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ATD Blog

Micromentoring for Flexibility

Monday, May 20, 2024
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Belkin’s mentorship program is a little different.

On Sunday , Former Belkin Learning & Talent Development Manager Cyndi Nagel, who helped create the company’s skills-based mentorship program, walked ATD24 attendees through the consumer technology company's steps to launch an innovative mentorship program.

Just a little more than one year old, the initiative took about three months to build.

“We used a scope and planning strategy,” Nagel explains. “This is critical because it provides structure and clear expectations around the goals and the desired outcomes. This work gives you a ramp for your program to be successful. It’s a little bit of work up front, but you can do it with a committee easily.”

The initiative involves a simple mentee-mentor relationship, but what sets it apart from other mentorship programs, Nagel says, is micromentoring and a skills-based focus. At Belkin, micromentoring requires at least four meetings between the mentor and the mentee, a flexible start date (mentoring can start at any time during the year), and that mentees drive action planning for skills and goals.

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Both mentees and mentors play an active role. They rotate every quarter, enabling each mentee to work with four mentors per year. The dynamic approach ensures a diverse learning experience for the mentees and a rewarding teaching experience for the mentors.

As an example of successful micromentoring, Belkin CIO Jeff Salisbury helped Nagel to negotiate a learning management system contract that saved more than 20 percent of the LMS budget.

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“At a tech company, our jobs move really quickly. The product timeline for building is very short,” Nagel says. “And in a lean organization like mine where we only have 950 employees and on a team like mine where I’m a team of one—managers needed flexibility to be a mentor when it makes sense.”

The program also includes optional quarterly training for mentors. regardless of seniority. Once managers approve an individual to be a mentor, those employees can update their company profiles to reflect the status.

“Anybody can be a mentor,” Nagel states. “We’re focusing on parts of the job, so if you want PowerPoint skills, you might tap the person whose profile said, ‘Yeah, I’ll help you with PowerPoint presentations.’ It’s really relying on the mentors to put into their description what they’re willing to mentor on.”

About the Author

ATD24 News is your source for news, updates, and session coverage for ATD’s 2024 International Conference & EXPO. conferencedaily.td.org

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