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4 Tips on Becoming a More Self-Aware Manager

How to become a more self aware manager

No matter how good we might think we are in our jobs, how much we outperform our peers and colleagues, deliver income and get great feedback, none of us are perfect. For those people moving towards leadership and management roles a track record of success can often help to mask shortcomings.

The Leadership Transition

Many great performers on the front line often struggle in managerial roles because they aren’t aware of their skills gaps. Those who are at a more youthful stage of their career often make mistakes or do something wrong but a lack of self-awareness means they justify their actions despite obvious negative outcomes.

It’s our nature to act first then consider and learn from consequences afterwards. Often impulsive reactions to challenges and workplace issues create further problems, upsetting colleagues or getting us into trouble. We’ve all known ‘untouchable’ star performers who seem to be able to get away with saying what they want regardless of the consequences.

However, when your role changes and you are starting to take responsibility for the performance of others, an abrasive and inconsiderate approach won’t do.

Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the ability to understand not only where your strengths lie but also your weaknesses. Successful managers are self-aware and understand quite clearly their limitations. If they are unable to perform in certain tasks self-awareness means they can identify others who can. As Anthony K Tjan remarks in the Harvard Business Review, “You can’t be a good leader without self-awareness.”

Self-awareness helps to improve performance by supporting your ability to make better decisions and act in a considered fashion when under pressure. Becoming more self-aware, and aware of your actions however takes time and dedication. There is no overnight quick fix but there are things you can start doing to improve self-awareness. Here are our tips

1.Self-Reflection

Taking time regularly to stop and reflect on events can help you to become more self-aware. Whether you practice meditation or just take time to quietly reflect, by asking your yourself why you took certain actions and not others will help you to be more considered next time similar challenges arise.

2. Get Feedback

Seeking feedback from a trusted source can be an easy way of getting the views of someone else. By taking on board how others view your actions it can help to see how what you do impacts others.

3. Practice Writing

The art of writing and keeping diary notes is perfect for helping to reflect on daily challenges. The act of committing your thoughts to paper will enable you to reflect during the process and reading afterwards will also give you time to consider your actions.

4. Tests

There are a wide range of personality tests available that are designed for people to help improve awareness about themselves, their abilities and their blind spots. Such tests provide detailed feedback which can prove invaluable on a leadership journey.

Self-reflection is a key attribute for anyone who wishes to excel in a leadership arena. For more details on how Psyence can help improve self-awareness please contact us today.

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Graduate Skills of The Future

Grad skills for future

A recent article talked about how in future the role of the sales person will change, to a point where the function of the role will be to tell the customer the price and accept the signature. The world we live in is changing dramatically. Technology, globalisation and mind set changes are three of the main drivers behind the evolution of the commercial environment. An awareness of this change is important for leaders of organisations and when considering how success may be derived in the longer term its vital to know what are the skills that will be needed to drive organisations forward.

A number of reports in the past have highlighted just some of the key skills needed in the future workforce. Indeed, like with the sales person example above research from the World Economic Forum suggests that in the region of 35% of skills that are common today will not be required for the workforce of 2020.

If you look closely at some of the popular industries around us nowadays the picture starts to become clear. The travel agency sector, in decline for a number of years, for how much longer can travel agents remain in play whilst bookings move online? The print media sector is in steep decline, potentially impacting on thousands of roles. In financial services automated software is making decisions which no longer require human intervention.

All that said there are other sectors where staff demand is clearly high, in areas such as electrical engineering, software development, nursing and care. Roles may be changing alongside the face of many industries but what is clearly evident is that in future there’ll be plenty of new opportunities for skilled candidates to go for. What skills may be popular in future?

In short the types of skill that may be popular will perhaps be those that relate to tasks that cannot be done by a machine or a computer. Generally speaking, these are skills that are distinctly human in nature.

Creativity
Although nothing is impossible the brains ability to conjure up creative ideas and concepts for new products and services is unique. Those who have the ability to harness their creativity effectively will find that opportunities may well be more available.

