Government Elearning! Magazine

FALL 2015

Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.

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Government Elearning! Fall 2015 33 Mentoring at SWBC Gives Employees Mutual Access Through Skype, SharePoint In an efort to meet a number of objec- tives, learning styles, diversity in experience and product/service exposure, SWBC has launched a unique mentoring program. It is for this efort that the fnance company was named one of the leading private-sector learning organizations in this magazine's Learning! 100 competition for 2015. According to SWBC vice president of Training and Employee Develop- ment Mandy Smith, the majority of its employees had indicated they wanted to participate in a mentoring program, but they had little to no experience or knowledge of how to do it. "Te result is a fairly structured pro- gram, where mentors and mentees (pro- tégés) learn how to get the most out of the program," she wrote in her nomination form. Te group as a whole met regularly to discuss objectives, goals, experience and success stories. Subsequently, par- ticipants were given instructions on how to get the most out of the programs, like how ofen to have meetings, agenda sug- gestions and goal-setting. Initially, program administrators were concerned about whether men- tors/mentees would be able to com- mit to a year-long program. They also wanted to ensure that the established methods of matching mentors to men- tees would be successful. An accelerated pilot program kicked of the efort, to ensure its structure would be successful. Te 20 voluntary employees who participated in the pilot program were very generous with their feedback, which was almost all positive. Tey were able to share some suggestions, and as a result program administrators were able to develop additional tools (handouts, worksheets, etc.) before ofcially launch- ing the program. Te pilot group also served as champions of the program. Tey were so excited and were benefting so much, they spread the word, so there was a lot of enthusiasm among employees prior to the ofcial launch. "We wanted the program to have some richness and depth," Smith admits. So face-to-face interactions among employ- ees who work in the same locations was one of the keys. "But we have employees across the country, so they may use Skype and SharePoint — which helps us collect and have discussions and have a land- ing place — and eLogic for enrollment, record-keeping and launching surveys." Employees who are interested in the program fll out application forms and get approval from their managers. Ten Hu- man Resources and Training personnel go through the applications, determin- ing short- and long-term goals, areas of strengths and world experience to share. Ten they make the pairings. Members of SWBC's executive man- agement team also are very active as mentors — and they take the role very seriously, because it demonstrates their dedication to the employees as a whole. "Te initial results were better than we anticipated," Smith continues, citing a survey that showed unanimous approval of the mentor/mentee matches. "Not only was the participant feedback positive, we heard stories of process improvements taking place across division lines. In ad- dition, six of the 30 participants received promotions during their program and attribute their success to their mentor." In the future, many of the mentoring program's core pieces will remain steady, but with diferent business units and dif- ferent employees becoming involved, administrators will need to evolve to their needs. "We need to bring in additional development opportunities, like having a dedicated session/workshop on communi- cation skills," Smith concludes. SWBC is a frst-time Learning! 100 winner. AREA OF EXCELLENCE C U LT U R E Some of the happy employees at SWBC, which is based in San Antonio, Tex., and is a top fnisher in the 2015 Learning! 100 competition.

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