Maximize BC HRMA’s Professional Mentoring Program
By Tony Kirschner
BC HRMA is currently accepting mentor and protégé applications for the 2014 Professional Mentoring Program (PMP). Deadline for applications is Monday, September 30th, 2013 at 9:00am PST.
Davies Park is once again proud to sponsor this important program and offers tips on how all mentors and protégés can get the most out of the mentoring experience.
- Stretch Yourself – The PMP is more than a great way to network and look for new employment opportunities. Use this time productively – step outside of your comfort zone and area of functional HR expertise. We have seen the most successful personal development occur in protégés who are willing to really apply themselves and learn new facets of the HR profession.
- Defy Generational Stereotypes – If you’re tired of the Millennial stereotypes that get tossed around the workplace, use the PMP as a way to actively develop personality traits and ways of working that will impress your organization’s executives. Always show-up on time, fully prepared, ready to work hard and to learn things that might not seem to have immediate payback. Study your mentor’s methods of communication and try to incorporate useful elements into your own personal style.
- Mentor Your Mentor – Mentors don’t only join the program to share their wisdom and expertise; they also participate so they can learn from their protégés. Whether its social media, technology tips, or new trends in HR, make sure you formally set aside some time to keep the information flowing in both directions.
- Be Strategic – The most effective mentoring relationships occur when theory is put into practice. Try to engage your employer so that you can actively pursue projects with your mentor that directly impact your job and organization. Don’t be afraid to take a bit of a risk; most organizations are happy to see their employees take an active role in their personal development, especially if it helps the department or company.
- Continue the Relationship – BC HRMA structures the PMP so that it has a defined beginning and ending, but mentoring relationships can continue formally or informally as long as both parties receive mutual benefit. Remember that successful people often have several mentors over the course of their career, so branch out while continuing and evolving your existing mentoring relationships.
- Stretch Yourself – Just as with your protégé, successful mentoring happens when both parties step outside of their comfort zones. Commit to developing and sharing areas of HR practice that might require research or outside resources; use your experience and career wisdom to backdrop new areas of teaching. This approach keeps both your HR knowledge and the mentoring relationship fresh.
- Defy Generational Stereotypes – Use this time to actively investigate and adopt some of the younger generation’s ways of doing things. Expand your technology literacy and update your communication style; find concrete ways to incorporate these trends with your own staff or personal HR practice.
- Mix Meeting Styles – Face-to-face meetings are always preferable but sometimes hard to accomplish. Successful mentoring relationships often rely on a varied approach to meetings. Supplement in-person meetings with phone calls, Skype sessions, email exchanges, varied times and durations, and any other means to keep things lively and efficient.
- Be Structured and Accountable – Casual conversation over coffee is an important and fun part of any mentoring relationship, but the most productive arrangement for both parties occurs when the goals and deliverables are clearly stated and adhered to. Ensure both parties know what is expected of them over the short and long term, and build in checkpoints to monitor progress. Don’t be afraid to hold your protégé accountable for their work.
- Continue the Relationship – Long term mentoring relationships can be of great value to the mentor, not just the protégé. From staying on top of HR and technology trends, to creating a talent pipeline for your own organization, the benefits of long term relationships, formal or informal, cannot be overstated. Staying in touch takes some effort, but it is almost always worth the work.
Tony Kirschner, PhD, is a Senior Consultant at Davies Park Executive Search in Vancouver. Tony has held HR leadership positions in the healthcare and resource sectors, and has been involved in recruitment and HR consulting since 1988.