Problem Solving Skills
In a more entrepreneurial working environment with polarized job roles (where many require a low skill base and others a high skill set) there will be plenty of room for people who can use their initiative to make things happen, rather than accept the status quo.

Global Mind-sets
As the world becomes a smaller place and the barriers to entering new markets less of a challenge those people who are capable of communicating internationally will stand out. Rather than just have an ability to speak the language cultural awareness and understanding will elevate candidates out from the crowd.

Digital Communications
In the workplace of the future your ability to communicate via digital media may not just be something you do for fun. With messaging apps, file sharing and gamification of systems more and more common, in a few years-time they may just be must have skills.

For some, considering the changes is daunting but for others its exciting. What’s for sure is that change in some form is certain. Your ability to identify what those important future skills might just set you apart.

The team at Psyence has helped to develop graduates in some of the UK’s largest organisations. For help on how we can support your teams feel free to get in touch to find out more.

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The Resilient Leader

THE RESILIENT LEADER

Resilience is one of the keywords of 2016 with so many experts in the field of Occupational Psychology talking about the importance of the theme. A company’s ability to be able to adapt itself to the influences of internal and external pressures are more vital than ever before. Of course the role of the leader in any organisation plays an important part in setting the tone of organisational mind-sets and one’s ability to be resilient in times of change is vital for the future direction of the business.

Professional Insights

At Psyence we’ve recently seen some first-hand demonstrations of the importance of adapting to the world around you in business. At our recent ‘Discovering Resilience’ event Hazel Wheldon of Multi-Health Systems spoke extensively of the changing workplace and the impact of technology. As the next generation of the workforce becomes more prolific communication is just one example of change. Will messenger tools soon replace email as we know it? Are the motivations of new graduates, with a work to live ethos, changing the office dynamic.? On both counts the answer is most certainly yes. As leaders of organisations is resistance to such changes futile?

Types of Challenge

Changes in technology, economic pressures such as the risks associated to Brexit, the changing demands of customers and many other factors are just some of the things that apply challenges to the business. The resilient leader has the ability to bounce back when challenges like these impact the organisation.

What is a resilient leader?

Resilient leaders see the big picture. They are aware of what is on the horizon and create strategies that will meet the challenges head on. That said, plans that are laid down may often be flexible to adapt to the uncertainty of the current climate. Their ability to change direction when required is vital in a modern commercial environment.
Communication is also a common factor for the resilient leader. Understanding that social relationships and the support of a board of directors is vital in a changing environment is key. Furthermore, the ability to keep the workforce informed effectively will help the resilient leader to achieve corporate goals.

4 tips for improving resilience

Be Proactive – For many the threat of change can lead to paralysis. When change is on the horizon, attacking the issues head on as opposed to ignoring them and hoping they will fade away is vital. Understand that change requires action.
Build a Strong Support Network – They say that a problem shared is a problem halved. By building a team of trusted advisors and having a network around you of individuals you can listen to in times of need, it will help to become more resilient in times of challenge.
Keep Healthy – The benefits of good physical health mustn’t be underestimated in times of tough mental rigour. Physical activity, balanced diet and adequate amounts of sleep are important to making sure that your decision making capabilities remain at their optimum levels.
Maintain a Positive Outlook – Resilient leaders understand that turning negative problems into challenges and keeping a positive outlook is vital. Remember that problems will come and go, and tomorrow the challenges will be different.

Resilience is a key attribute for modern leadership. If you want to discuss how Psyence can help your leaders be more resilient .

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The Pros and Cons of Remote Working

Silhouette Global Business People Meeting Concept

As technology becomes faster and more reliable, remote working is on the increase. The changing demands of employees as well as the digital nomad phenomenon have created an idealised picture of people being able to work from anywhere and cut the immediate costs of office working in half, but how does telecommuting work in reality as opposed to a day in the office?

