Another Update from the Jungle…
Several years ago Cindy suggested that her company should create a mentoring program to reduce employee churn. As the HR manager, she was spending most of her time interviewing applicants or completing termination paperwork. At first, selling the idea to the owners of the company wasn’t easy.
The owners thought a mentoring program was a waste of time. The company founder told her that employees should be happy to have a job and didn’t need “touchy-feely crap”. Cindy countered with diagrams showing years of trashed productivity and reduced profits caused by the revolving door of new hires. So the founder grudgingly consented to a mentoring program.
Cindy’s next hurdle was finding mentors. No one volunteered when she posted a notice on the bulletin board in the break room. Her blast email calling for volunteers was ignored, except for the idiot who hit “reply all” when he commented to a co-worker about snowballs and hell. The idiot doesn’t know it yet, but Cindy has decided he needs to volunteer for quality control visits to suppliers in McAllen, Texas in August and Buffalo, New York in January.
Cindy eventually found enough mentors to run a pilot program. Now six months later she is meeting with the mentees to ask for their feedback on how the program can be made better. What she learns is illuminating but a bit unexpected.
Brian says his mentor took him to dinner at an establishment with pole dancers and cheap booze. Brian admits he doesn’t know much about the company but he now carries lots of dollar bills just in case. Susan’s mentor complained incessantly about the company leading Susan to discreetly search for a new job.
Daniel, on the other hand, is enthusiastic about his mentor. She introduced him to key employees in each department, meets with him regularly to answer his questions, and urges him to volunteer for new duties in order to broaden his experience.
What should Cindy do next?
- She can recognize that the corporate culture’s defeatist attitude needs to be fixed first.
- She can ask Daniel’s mentor to create a list of her successful mentoring techniques so that others can copy it and hope a successful mentoring program will fix other problems.
- She can give up trying to make the workplace better and streamline the firing and termination processes.
In the actual situation, the senior management team never saw the value in a mentoring program and failed to support the initiative. The company continued to experience over 40% turnover in personnel and low productivity and employee morale.
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