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38 H.R.M

38 H.R.M

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Published by Priyanka Sharma

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Published by: Priyanka Sharma on Aug 16, 2012
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10/12/2012

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At the July meeting of the Making Mentoring Connections Network, a case study of
the pilot mentoring program in the Westpac Banking Corporation was presented by
Niki Kesoglou, Human Resource Manager of Westpac's Policy, Projects &
Diversity Department. Westpac's mentoring was born out of a need, expressed at
focus groups of managers and executive managers, to examine career progression
and to retain high potential people resources (particularly for female staff) within
the company.

There was an overwhelming response to circulation of a mentoring booklet and
invitation, both from people wanting to be mentors and also from hopeful
mentorees. The limited, trial nature of the pilot meant that some people had to be
turned away, but they were given assurances they would be considered for
involvement in such a program when it goes company-wide. The pilot included 18
mentors (12 males, 6 females) and 14 mentorees (6 males, 8 females). Bio-data
sheets were issued and participants took part in mentoring skills workshops. These
workshops were augmented, two weeks later, by a "get acquainted" breakfast.

Westpac's program was feedback-intensive. The breakfast, and also a mid-point
follow-up workshop with both mentors and mentorees, provided opportunities for
checking reactions and progress.

On-going verbal and written guidance was offered by the project manager and
coordinator. Every effort was made to stay in telephone contact with all participants,
and their comments and input acted upon. Three sets of evaluation questionnaires (at
six weeks, mid-point and project conclusion) were also used.

Westpac encountered some unwillingness on the part of some mentors to attend
training. Their attitude seemed to be, "I already have communication skills - that's
why I'm a mentor."

Many satisfying outcomes of the pilot program have been observed. Although the
Westpac culture generally exhibits little gender bias, it was agreed that the program
helped improve the visibility of women in this particular workplace.

Initial career progression indications are positive with a rise noted in the number of
internal job applications by participants, and this will need to be tracked over time.
Mentoring relationships which cross functional areas have assisted in breaking
down barriers.

32

Human Resource Management

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