Benefits

Of course, one of the major advantages is that people who may have previously been precluded from the world of full time employment due to low energy, mild disabilities or unpredictable health patterns are able to, to a certain extent, set their own hours according to their body clock and optimum vitality. Equally, employees with family commitments or caring responsibilities are likely to find working from home advantageous too, as it means they can continue to earn and keep up with their work if their child is off sick from school, and spend more quality time with family as a result of avoiding being stuck in rush hour traffic for long periods of time. For single parents or carers in particular, remote working opportunities can also help reduce the risk of poverty.

In this respect, remote working can theoretically do much to reduce the stress of commuting and working to unnatural biorhythms, both of which are a high contributory factor to burnout, depression and physical health problems.

Challenges

On the other hand, for some people, the lack of a clear boundary between home and work can present a new type of stress where it becomes increasingly difficult to switch off.  If the employee already has a stressful home life, remote working makes it much easier to put work off in favour of whoever is demanding their attention. As well as affecting performance in an immediate sense, putting things off until later that would be done straightaway in the office can cause anxiety and feelings of failure when small tasks snowball into a large backlog of work that has to be done in what would normally be the employee’s free time.

For this reason, it is extra important to ensure remote workers are not too isolated outside the routine and structure of the office. Checking in every so often by phone, email or Skype is not only useful for gauging the employee’s progress but also helping them to feel supported and motivated if they are not used to the potential loneliness of working away from the social atmosphere of a team.

One of the biggest problems for employers is that unless there are very clear targets, it is impossible to monitor someone’s progress in quite the same way as in an office, where both manager and employee are able to immediately ask questions and iron out problems. While some businesses reportedly use webcams to check that remote employees are working the hours they say they are, this level of surveillance might feel understandably uncomfortable for a lot of people, especially when more conventional methods such as goal setting and check in times can be used instead.

Making Remote Working Easier

One way of making it easier for newly remote workers to stay focused is by offering preliminary training on how to stick to the same rules as you would in an office – for example, switching your mobile phone off or putting it on silent, making sure Facebook and personal email alerts are disabled and ensuring friends and family members respect that time working at home means only distracting them in the case of an emergency, just as they would if they were in the office.

Ultimately, it would seem that while remote working has huge advantages on both sides, it is perhaps even more important for employers to ensure a high level of engagement and motivation in the worker to make sure distractions don’t take centre stage and achievements are recognised and acknowledged. Offering a high level of support and keeping communication levels high are two ways of doing this.

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It’s Time to Think

Young attractive woman thinking and holding a cup of coffee

Thinking is such a fundamental part of being a human being that it seems incredible to think that many of us simply do not make the time to do it. We often move from one task or life change to another with very little time to reflect on our losses, successes and the lessons learned in the process. Smartphones and their constant stream of social media updates can definitely contribute to a world where we are increasingly outwardly focused. Studies have shown that as a consequence, we are now more likely to compare ourselves to others or look towards other people for affirmation, leaving us at a disadvantage in terms of self-reflection, independent thought and the ability to identify and follow our instincts.

Equally, the 24/7 culture of our working lives can mean that we never really switch off for long enough to take time out to think about what we want, where we’re going and whether we are fulfilling our true ambitions and purpose. In fact, failing to take the time out to think every so often can be a large contributing factor in continuing on in jobs, relationships and life situations that are not really in line with what we know at some level we really want.

So how can we try and factor more thinking time into our day? Here are a few of our top tips for becoming better thinkers.

1)      Learn to switch off from social media

It sounds obvious, yet having a very clear cut off point, especially in the evening, from social media,  can be one of the most effective ways of re-learning the skill of self reflection. Having a time to switch off all internet devices and sticking to it each evening could also result in less stress and better sleep.

2)      Learn to be more assertive

It is much easier to be swept away by the demands of others when we are not adequately assertive about how we spend our time. Learning to say no means more time to think about our own path in life and how we can make our dreams a reality, without the drama or distraction of the demands of others.

