Category Archives: guest blogger

How Do Corporate Mentoring Schemes Benefit Business?

Mentoring is an increasingly popular way of helping new employees settle in to a new position or a new company.

When new members of staff join a company, they can really appreciate having a mentor on hand to guide them and advise them about their role, the company and career progression. Being able to mentor a new colleague also has reciprocal benefits for mentors – it can be really fulfilling being able to share skills and experience with someone who is keen to learn more. Professionally, it benefits all concerned.

When IT firm Sun Microsystems looked at the career progression of around 1,000 employees over a period of five years, they found that mentoring appeared to be an excellent career choice:

  • People who had been involved in a mentoring programme, either as a mentor or mentee, were 20% more likely to have been awarded a pay rise in the period studied.
  • Mentees were five times more likely to have been promoted than employees who didn’t have mentors.
  • Mentors did even better; they were six times more likely to have been promoted than those not involved in a mentoring programme.

A good mentor will able to provide guidance for their mentee in the skills that are necessary for their particular area of work, and introduce them to the right contacts, resources and professional groups that will help them in their role. They offer practical help and support, and in some cases can become a trusted ally, being a good source of advice for any problems that might crop up during the mentoring period and beyond.

So, what are the benefits for a mentor?

A chance to develop leadership skills:  One of the key strengths of a good leader is an ability to inspire others, and through mentoring an experienced staff member can provide inspiration for new employees. Mentoring junior and inexperienced staff can boost a mentor’s existing leadership abilities and also helps to provide an opportunity to develop these skills in a way that benefits all concerned.

Improves the mentor’s own performance: A mentor survey carried out by Durham University in 2009, found that mentors believed the greatest benefit of mentoring others was that it gave them an opportunity to reflect on their own working practices.  Explaining systems to other people can often reveal easier or more effective ways of carrying out key tasks. Having to explain the way that a company or organisation works to a complete newcomer can also help the mentor to gain a better understanding of it, which in turn can help them to improve on their own knowledge.

Helps to develop new skills: Being a mentor helps develop essential career related skills such as coaching, how to give (and to receive) feedback, and it also gives mentors an opportunity to share their own best practice, a skill that can be underdeveloped in some employees.  One of the most important skills that can be boosted by a mentoring relationship is interpersonal skills; not only through the mentor-mentee relationship but also through the mentor making new contacts within the organisation, finding the right person to go to, and introducing the mentee to key personnel.

Job Satisfaction: There’s no denying that being able to guide another person through their career development, and being the ‘go-to’ person for somebody, can provide mentors with a great deal of job satisfaction. Jaded or uninspired staff members can find that their enthusiasm for their old role perks up no end when they are tasked with showing a new person the ropes, along with their sense of responsibility.

Personal Confidence: To be asked to mentor another person involves knowing a great deal about your own role, and assumes a certain level of competence, not just in the role, but in the individual’s interpersonal skills and commitment to the job. It can build up flagging confidence levels when an employee is asked to take on responsibility for another colleague’s introduction to the company, and improve their confidence levels through knowing that their employer trusts them to be able to carry out the mentoring process effectively.

Develops professional relationships:  Being part of a recognised mentoring programme can make the mentor more visible within the company, enhancing peer recognition. The fact that the mentor has made the effort to become more involved in the organisation by being part of a mentoring scheme reflects well on them, and can help to improve their reputation.

Unlike traditional training programs mentoring programs are a cost-effective, time-effective and beneficial way to get new employees up to speed on their new role, and keep existing employees engaged in theirs.

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Written by Michael Palmer, an Oxford based business graduate. He writes about people management and setting objectives for Cezanne HR.

Why Private Equity needs good change management support?

Undoubtedly strategic change management has a major role in corporate transactions and restructurings. Many deals are either unsuccessful or do not deliver the full value expected when people and organisational change impacts are ignored or poorly planned for. This directly results in loss of revenue and delays in realising the value of the deal or restructuring initiative.

There is a big focus on ‘cultural fit’ and all things related and nowadays Private Equity firms are investing considerable time and resources to better understand a target company’s organisational dynamics before concluding any deal. This could be a major factor in realising value from the deal down the line. An organisation’s culture could either make it or break it over the long term. Thus it becomes vital for senior leadership to define the culture required for success, or in the case of M&A’s, creating a vision for the future that will aim to bring the best of both organisational cultures together to deliver maximum value for all stakeholders.
Collective behavioural patterns determine how work gets done in an organisation and that in turn relates directly to performance, motivation and the ability to cope with internal and external change. Ignoring these important factors is a major strategic risk for PE firms and can ultimately affect the realisation of value from any deal. Ignoring or poorly managing organisational change can easily result in:

  • Poor employee engagement, motivation and ultimately performance;
  • Serious resistance to change and low levels of morale across the organisation;
  • Ambiguity around the organisation’s value system and beliefs, which lead to disillusionment amongst stakeholders;
  • ‘Jumping ship’ and loss of key talent and senior leadership;
  • Poor business transformation and change planning resulting in the slow execution of the transaction or restructuring initiative.

Vital to countering these strategic risks is the effective visioning, planning and execution of business change. The process requires effective management of corporate messaging, people and cultural / behavioural change. It is most critical for the workforce to be aligned to the strategic objectives of the organisation and customer needs. Organisations that focus time and resources on doing this effectively have ultimately had higher levels of transaction success in the past.

