Mentorship Programs – The best way to a bright career

Susanna Kahr

Almost every field of work requires various levels of training. Rudimentary training is usually done by either the managers or supervisors within the company. This is obviously a very important part for new employees to learn the ropes of how everything works and which way is which. However, just a basic showing-around of the office and explanation of how the job tasks are not always enough for those who are driven to expand on their careers and learn from the best in their business. Many people choose the route of mentorship programs, and believe these to be the best way to get to know the way around a future career.

What are mentorship programs?

Mentorship programs work on a much closer and direct level between the mentor and mentee. In contrast to a supervisor showing the newbie the secret trap doors in the office and how to use the printer, mentors are usually much more experienced and in the positions that the mentees strive to one day be in, and work closely with them in their specific fields to help them reach the full level of their potential. This isn’t usually a two day process, this spans for a longer period of time, until the mentee grasps not only the day-to-day tasks of their job, but also the future prospects and challenges. The mentor gives feedback, valuable insights and shares their expertise with the mentee.

Why is this beneficial?

This way of training is not only incredibly beneficial for thee employee, who is able to properly learn their job and develop all the right skills, but also for the company, as this might create a closer relationship and understanding between colleagues, and incentivize a tighter team effort. Not only does the newbie learn all of the important inside knowledge about their job, but they are given perspectives into the details from the very best in that field, which of course creates a stronger relationship to the role, the mentor and the entire company. This evokes a better culture, a better understanding of the roles and challenges of colleagues, and a loyalty to the company.

How it’s done

We talked to Spin Systems and looked into what mentoring is like for them, getting some amazing insights on benefits of mentorship and how it can be implemented. Combine creativity, technology, a commitment to quality, and a passion for teaching others and you have Jennifer Nuessen. In her nearly 10 years with Spin Systems, Jennifer has been focused on Training and Quality Assurance. She oversees the training department, serving as the Training Lead, as well as developing and delivering employee and client training. For Jennifer, helping someone to understand a new application, learn a new technology, or grow their career is the most rewarding part of her job. We asked her about the company Spin System and their mentorship programs and here is what she had to say:

kununu: What inspired Spin Systems to create a mentorship program for all new hires?

 Jennifer: We recognized the need for more of a formalized way of onboarding the newest members of the Spinsys team. As our organization grows, we didn’t want our mentees to feel that they were getting lost in the shuffle. We also wanted them to feel as if they have a voice in the organization. The mentorship program not only helps with their professional development, but the mentor /mentee relationship allows them to feel more comfortable to share their voice freely, which gives them a higher sense of ownership and empowerment. In addition, our mentor program is designed for a variety of roles in the company, from development to project management.

How do you pair a mentor with a mentee?

 We take the time to speak with each team member and do our best to align where they are experience-wise with the newest of the team. While we try to prep all new hires for entire lifecycle, alignment of skill-set is always a top priority. Our senior members of the team are very proud to be considered to be a part of the program because it is an indicator of our faith in what their bringing to the table every day. The advantage for the mentor is the better prepared a mentee is for the position, the easier it will make it on them in the long-run. Being a smaller company, we want to provide our team with the advantages that they would typically only see in a larger organization.

What work are you doing to hire & mentor veterans?

We often make it a priority to focus on veteran talent because of the unmatched skill they bring to the table with their organizational management skills gathered when they were in the military. This can be a difficult skill to teach, but since this is already ingrained in their current approach it makes the onboarding process that much smoother. At that point, it is just a matter of training them on the technical skills required for the role. Since the motivation is there, we find they hit the ground running and are quickly able to on-board.

How do you measure the effectiveness of the program?

 At the end of each mentorship program, we require that mentees present their learnings to the leaders in the organization. Following the presentation, the attendees/leaders provide feed-back on what they liked and what may be in need of improvement. Also, we have the mentor and mentee fill out an evaluation on each other. This evaluation process lets us know how well everyone performed in their roles and identifies areas for improvements in both the mentors methodology and the mentor program material.

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Are mentorship programs something for everyone?

As can be seen with Spin Systems, mentorship programs are a great opportunity for both company and the mentee. Teaching skills acquired through years and years of experience and giving a personalized approach to onboarding can build the next generation of focused and talented workers with the right vision and drive in mind.



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