The rationale of mentoring is to support and encourage employees to manage their own learning, so that they can maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance, and become the company asset they want to be.
Standard Chartered Bank's Candy Leung, head of learning and talent development for Hong Kong and Japan, outlines the mentoring programmes of her employer. "The bank operates a number of mentoring programmes, including `Development and Networking Alliance' (DNA), one-on-one mentoring and reverse-mentoring for junior staff to share knowledge with senior staff," she says.
Standard Chartered's programmes are highly advanced and finely tuned, as Leung explains. "One of the key programmes is our group mentoring programme, DNA, which was introduced in 2009.
It is a nine-month group mentoring programme for the bank's talents.
As its name suggests, it offers a platform for our talent to learn from, and network with, both the DNA leader and fellow members," Leung elaborates.
The programme begins with a session to announce the official launch of the timetable of learning. Each DNA leader - the mentor - will take on a team of four or five mentees.
Meetings driven by each DNA team are a core component. Mentees are free to propose learning objectives, topics, alternative formats and approaches to their mentors. The only requirement is that each team has to organise at least five meetings in the nine-month period. Leung says the most popular topics tend to be career development, change management, and work-life balance.
The final element of the programme is the closing ceremony which acknowledges the achievements of its participants.
"We all live and work in rapidly changing times. To continuously improve the programme, [Standard Chartered] adds some new elements to our DNA each year," Leung adds.
"The programme utilises small group mentoring to allow members to learn not only from leaders, but also from other team members, both within their own teams and across other teams."
The benefits of mentoring are wide-ranging.