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Author Archive for Lexi Hambides

I Love HR

Photo Credit: Jake Przespo, Flickr

Photo Credit: Jake Przespo, Flickr

I love HR.  I love the variety, the opportunity to coach peers and colleagues, to develop programs and solutions to support organizational challenges, the ability to have an impact on business outcomes.  I read articles like this one;  https://hbr.org/2015/04/reinventing-performance-management  and think “Wow.  It would be exciting to tackle a challenge in this way”.  Yes, I often call myself an HR geek. I know, without a doubt, that HR is the profession for me.

How do I know that with such confidence? Well, as far as careers go, I consider myself very lucky. I have had the opportunity to try out 2 careers – HR and Marketing.  I started working in HR after graduating from university and after a few years, had the opportunity to work in Marketing.  After many years in Marketing, I began to realize that I missed HR. I found myself gravitating towards discussions on the impact and outcomes of a new bonus structure on the sales force.  Or the best way to align the team to meet the needs of our customers.  I missed meeting new employees, coaching managers,  having a (very) passionate discussion about the value  of performance management and feedback . So after 8+ years in Marketing, I focused on getting back into HR. I look forward to spending the rest of my working life in this field.

I would never trade those years in Marketing – not only did they provide me with a great knowledge of business operations which is incredibly helpful as an HR professional but it also provided me the opportunity to know, with confidence, that I am in the right field and this is where I belong.

I’ll be the first to admit, there are days when I wonder if I did make the right career choice.  We all have those days right? When everyone wants to know if we are closing the office for the impending snowstorm.   When the only reason people seek you out is to vent or complain. (Have you ever noticed that the volume of issues tends to grow with a full moon?)  When I read yet another article on ” Why We Hate HR”. Those are the days where I think ” I should have stayed in Marketing”.

But then there are those days when I know I made a difference.  Where I coach an employee or manager through a performance issue.  Or I discuss launching an internal development program to meet the challenges of recruiting from the outside.  Or I work with that manager who clearly understands that working with his team, challenging them, developing them, is as important as any other priority he has as a manager.  Those are the days where I know that I am in the right field for me, that I made the right career choice.  Those are the days I love HR.

So Many Mentoring Programs – Where to Start?

Hello everyone – I hope that you are enjoying this (hot!) summer.

I am thrilled to have been invited back to talk further about mentoring. You may recall that last summer, we discussed the mentor/mentee relationship and the mutual benefits that this relationship can bring. Outcomes of positive mentoring relationships can include increased career and job satisfaction and professional confidence and possibly higher rates of promotion and compensation. For a mentor, this relationship can provide career satisfaction, recognition and respect from others, personal satisfaction as well as the feeling of “giving back”. In addition, we also talked about how to approach a potential mentor which, as always, is all about networking.

Since then, many of you have requested information about existing mentoring programs.  You asked for it, we’ve got it!

A Google search of “mentoring programs” generated almost 4.3 million hits! Even narrowing down the search to “southern Ontario mentoring programs” gave me 2.8 million hits.  Unfortunately, space prevents me from listing them all (LOL) so I thought I would focus on a cross-section of programs. As the Google count indicates, there are a large number of programs available. As a result, I have tried to be both general (programs that would have appeal to a wide range of readers) but also specific (I have excluded programs that are specific to certain groups such as engineers and entrepreneurs, given our readership). Below, you will find a list of 5 mentoring programs in the area that I felt met this criteria.

http://www.thementoringpartnership.com/

The Mentoring Partnership is an award winning program offered by TRIEC (Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council). It is designed to bring together skilled immigrants and established professionals in mentoring relationships which are occupation-specific.

http://www.wxnetwork.com/?wisdom&id=1

The Women’s Executive Network (WXN) offers 2 mentoring programs – a group program and a 1-on-1 program which links women with a mentor from the WXN community of Canada’s Most Powerful Women award winners accompanied by 20 hours of classroom instruction. Both programs involve an application process.

www.HRPA.ca

Many chapters of the HRPA, including London, Halton and Toronto offer mentoring programs that members can both apply to and volunteer to be a part of. Detailed information about these programs can be found on your chapter’s website.

Your alma matter

Many colleges and universities and their alumni associations offer mentoring programs.  For example, McMaster University, my undergrad alma matter, has a number of mentoring programs available including MentorLinks, an online database of career mentors available to support students and recent grads in their career exploration.

http://www.mentoringcanada.ca/

While not a traditional mentoring program, Mentoring Canada is an online resource centre run by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. Its primary focus is to promote and support mentoring initiatives in communities across Canada. This site is targeted to those interested in mentoring and provides resources, links and training materials to support the development and implementation of mentoring programs.

In addition, the Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada organization manages a number of mentoring programs that readers can be involved in. For more information, please visit www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca.

While this list can’t possibly be exhaustive, I hope that it will provide a place to start if you are looking for a program to meet your needs or possibly mirror – many of these programs will exemplify best practices in mentoring.

Give us your thoughts – is there a program that I didn’t list that you would like to highlight? If so, post a comment and tell us!

Mentoring in the Popular Press

The last few mentoring postings have focused on becoming a mentee.  I thought for the purposes of this blog, I would focus on becoming a mentor.

The topic of mentoring was recently featured in a segment of CityLine, a show which airs nationally on CityTV.  In this particular segment,  host Tracey Moore and her guest, Dr. Karyn Gordon discussed what sets a mentor apart from a friend or peer.  Dr. Gordon stated that all people have the potential to be a mentor or “a person of influence”.  She stressed that the difference between a friend and a mentor is the ability to see potential and possibilities in others and voice it. Dr. Gordon also discussed the ability of great mentors to expand the thinking of a mentee but also to be a realistic guiding force on the mentee’s journey. (If you are interested in watching this segment it aired on CityLine on September 27, 2011.)

Becoming a mentor is similar to the process of becoming of mentee which I wrote about in my last post.  It is about building relationships. As John C. Maxwell discusses in his book “Mentoring 101”, it is important to get to know people on a personal level as you prepare to become a mentor.  You must understand what motivates the individual, their strengths and weaknesses in order to become an effective mentor.

I challenge each of you to look around the individuals you interact with at home, at work, anywhere you have personal relationships.  Is there someone that you have previously identified as having potential?  What about if you look at your “community” with fresh eyes?  Do you see potential in that person that you could cultivate?  Could you form a relationship with someone and be their “person of influence”? It absolutely takes time and energy to be a good mentor but the rewards are well worth it!

What are your thoughts? How have you approached an individual in the past to act as a mentor?    How did that relationship work for you? What advice do you have for others who see potential in someone and would like to act as a mentor?