The speed with which companies must adapt and evolve in today’s market is rapidly increasing.
In the world of tech scale-ups this is further accelerated, creating a skills gap in current employees, who must take on new responsibilities as the business grows. In conjunction with additional training, a mentorship programme can offer support and guidance as employees endeavour to adapt during the accelerated growth phase of a business.
The benefits of mentorship schemes
As companies scale, the demands and challenges placed upon their employees become more complex and the skill set that was once suitable to their role, needs to expand in parallel.
Mentorship can offer a safe space for mentees to seek advice and discuss difficulties in a trusting, confidential environment. Being paired with a mentor who has accumulated more senior business experience, allows mentees to learn and develop their skills from a high-performing professional, who may not otherwise have been accessible.
Within a structured framework, a mentorship programme encourages personal and business development, tailored to each mentee, as they navigate challenges, promotions and changes within their team. It also allows mentees to broaden their network, by connecting with those working in similar environments, who can empathise with their issues. \
When mentorship is successful
"I’d definitely do it again”
In 2021, Pok Hay from the UK tech scale-up, Elvie, participated in Career Moves’ mentorship programme, which matched HR staff in fast-growing tech companies with more experienced mentors from other businesses in the same sector.
By meeting regularly with her experienced mentor, Pok Hay gained the confidence necessary to tackle the fast-paced, ever-changing, scale-up environment. Often caught up in her daily responsibilities, Pok Hay appreciated the opportunity that the mentorship programme offered, to concentrate on her personal growth. “It was an hour a month where I could allow myself to switch everything off and just focus on this conversation,” she said.
Vilo Consulting facilitated the first session, which set the coaching framework, a critical step which enabled the pair to set objectives and track progress along the way. With that said, they took a flexible approach to their monthly discussion points, as the scale-up was evolving rapidly and Pok Hay's role and responsibilities were changing quickly.
When reflecting upon her experience, Pok Hay noted the immense value in participating periodically in a mentorship programme throughout the course and evolution of one’s career.
“It was nice to have someone who had gone through similar experiences and could help it to steer me in the right direction, and give me a different perspective”
Mentors can offer reassurance, guidance and direction during the rapid growth phase of a business, where employees’ skills need to take quick leaps in order to support the expansion. By fostering a trusting relationship, a mentorship programme can offer the necessary support and skill development for a mentee to evolve and thrive in a growing business.
As Pok Hay put it, “As we continue to develop and move forward in our careers our needs change, so I think having a mentor periodically throughout one's career can be incredibly helpful”
Structuring a mentorship scheme for optimal efficiency and results
So how should you structure a successful mentorship programme?
Maintaining a consistent relationship between mentor and mentee should not feel like a burden. If organised correctly from the beginning, it can be simple, efficient, and extremely rewarding.
By setting clear boundaries and expectations in an initial meeting, both parties can come to a mutual understanding around their objectives and responsibilities. This includes allocating the time you plan to spend together during the year and documenting a clear roadmap, which can be referred to as the year progresses.
When both parties enter into the programme with a committed attitude, a clear vision and trusting, honest communication, their mentoring relationship will empower the mentee with the confidence and skills to elevate their career to the next level.