* In this chapter, Connnect&GO employees are named GOers (a genderless term that includes all members of our team).
With the current situation of COVID-19, we felt it was important to think about what would make sense for us in the future, what we want to become together as a team and how we will get there. Thus, we are currently in a team exercise to adjust and confirm our future corporate values (subject of a future chapter of Our Culture Code). One of these will be to build on a culture of learning where we are passionate about developing the potential of humans and the possibility of developing and producing exceptional leaders.
The professional development aspect has therefore been a priority in recent months at Connect&GO in order to get through the crisis. A mentoring program has been put in place where, eventually, 100% of the employees will have an external mentor. In addition to being aligned with one of our 5 values, our reflection was also based on the goal of having a positive impact on the mental health of our team members. Thus, through this mentoring program, GOers can meet their psychological needs:
1) Autonomy: by deciding which components of the mentoring program they wish to be part of and by shaping their wishes for the program;
2) Affiliation: by being matched with an external mentor who has been identified according to their respective needs;
3) Competence: by learning and developing knowledge and skills.
* Source: Theory of Self-Determination, see link at end of article.
THE OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAM
THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE 2020 COHORT OF THE PROGRAM
We have designed the program so that it can exist in 3 different streams. We are currently completing the implementation of the first component, and so there is still work to be done in the development of our mentoring initiative.
Stream 1: Depending on the interest that the GOer will have for this possibility, 100% of the GOers will have the possibility to be paired with an external mentor. A community of practice will be set up for the 2020 cohort of mentors in our program. The objective is to give back to this cohort who generously and voluntarily offers their time and expertise by offering them the opportunity to be part of a focus group each quarter, this group being led by our Lead Mentor.
Stream 2: Depending on the interest that the GOer will have for this possibility, each member of the team can volunteer to be a mentor to another member of the team internally. This pairing will be made according to specific objectives and the respective strengths of the GOers.
Stream 3: Depending on the interest that the GOer will have for this possibility, each team member may volunteer to be an external mentor to another person in the community. Support will be provided to members of our team to facilitate these pairings in order to give back to the community.
To guide this cohort, we called on the generous Diane Lafontaine to be our Head Mentor for the program. Chief Operating Officer, Quebec, Rise People, Administrator, Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Administrator, College of Corporate Directors & Member of the Executive Committee, Fondation Jeunes en tête, for Diane working with a mentor means:
“Investing in yourself. Mentoring is a lucid, external and experienced perspective that must ask the right questions. That illuminates our blind spots. Which opens us up to possible solutions. This exchange is nourished by trust. Without filter and without detour. It is a privileged, generous and benevolent relationship that allows you to be more aware, efficient and satisfied in your professional life”.
As Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg mention it in the book How Google Works, “The best athletes in the world need a coach, and don’t you? »!! So why not invest in yourself in order to develop like the best in the world?
Brandon F. Goldman, Vice President of Sales, Qualio, Former Director of Sales, Survey Monkey & Global Advisory Board Member and Lazaridis Scale-Up Program Lead Mentor was also a special guest on one of our mentoring episodes to share with our team members how being a mentee has supported him in his development and why he chooses to be actively active as a mentor now.
Brandon has 3 children, a full-time job, but still finds the time and energy for ongoing mentoring. How does he make it happen? “For me, I do not consider it work. I love to mentor. Also, I really believe in prioritization. Every quarter there are maybe 3 important decisions that need to be made. So by keeping the focus, it frees up time for other things that are important and that I enjoy such as mentoring. “
PAIRING IN OUR PROGRAM
It was important that the respective pairing of the GOers with the external mentors was done according to the needs of the GOers. Thus, a survey was sent to each team member to better understand:
1) The 3 key learnings they wanted to focus on in their development;
2) The field in which they wanted their respective mentor to evolve;
3) The preferred language of exchanges;
4) The kind of mentor they were looking for in order to be comfortable;
5) Any other comments that the GOers wanted to share with respect to their mentoring relationship needs.
