The notebook is a place for interesting people to say interesting things. Today, it’s the turn of Ed Johnson, CEO of mentoring platform Pushfar.
Businesses have got to start giving employees time for mentoring
When we ask any leadership team about whether they think that mentoring is valuable, they almost all say it is. In fact, I’m yet to talk to a senior leader who has dismissed mentoring as a waste of time. We’ve never had to “sell” the idea of mentorship and its value.
Yet, despite talking a good talk about its value for employees, the business, and themselves, so many businesses seem to fall short of dedicating any real time or resource to mentoring. As a result, the schemes and initiatives are in danger of, and often do, fall flat. Only last week I was working with a large insurance firm who have “best place to work” as one of their core objectives and yet they can’t seem to allow their sales and support staff an hour a month to access mentoring.
If organisations are serious about retaining, developing, and engaging with their employees, they need to start with mentoring. It’s an extremely simple concept, and we all have knowledge, skills and experience that someone else can likely benefit from. Every employee should be signed up as a mentor, a mentee or both!
It takes only two simple questions to find out which employees are best matched together – “what are your skills and experiences that others can value?” and “what are your goals that someone with experience can help you with?” Give them an hour a month, in which to have conversations, feel supported and empowered. You may just find that employee churn rate drops, people feel more connected, silos are broken, and engagement is boosted. If managers and leaders are serious about employee wellbeing, they need to give mentoring time and space to work its magic.
Downgrade to a “dumb” phone is refreshing
It was a realisation that every person on my tube carriage was glued to their mobile (I include myself) and that rather depressed me. So, despite my job in a tech startup, I’ve forced myself to move across to an old Nokia – now referred to as “dumb” phones, rather than smartphones.
It’s given me far more of an opportunity to focus on being proactive, rather than reactive and I would highly recommend it for peace of mind, eyesight and the opportunity to be in the moment, whilst still knowing that texts and phone calls can still reach you.
University isn’t always the right choice
I was asked to give a lecture last week to a group of 30 or so students who are paying around £9,000 a year for a three-year university degree on entrepreneurship. When they realised I had never been to university or even finished my A-Levels, their response was one of shock. That reaction is one that worries me. As a society, we have to find a way to educate people who are bright enough to attend university that there are often lots of alternative more viable, cheaper options that can be explored first.
Behind Closed Doors: The secret life of London private members’ clubs
If, like me, walking around London you’re fascinated about the goings on out of sight, the history of London’s people and the role that clubs, cliques and their influence have played, I wholeheartedly recommend Behind Closed Doors. An insightful read into the evolution of members’ clubs from those in St James’s to the more modern clubs popping up today. London has more than 400 members’ clubs!