3)      Plan your day better

If your day is planned only vaguely, it is a lot more likely that other people will be able to burst in and take priority over other tasks and needs. Timetabling your schedule better means being able to state a lot more clearly to others what you intend to do and when you expect to do it by, creating better focus and  more time to reflect and switch off in between jobs.

4)      Delegate

Is it possible that there are other people that could do some of your jobs better, and that you could in fact be more productive if you were able to focus more on whatever you are best at or what is the most important? The art of delegation can be integral to being able to work smarter and generate new ideas in the process.

5)      Reflect on your goals and whether you are fulfilling them

Perhaps one of the best ways to factor in some good quality thinking time is to make a note of your goals and continually check in with yourself to see if your current activities are taking you closer or further away from them.  When we start genuinely committing to our goals and reviewing our progress, it becomes easier to understand where we could be using our time and energy better.

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The Psychological Contract

Smiling successful businesswoman giving a thumbs up gesture of success and approval as she sits at her desk in the office

The psychological contract is one of the most important aspects of any job, yet it is a term that is rarely discussed or widely understood.  Unfortunately, not having a clear idea of the psychological contract in a working agreement is usually to the detriment of any organisation, and high staff turnover, low engagement and unclear expectations are some of the potential consequences of failing to consider this essential part of the employment relationship. So, what is it, and how does it impact on the relationship between an organisation and its staff?

Originally explored as a concept in the early 60s, simply put, the psychological contract is the understanding between employer and employee about their roles, obligations and commitments to each other. It differs from the written employment contract inasmuch as it is more definite and interactive on a human, day to day level, rather than focusing on speculative outcomes. Although the psychological contract is not technically legally binding, the basic expectations of the employer employee relationship can be brought into any dispute where that relationship has not been honoured in the ways that would usually be anticipated without question.

From the point of view of the employee, the contents of the psychological contract pertain to the employee’s human rights within the organisation, from being treated with fairness and impartiality during the recruitment process to being treated with compassion at times when leave is required for illness or bereavement.

From the employer’s point of view, the contract describes, among other things, the expectation that the employee will treat the business with respect, not bring the business into disrepute and will let the employer know of anything going on that could harm the business in any way.

There is of course, some distinction to be made with a psychological contract about what clauses constitute promises and which are expectations.

Managing expectations is therefore an essential part of maintaining a psychological contract that works. For example, it is important to ensure that expectations of the possibilities of promotions, pay rises and contract renewal are completely transparent. Where expectations in these areas are unclear or unmet, employee engagement is likely to plummet, especially if employees feel that hard work is not being recognised or that goal posts have changed.

With this in mind, it is fair to say that the psychological contract between employer and employee is one of reliability, consistency, decency and civilisation. Consensual, fair working patterns, transparency in communications and honouring commitments are the cornerstone of any psychological contract. For an employee, similarly, the basic expectations are those you would expect to find as the ethos of any grounded, mature adult with empathy and understanding – such as honesty, loyalty, communication and considering the interests of others.

Do you have a psychological contract, and if so, could you write it down or is it too vague? If you do not have one, perhaps now is a good time to start considering your organisation’s take on both sides. Once you have very clear boundaries and commitments in place on both sides, it is easier to spot which candidates will fit into the roles on offer, and which will be difficult or impossible to train to be a part of the company culture. Developing a psychological contract now will help ensure the right people can be attracted and retained in the long term.

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Are Your Top Performers Engaged?

Young business people shaking hands

Top performers are in demand, and often they know it. But when performance is consistently high, how can you identify problems? While disengagement, boredom and overwhelm can be easy to spot and work through with more average performers, when it comes to your top talent, it can come as a complete surprise to discover that they are either searching for a new position elsewhere or handing in their notice.

In the case of a high potential employee, meeting or even exceeding the organisation’s targets and expectations does not necessarily mean they are motivated and engaged. In fact, they may be doing the minimum they need to do to get a stellar reference while they look for a better, more rewarding opportunity elsewhere.