Once the needs were identified, we began the search for possibilities. The GOers have all used their respective network to identify the 2020 cohort of mentors for their colleagues.
Once the possible pairing was identified, the GOers organized a respective exploratory meeting with their mentor in order to validate or not the match. Thus, both the mentee and the mentor could provide their perspective on the pairing. It is key for the employee to have the final decision on the fit of the mentoring relationship so that he (she) can grow in an optimal mentoring environment.
INVOLVEMENT IN OUR PROGRAM
Before the mentor confirms their desire to embark on the program for the year, we make sure to be transparent about the expected involvement for the next 12 months.
Raj Manek, Director of Business Development, Connect&GO and Yannick Gemme, VP Sales, D-Box Technologies Inc. who form a dyad in our 2020 cohort, share their views on the program with us.
“I am excited for the mentorship program for the following reasons:
- Learning from someone who’s been in my shoes before;
- Allowing me to talk and discuss with someone who’s unbiased towards me and therefore will always give me a straight answer;
- Although it has only been onemonth into the mentorship program, hitting it off with Yannick (it’s as if we’ve known each other for years);
- Without necessarily going to a psychologist, having someone who understands my professional reality is simply awesome;
- Growing as an individual.
Since we are only at the beginning of the program, what I am most looking forward to is :
- Building a long-lasting relationship with someone who see’s eye to eye with me and who will help me grow as an individual;
- Garnering skills to eventually be able to give back to the community;
- Getting to a point during this process and be able to look back to where I was (x months ago) vs where I am now.”
“I chose to participate in the mentoring program in order to be able to contribute to the development and growth of an individual outside of my direct team, to discuss a more general problem or a specific case both at the emotional level as well as business level and finally to contribute my experience. The key to all of this is openness and the desire to improve and so far Raj has been a great match for me.
The payoff in my case is going to be the evolving goals that Raj sets for himself as we move forward together. The fruit of the reflections that emanate from our discussions, the actions taken, the results and feedback, this loop that allows us to move forward as individuals. Collaboration and future exchanges with other mentors will also be interesting in order to be able to evolve in this role.”
PROCEDURE OF THE RELATIONSHIP IN OUR PROGRAM
Finally, this dashboard gives you a general idea of how Component #1 of our Mentoring Program is completed from the perspective of the mentees (the members of our team). You will see that they are the leaders of their respective mentoring relationship, and so Connect& GO’s role is to support the relationships through:
1) a secure framework that promotes exchanges within the limits mentioned in the Code of Ethics;
2) a toolkit made available to GOers who can use as they wish (for example, one of the tools is a guide for developing their objectives);
3) a monthly follow-up to ensure the quality of the relationship;
4) the establishment of mentoring capsules and activities to highlight and guide the involvement of GOers in this program.
In conclusion, I would like to take the time to thank the following individuals who have made the development of this mentoring program possible:
1) I would like to send my sincere thanks to all the mentors in the cohort who give back to our team members. We are extremely grateful to have you with us. This program could not have seen the day without your dedication to your mentees;
2) Thanks to Edda Pizzati from Innocentre and Chloé Freslon from URelles with whom I have the pleasure of growing up myself and with whom we have thought about and advanced the possibility of this program;
3) Finally, a special thank you to Robert Dutton and Yvon Chouinard with whom I had the pleasure of building my first mentorship program with the Parcours Leadership Carabins which greatly inspired the implementation of our program at Connect&GO. Further proof that mentoring is really a great spirit of sharing …
I’ll get back to you next month with other initiatives that we have implemented in OUR CULTURE CODE.
Talk to you soon!
Sophie Gadoury – Head, Culture & Engagement, and the entire Connect&GO team
*Source on the 3 psychological needs : https://hbr.org/2014/11/what-maslows-hierarchy-wont-tell-you-about-motivation