The HRINZ mentoring programme has been developing the skills and competencies of HR practitioners since its launch 10 years ago. The scheme, which is offered to all HRINZ members, isn’t just for new graduates, but for anyone who wants to develop their skills in HR.
“You can be put into a new job or you might be asked to take on a new project and you may not have all the skills to do that, and so you’re using your mentor to help guide you,” said Brenda Tweedy, research and education manager – HRINZ.
One young mentee was feeling as though she had nothing to contribute to HRINZ events when a mentor contacted her. “I thought it would be the perfect thing for me because I really wanted to be able to talk to someone who understood that I don’t have a lot of experience with HR,” said Naomi Williams, HR systems & process advisor – Telecom.
Williams’s mentor has been helping her to work out how to progress her career and suggesting ways to up-skill. “Every meeting that we have, I have things that I have to take away – like homework, I guess,” she said. She highly recommends the programme to other young HR practitioners looking to make the difficult transition from university to work.
One mentor, who is self-employed, joined out of curiosity. “I’m fairly nosy and I like to know what’s going on elsewhere,” said Debbie Dawson, consultant – Dawson McKenzie. She currently mentors two students and said that much of her work involves helping them assert themselves in an organisation.
“Really a lot of it is about helping them to exert some influence because … they can all do those sorts of things that they learned in a textbook, but it’s actually getting yourself on the agenda to do that,” she said.
As well as satisfying her curiosity, Dawson said that being a mentor entailed a useful process of self-reflection. “I think one of the really good things for someone who mentors is that, of course, if people are asking you things then you have to automatically reflect on your own practice,” Dawson said.
The future of the programme is online with mentees taking the responsibility for matching themselves to and establishing contact with mentors. The programme will also move to a nationwide model so that mentees can source a mentor that best matches their needs from anywhere in the country.