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Why HR should take up mentorship roles

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Mentorship within the HR function can come in a number of forms, each one helping to raise the level of intelligence for the team, writes Aditi Sharma Kalra.

The queen of talk shows, Oprah Winfrey, believes nobody “makes it in the world without some form of mentorship.” Bill Gates has often credited Warren Buffett as his mentor, acknowledged with a right-back-at-you by Buffet himself.

Research by Penna in the mid of last year found that one in every five employees in the world is currently not mentoring others or being mentored – but they would like to be.

Here’s an opportunity for HR to run with, to build a stronger team within itself.

At its base, mentoring is about sharing experiences and expertise – but it helps to keep in mind that the mentor and mentee need not have identical skill sets.

Putting together a mentor-mentee team of an HR generalist and specialist, for example, can be a good way to fast track learning within each of HR’s functional areas.

It requires no additional resources, albeit the time commitment, but most importantly, it can help to capitalise on the greatest asset any organisation has – its employees’ knowledge.

Similarly, the mentor-mentee relationship does not have to come with a senior-junior tag. Lateral mentoring within the HR team can be executed both ways, implying no one person is the mentor throughout.

ALSO READ: Understanding ‘reverse mentoring’

This can help build an understanding of the framework that each HR representative works within, which can further help to promote collaboration.

HR mentoring across the spectrum of HR roles is typically possible for larger, geographically spread organisations.

However, a buddy programme can work just as well for companies with a smaller number of team members doing similar work across geographies.

Initiatives like this can help raise the collective level of HR intelligence across the organisation. Not only can they generate conversations, but also create an informal network of experts that newbies to the function can tap into.

Besides, the experience of being a mentor will instigate more patience and empathy – qualities that continue to be in short supply in today’s demanding work environment.

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Aditi Sharma Kalra

Human Resources Magazine Singapore
When not spending her time eating or watching dog videos, Aditi loves to read, write, and tweet about HR. She is managing print, digital and social content for Human Resources, across Singapore and Malaysia.

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