In conclusion, the key areas that require the most attention during the transaction lifecycle (from a business change perspective), are:

  • Identifying the behaviour sets that will lead to a successful integration or restructuring exercise;
  • Determining the strategic drivers that will help to reinforce these behaviours in the future and implementing them successfully during the transition phase;
  • Understanding the organisational cultural differences and similarities and working with key parties to ensure these factors do not hinder the transaction process. Understanding this clearly will enable the creation of a shared / common vision for success;
  • Ensuring the change management strategy is being tracked and resulting issues being dealt with promptly via a well-defined change agent network.

Having structured change management plans in place will provide the levels of confidence in dealing with organisational change successfully and lead to a more successful transaction for investors in the medium to long term. It will provide the basis for realising deal value more quickly!

Vellendra Sannasy is an Organisational Change Professional with extensive experience in leading strategic and operational business change. Vellendra has worked with global organisations in the UK, US, Asia and South Africa, with a great appreciation for cultural diversity and different ways of working. He is also the Founder of StratChange Consulting, which is a niche consultancy, providing strategic and operational guidance to C Suite Executives and Senior Management teams undergoing complex organisational change.


When buying a bespoke or made-to-measure suit or other piece of clothing, time has to be invested by the maker and eventual wearer. Getting something to fit perfectly isn’t about one brief meeting; it is about choosing the cloth, discussing what the wearer wants, the occasion and having measurements taken by the maker. After several fittings hopefully both parties are happy and the wearer takes away a beautiful hand-crafted garment that they are proud to wear and in which they feel really comfortable. The maker will also be proud to be named as the skilled person behind the creation.

Bespoke positions?

Finding the right position especially when you are already at the top of your game is not dissimilar. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

Both the prospective employer and the executive looking for a position first of all need an introduction. In the best case scenarios they are introduced to one another by a headhunter who has already done some of the hard work. If you like, offered advice to choose the cloth, discussed what the bespoke garment is for and taken the measurements for both sides.

The fittings are taken care of by the client and the executive to see if they can make the perfect garment together.

A good headhunter

A good headhunter not only know his clients well and understands their company culture so that they are well equipped to find the right executive but they are ably prepared to read a CV and understand potential. To interview executives and glean any extra information that will mean a good fit.

A personal service

For top jobs you expect top service so hunt down a service provider who will give you just that. You need a headhunter who will make it their business to ensure you are listened to, kept informed and understanding exactly what you are looking for.

From a company point of view the service you are looking for is not very different. You need the headhunter to understand exactly how your company works and the exact calibre of person you are looking for when recruiting.

Both sides need to feel as though the headhunter is working solely for them and kept informed of all dialogue with the third party.

Executive recruitment

At the top end of the scale it is almost more important that the fit between client and executive is perfect. At this level a new executive is expected to start running, know their stuff and understand the company culture. This means a lot of research and feed back of information by the headhunter and of course during interviews.

A headhunter’s reputation is also dependent on giving the best service and showing a good understanding of what is required from both parties. A good headhunter needs to know his clients inside out and to work better than any match-making agency in putting the two together.

Which ever side of this coin you are coming from, when it comes to executive recruitments make sure that the agency you use has the credentials and a good match-making record.

Wendy Lin is a free-lance writer who is enjoying her new countryside living in the peaceful land of England…

The Top Five Benefits Of Risk Management Software

Managing risk is a vital part of any business operation today, just as it has always been, since merchants opened their first businesses untold years ago. Nowadays, though, business owners and managers have many more powerful tools at their fingertips to help manage risks, whether they are a small business or a multinational corporation. There are many benefits that these modern tools provide, some of which will be explained in the list below. First, it’s important to discuss what risk management is, and what tools we use to accomplish this today.

What is Risk Management?

There are many ways of going about risk management, but in general, we can define it as a process that ensures the achievement of objectives, reduces the likelihood of any negative consequences of the actions taken to achieve those objectives, decreases the risks involved with the processes of achieving those objectives and increases the likelihood of a beneficial end result. Basically, the risk management process makes good things happen while preventing bad things from happening. This could mean many different things to different businesses, though. Something that one business views as a negative result could in fact be a positive result for another business in a different industry. The specific objectives of a risk management system may change, but the general idea remains the same – managing risks to help assure the least negative impact of any action taken by the business.

How Do Businesses Manage Risk Today?

Most businesses turn to software in this day and age, which has made it much easier to manage risks for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. A software program can be used to manage risks, report risks and decrease risks – all with minimal effort once the system is securely in place. This can mean a safer environment for employees when the system is used to manage workplace accidents, injuries, spills and other internal hazards. For a company that works with harmful substances, it can mean a safer environment for people in the community with reduced likelihood for harmful emissions, meltdowns, leakages and other dangers. It can also mean a reduced possibility of inefficiency. A good software system can help boost profits, employee morale and customer satisfaction, all while reducing expenses, excess waste and dangers of all sorts.

What are the Top Benefits of Risk Management?

If implemented and maintained effectively, a risk management software program can provide countless benefits, some of which should already be clear. These are arguably the top five benefits of this type of program:

  1. Reduces the likelihood of unexpected, negative surprises
  2. Allows companies to take advantage of new opportunities more quickly
  3. Helps ensure effective business planning and strategy
  4. Supports ongoing improvements to the company
  5. Makes better use of the company’s resources

Many people find that after they learn a bit more about risk management and the tools that are available to modern businesses, they feel it is a good time to think about implementing such software systems within their companies.

Craig is a risk analyst for a large corporation. He uses this type of invaluable software in his everyday work, and hopes his recommendations help other professionals mitigate risk in their corporate operations.