture and engagement: how we lead, how we manage, how we develop, and how we inspire people. Without strong engagement and a positive, meaningful work environment, people will disengage and look elsewhere for work.” (http://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/human-capital/articles/introduction-human-capital-trends.html)
Implementation of a mentoring program or better yet a mentoring culture can assist in creating a vibrant work place that is focused on learning and development. It will assist in diminishing the disengagement in the work place and more importantly will create an environment of engagement, empowerment and accountability. Your existing culture needs to be mentor ready for this to take place and be successful.
Whatever we have been doing or not doing is not working as the capability gap for building great leaders has widened. We need a concentrated effort at addressing this challenge as we do need to prepare for the future and we need to prepare our future leaders. Setting people up to fail can only end up in potential leaders becoming disengaged and complacent. What we need to have in place as a supporting element to leadership development programs is a mentoring program/culture. What I have seen is that we spend a lot of money on formal training of future leaders and then fail to provide any support after the training. Imagine the growth that we would see with a weekly meeting with a mentor and a potential leader where they discuss what went well, what didn’t go well and what we are going to do differently. I do recommend the weekly discussions so that we don’t get into the habit of internalizing the things that didn’t go well and it provides structure. I am mentoring a number of leaders now and that is the approach that we have taken and it has been working well.
The creation of a learning and development environment is such a huge attraction to potential employees. You can market this and build it into your recruiting and retention program. It works well in the fight against disengagement in the work place. It creates a culture that is focused on growth and one of positive energy. A cornerstone of a learning and development environment is the implementation a mentor program/culture. It is a combination of informal and formal mentoring. It can also include an element of coaching. An organization that leverages the power of coaching and mentoring will be miles ahead in addressing challenges that we have talked about in this article.
I prefer to look at the report from Deloitte as one that is opportunity rich! If we develop a plan, implement it and nurture it the opportunities will turn into success stories enabled through the “power of mentoring.”