Launching a Mentoring Program for Financial ProfessionalsMay 06, 2016
At Insala, we have seen a recent trend of financial service organizations needing a mentoring solution that allows mentoring relationships to be made in different locations and provide the mentee a framework to pursue career development within their organization. We turned to Stephen Grindrod to explain why mentoring is an essential tool for financial services and their valuable employees.
What is the value of having a mentoring program for financial services organization?
1) We’ve seen many financial service organizations use mentoring to attract talent, almost like a perk during recruiting. They’ll get a mentor when the start and have a better chance of growing their career.
2) To increase retention. Employees are more engaged when they have a mentor; if they are engaged, they are going to stay with the company for longer. You get to keep your top talent for longer.
3) Most financial service organizations are using mentoring as a tool for leadership development. These types of mentoring programs tend to be smaller and more targeted. High touch training for the mentor/mentee is normally provided, rather than online. The mentees tend to be highly engaged in this type of program, since they elect to take part.
4) One of the newer trends we have seen in mentoring is knowledge-sharing. With technology, a social mentoring network can be easily created. All employees can be part of the global knowledge sharing network. With this type of mentoring partnership, it tends to be less formal mentoring relationship and more specific information sharing.
Why is mentoring effective for financial professionals?
1) There are a lot of college graduate new hires that join this industry; this is a great way to turn what they’ve learned from college into a practical skill set.
2) Mentoring can offer a career path for financial professionals. We recommend the mentor have a higher career level than the mentee. The mentor is then able to share their experiences based on their previous career path and offer advice to the mentee. Both parties should agree on the development goals of the relationship before the mentoring starts.
3) The mentor is going to know more people within the organization and could potentially become a network source for the mentee. The mentor can be a great advocate of the mentee; he will talk about them with other employees, about their expertise and how they are making an impact within the organization.
4) Mentoring helps continue learning for the mentee which is essential for members of the finance industry due to their constantly evolving field.
What is your experience with financial professionals using technology to connect with mentors and mentees?
The uptake is usually higher with financial professionals than would be in an industry like manufacturing where there is limited access to the internet. Most financial professionals work with internet access daily and are using software all day, therefore the uptake of using mentoring software is very high and would naturally make sense. Financial professionals are used to working in a global environment so connecting with a mentor in another location in the world isn’t out of their comfort zone.
How would you match mentor and mentee who work in finance?
"Based on my 6 years of working with organizations individuals, specifically in finance, they should narrow their main criteria to skills and competencies, for those are most needed. The organization needs to list the skills and competencies that are going to fill the business objective of the program. If the program is heavily focus on career development for financial professionals, then matching mentee and mentor by career level is a must; mentees should be matched with a mentor at a higher career level. I also recommend a list of common departments/functions within the organization. Finally, if it’s a global program, you need to include specific regions around the globe.
What Tips Would You Offer for Launching a Mentoring Program for Financial Professionals?
It normally is more or less the same as any other mentoring program that includes the following:
1) Clarify your business objective and measurements. Agree on your qualification criteria for participants to be part of the program.
2) Provide an easy way for mentors and mentees to enroll and be able to match with each other, using an online mentoring software network that allows the focus on mentoring.
3) Include training materials and provide workshops to engage the mentor and mentee on their new role and include specific expectations needed in the relationship. For example, should they create a learning plan and when should it be completed? This should be part of your defined mentoring process.
4) We recommend guiding the mentor and mentee by reminding them of specific tasks they need to complete within the relationship. For example: reminding them of goal due dates, what should they be currently doing in the relationship. Finally, sending out surveys to at specific timeframes is important to ensure each relationship is being successful. We recommend one survey half way through the relationship and a final one at the very end.
Mentoring can be a useful tool for a multitude of reasons for many organizations. Financial professionals can use it to benefit their organization to help with retention rates, and hiring from within. For more information on the benefits of mentoring for financial professionals, check out our latest Webinar on Insala.com