Case: Mentoring programme helps union members navigate through the many career opportunities and career challenges
IDA - The Danish Society of Engineers offers their members to become part of their mentoring programme IDA Mentor. The purpose of the programme is to offer their members help with navigating through the many challenges and opportunities of the career. Members share knowledge with each other through the programme and get the opportunity to develop both professionally and personally. At the same time IDA gets an insight into what challenges their members have.
Through IDA Mentor, IDA wants to create a nurturing environment to support the sense of leadership. However, members may have different needs depending on where they are in their careers. IDA therefore offers two different types of mentoring programmes: A 12-months programme for members with more than 2 years’ job experience, and a 9-months programme for the newly graduated members with maximum 2 years’ job experience. The 9-months programme was introduced in 2019 with the purpose of giving the young members a good start in the labour market. Statistics show that young people today often leave their trade union within 2 years after graduation. The mentoring programme is also a way of offering the young members something relevant that will help retain them in the trade union.
Re-design with clear structure
IDA has been running their 12-months programme since 2007, but in 2018 they re-designed the entire programme in collaboration with KMP+ House of Mentoring. After examining other international mentoring programmes, IDA found out that programmes with highest success were the ones with the clearest structure. The Mentor+Game™ concept of KMP+ House of Mentoring helped IDA create a clear and visible structure for their mentoring programme. However, the programme still allows for great dynamics and flexibility. Lise Dan, Programme Manager, IDA Mentor states "We have chosen KMP+ House of Mentoring’s concept because it has a clearly visible structure and a toolbox in the form of a workbook. That is really something our members like. There is a clear structure and framework."
An essential part of a mentoring programme is to establish a good relationship between mentor and mentee. This is also prioritised in IDA’s mentoring programme. Before entering the programme both mentors and mentees participate in a half-day preparation course. Programme Manager, Lise Dan and one of her co-workers are accredited Mentor+Facilitators through KMP+ House of Mentoring and have license to apply the Mentor+Game™. It is a concept based on the 10 situational mentor roles and the Mentor+Game™ provides a common approach, a common language and a common toolbox for mentoring which increases the quality and effect of the mentoring programme. This is an advantage for IDA, as it means they can provide the training of the mentors and mentees themselves, and it gives them a high flexibility.
“In the concept from KMP+ House of Mentoring, there are 10 different roles, so we ask people to say what role could fit well here. It is a way to help mentor into the role and a way for the mentee to see the different roles mentor can apply.” Lise Dan, Programme Manager, IDA Mentor
As an association with 125,000 members, the challenges and needs their members have and wants help with are multifarious. They can range from having to settle into a new job, to be the only data analyst in an organisation and feeling a bit alone with this relatively new area of work. For most members the main issue is often that they lack someone that they can talk to about the sensitive topics which they cannot discuss internally in their own organisation.
“If you look at it from mentees’ perspective, they get a mentor who can help them navigate through the many opportunities and challenges of the career. Mentor helps mentee to set goals for the development to get a more accurate picture of one’s career situation. Furthermore, they create a space where problem solving in relation to tasks and projects, conflicts, personal behaviour and issues with managers and clients can be discussed in confidentiality. That means, all the dilemmas that can be found in everyday life” states Lise Dan.
However, the mentoring relationship is not only about helping the mentee. Mentor also gets plenty of opportunities to develop leadership- and communication skills. IDA offers mentor supervision selected places in Denmark where groups of mentors meet and share experiences. The supervision is a way of giving something back to the mentors, who are given the opportunity to be challenged by other mentors themselves.
The purpose of the mentoring programme is to create a professional relationship between the members, with a focus on both professional and personal development for both mentors and mentees.
“The goal is, to make sure that the knowledge is transferred within the learning alliance created between mentor and mentee. What kind of knowledge is up to them to decide, we are the channel that creates the possibility to make it happen.” Lise Dan, Programme Manager, IDA Mentor.
IDA has strengthened their brand
In addition to the mentoring programme being a way of offering their members something relevant and especially in order to retain the young members, it has given them a great insight into their members’ needs. They can see there is a need for mentoring, and they get a better understanding of what kinds of issues and challenges their member have in their organisations. This is a great advantage for an organisation such as IDA, whom finest job is to offer their members help to manage these challenges. In addition, the mentoring programme also helps strengthen and emphasize IDA's overall slogan: Knowledge that strengthens.
According to Lise Dan, the re-design of the programmes has meant that “we have gotten a visible voice and emphasized our overall slogan: Knowledge that strengthen – and it really does, also in the relationship between our members.”
Targeted marketing efforts paid off
After the re-design of the mentoring programme together with KMP+ House of Mentoring, IDA has experienced what is important to succeed with a mentoring programme. One thing that is especially important is to create visibility around the programme. This applies both to the programme managers, who must always be present at all elements of the programme, but also in the process of recruiting the participants. Especially, recruitment is a major task because the amount of information on the various channels today is much larger than it was 10 years ago. So, while recruiting is a part of the programme that may seem hidden, it is one of the things that is very important. Lise Dan states that “we run marketing on social media, in newsletters and in the form of telemarketing. So, we combine those things and run campaigns before each deadline for sign up.”
The targeted marketing effort has been very successful. The goal was to match 80 mentor/mentee-pairs each year. But after re-designing the programme in 2018, they have run 5 programmes and matched a total of 140 mentor/mentee-pairs. The objectives of the programme have been achieved and even more.