Part of the problem for busy employers and managers is that they often fail to check in with their star performers when it matters. A 12 month employment review, for example, is a complacent approach to a high level performer when looking at whether their personal aspirations are in alignment with what the company can offer them.

US studies have shown that this is one of the key ways in which companies fail their rising stars. Generally speaking, top performers are ambitious and have high self esteem, and are therefore much more likely to have a personal career strategy to get them to where they see themselves in 5, 10 or even more years’ time. Even so, a study conducted by Harvard Business School in 2010 showed that 70% of top performers lack some of the essential attitudes, emotional intelligence and other traits to clearly indicate the likelihood of stamina and future success in their current and future roles, meaning that the traits and abilities managers invest in them may at times be wishful thinking, especially when it is assumed that high potential employees will want, and be suitable for, management roles in the future.

While top performers have higher expectations of themselves and their performance than most people, they also tend to have higher expectations of the companies they work for, and want to know that they can change direction, expand upon their role, take on new challenges and be given projects they can take the credit for as part of their longer term plan.

It would be easy to make the assumption that it is therefore the responsibility of the company to keep their top talent consistently engaged and continually provide them with things to do that will broaden their horizons and keep them interested.

In reality however, it is more accurate to look at the relationship as one of equal responsibility. While most employees are used to the traditional dynamic in which their managers give them tasks to do and let them know what their expectations are of the results, top performers tend to have an understanding of the extra value they bring to an organisation in terms of time, money and energy, borne out by experience and in many cases, figures. For this reason they often prefer to be self directed where possible, to showcase their abilities and build their skills and knowledge for a bright future.

The relationship between business leaders and their employees has changed rapidly, especially since the recession. More and more, managers and bosses are taking on the role of coaches, and a great leader will generally spot the signs when an employee has a special talent that could be developed further.

The 2010 Harvard Business School study on engaging top performers goes on to state:

‘Our research shows that [top performers] confidence in their managers—and in their firms’ strategic capabilities—is one of the strongest factors in top employees’ engagement. An organisation that goes “radio silent” with respect to its strategy—or, even worse, explicitly or implicitly signals a strategy freeze in the midst of economic uncertainty—runs the risk of disengaging its rising stars just when they are needed most.’

Essentially, one of the keys to keeping your top performers engaged seems to be above all, honesty. Leaders need to have a very clear sense of their organisation’s values, goals and identity in order to know how to motivate staff to work in alignment with them.

Meanwhile, top performers also need to be honest with the companies they work for about their long term strategy and goals both in the role they currently occupy and in the roles they see themselves in the future. When both the company and the employee are in accord about their shared values and vision, motivation to outperform their competitors and create a strong sense of team work becomes much easier.

 

If you want to discuss how to engage your top performers then contact us today.

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Managing Toxic Relationships at Work

Toxic relationship

Most people will, unfortunately, have found themselves working in an environment with a toxic boss at some stage of their career. Just like any other toxic relationship, the effects can be slow and insidious, and if the person on the receiving end of the ill treatment has low self-esteem already, they may end up staying in a role that is causing them daily stress, illness and anxiety for years.

These relationships can in fact, be so damaging that they can cause serious physical health problems for the victim as well as deep depression, anxiety and hopelessness. It is no secret, in recent years, that as well as the usual negative aspects of A-type personalities in business and leadership, there is also a fairly high likelihood you will come across one of the Cluster B Personality Disorders in a management or leadership role – with narcissists and antisocial personalities tending to inhabit these roles more often than we like to imagine.

Here are three of the most common characteristics and behaviours of a toxic working relationship:

1) Divide and conquer
One of the classic tactics of a ruthless boss or manager is divide and conquer. A toxic or personality disordered individual will not think twice about trying to create disagreements between groups of colleagues, often in order to completely take the focus off their incompetence or faulty decision making.

2) Outright bullying
Sometimes just one person is singled out for obvious bullying in the form of putdowns, admonishments and sarcasm in front of large groups of people. Sadly, in many cases the colleagues of the victim may be so relieved it isn’t them on the receiving end of the abusive behaviour that they will happily go along with their boss in laughing along or dishing out the ill treatment, especially if they feel their place in the boss’s inner circle will make their job safer.

3) Unfair criticism and impossible demands
High achievers and those with codependent tendencies are often very much at risk of being subjected to perfectionist criticism and nit-picking, along with being given ridiculously high workloads that only increase each time the person on the receiving end manages to battle their way to the end. This is one way that a toxic abuser in a management position can essentially use a person’s low self-esteem and people pleasing tendencies against them like a weapon, sometimes giving the victim double the workload of their colleagues. Essentially, this has shades of the playground bully forcing his or her victim to do their homework for them.

These are a few of the more extreme example of this type of working relationship, but of course there are many more subtle forms of bullying, coercion and singling out that can occur in a much more covert manner. So, what can be done to help transform the dynamic of these potentially harmful relationships?

Perhaps the answer is that it begins with the person experiencing the bullying. People who have had criticism or abuse growing up may be more likely to have never developed the self-worth or resources to see this behaviour for what it is and protect themselves against it, and are therefore more likely to blame themselves or make excuses for the perpetrator. Having the added worry of what would happen if they lost their job creates an added bind when it comes to taking steps to stop the behaviour.

However, change must come from within because in most cases, toxic bosses who score highly for narcissistic or sociopathic tendencies may not be willing or able to fundamentally change the behaviour that has helped them ruthlessly climb the ladder. Here are a few strategic steps that can be taken:

• Getting help in the form of counselling, talking to a trusted colleague or even reading up on employment law can help with getting some perspective on how unacceptable the behaviour is.
• Taking an honest look at whether it is worth staying in the job at all is also an important stage in shifting the focus from the toxic boss to the self.
• Recognising that bullying can only take place when the other person allows it to happen is a valuable process on the road to transformation, and examining whether childhood experiences or relationship patterns could be at the root of allowing it to continue.
• A good tip for the victim is to keep a diary of every incident that occurs, not only in case the decision to take legal action is pursued, but also to examine whether there are any cases in which the bullying could be handled differently in future. There are always situations in which we look back and feel annoyed with ourselves that we didn’t stand up for ourselves more or maintain stronger boundaries. This way it is possible for the person on the receiving end to look at how they have been responding, as well as the behaviour of their boss or manager.
• The next step is to start setting boundaries – after all, a bully can only thrive in an environment where others respond to them through fear-based interactions.

Once the balance of power starts to shift, it is likely that the behaviour of the toxic boss will either get better or even more extreme as they battle for dominance. If the former occurs, continuing self-work and mindset changes towards greater self-esteem will help to keep the dynamic in a state of improvement. If the latter occurs, leaving the working relationship and where appropriate, potentially considering legal action, may be the only safe option.

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Are Your Interviews Fuelled with Bias?

Business people waiting for job interview

While a CV and covering letter followed up with an interview remains the traditional way to find the right candidates for a position, it seems that in many cases, it is not the best route to successful recruitment. This is because in face to face interviews, bias can play a huge part in poor decision making, even when hiring managers imagine they have been as fair and objective as possible.

Studies have shown that one of the largest factors contributing to whether a candidate is selected for a job or not ultimately comes down to whether the interviewer feels they will fit into the environment. Although this is undeniably important, when it is favoured over aptitude, costly mistakes can be made that could be avoided. Here are three commonly identified types of bias at the interview stage.

1)      Instinct

This is a potentially difficult one, because instinct clearly plays a very important part in the interview process. Many hiring managers will have at least one story about regretting letting the candidate they really wanted go in favour of the someone who looked better on paper, but failed to have the some of the other traits – such as people skills, trustworthiness or empathy – that may have also been an unspoken requirement of the job. Instinct, however, is ultimately considered to be ruled by the emotions, so unless you know your instincts are consistently excellent, aptitude, experience and qualifications are the only truly fair way to judge a candidate’s suitability.

2)      Confirmation Bias

This describes our ability as people to create a picture in our minds of the qualities or flaws we perceive a person to have on paper, before we have met them, and to judge them through the filter of our preconceptions. In other words, the interviewer has ultimately made the decision before they meet the candidate, and new information will not shift that original idea.

3)      Affective Heuristic (or superficial appraisal of the candidate)

This is when an interviewer is prejudiced –either favourably of unfavourably – towards the candidate, on the basis of ultimately shallow evaluations, such as age, attractiveness, race or weight. This is the type of bias that the most work has been done to eradicate in recent decades, yet there is no doubt it still occurs despite clear guidelines for employers, particularly those in the public sector.

So how can bias best be avoided? Firstly, having a requirement that interviewers must explain and document their decision making processes helps the interviewer to remember the importance of integrity in arriving at the decision, and also helps him or her to analyse their choices more rigorously. Secondly, avoiding rushing the recruitment process is one of the essential components of effective hiring. Always thoroughly review all the available evidence of the candidate’s suitability, both before and after interview. Finally, having an absolutely watertight scoring system for both the application and interview process also helps the process of decision making far more objective, with a core list of key criteria and outcomes that must be met. While nothing is absolutely failsafe in recruitment, when these standards are met and some kind of aptitude or personality testing is also undertaken, success and fairness are a lot more achievable.

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Getting Started with Workplace Mentoring

asian business man and woman looking at laptop and tablet computer having a discussion.

The benefits of mentoring in the workplace are now an accepted fact, with a 2014 CIPD survey showing that more than three quarters of organisations have some variation of a coaching or mentoring programme available to their staff. Further studies have shown that mentoring can supercharge staff retention rates and help all staff align with individual and collective goals for higher performance and job satisfaction.

 

Providing newer members of staff with a role model to guide and support them through their career journey is an excellent way of creating transparency around achievement, a supportive workplace and a less competitive, more cohesive team. Meanwhile, taking a mentoring role can be an excellent way for senior members of staff to expand their role and feel appreciated for the acuity, skill and instinct they’ve developed over their time with the company. Matching newer staff with mentors can also shape the future of the company by promoting a culture of sharing what works and creating clear goals and milestones to help motivate and retain the best new staff.

So, how do you go about initiating a mentoring scheme in your company? Here are some considerations for implementing a mentoring programme.

Do we have the time?

Considering the time implications of a mentoring scheme should be high up on the list of priorities. The administration of a scheme is likely to be time consuming, so creating online resources to ease the process may also be necessary. Also, overloading already busy staff with more responsibilities risks creating a half-hearted or ambivalent attitude to what should be an exciting and supportive new way of relating. By timetabling a realistic amount of time into the week of everyone involved all participants should get the most out of it.

Find the right people to make it work

Secondly, selecting the right people and matching them is another potentially time consuming but essential task. Looking at the track records and areas of expertise of your potential mentors is very important, but considering their communication style, listening skills and willingness to work collaboratively are also essentials in deciding who to match them to. Finding mentees who are motivated, passionate and have clear self development goals is also fundamental to success.

Ensure the whole company are behind it

For a mentoring scheme to work, everyone in the company should understand and be in support of it. Using a mentoring scheme can be a way of aligning individual goals with the shared vision of the brand, and is potentially an excellent way of promoting and reinforcing company values.

Measure and celebrate success

Planning your mentoring programme will be much easier when you have a strong sense of the measurable outcomes you want to see as a result. Mentoring could support a number of strategic goals including recruitment, retention and development. By having clearly defined long and short term goals, on both an individual and collective level, and regularly revisiting them, will give everyone an incentive to make mentoring work. Embedding mentoring as part of your company culture will place your company alongside some of the more forward thinking businesses of our age, leading by example and investing in people-focused practice.

A culture of mentoring in the workplace is proven to result in many benefits. If you want to know more about how Psyence could help your organisation embed mentoring please contact us for more information.