In June this year, IEG won an award for having the best mentoring program in the World Bank Group.

Capture-mcgrath-ragavan.PNGI am so proud of this recognition because it validates the progress we have made since the inception of IEG's mentoring program in 2014.

In my view, mentoring is a powerful tool that can contribute to advancing professionalization in evaluation by complementing more formal investments in accreditation, certification and tertiary education.

Research by the Conference Executive Board and other organizations points to the value of mentoring in terms of retention, staff morale and performance, and overall business results.   IEG’s evaluations of Learning and Results in World Bank Operations and the (forthcoming) assessment of self-evaluation systems in the World Bank also speak to the importance of transferring tacit knowledge – through informal staff-to-staff conversations and mentoring relationships.

Five years ago, when our employees raised mentoring as a priority, our leadership was fully supportive. We knew that the success of our team depended on the professional growth and personal fulfillment of our staff. In order to take on more challenging evaluations and new methods, it was important that our staff were fully equipped to live up to the challenge.

But, making it a priority was not enough. It was also important to think creatively about how we could build and sustain a program that served staff and business needs.

The Building blocks

To signal our commitment, we ensured that the mentoring program had senior-level sponsorship at director-level and a dedicated core team of staff from across the organization, representing different grades and levels of experience. We recruited specialist mentors from outside the World Bank Group to complement the advice and support we received from our internal Human Resources and Learning departments. We assigned champions to ensure people signed up, were matched, and that everyone remained committed to make it work for themselves and each other.

And, of course, we created feedback loops throughout the different stages of the program, including regular engagement with the mentees and mentors by our senior leadership team.

Ultimately, much of the program’s success came down to the commitment and time people spent doing the mentoring: both mentors providing support and insights, or just explaining how things work around IEG or the World Bank Group, and mentees taking time to request meetings, ask questions, and share perspectives. Invariably, mentors have emphasized how much they have grown through their engagement with mentees. This mutual benefit is rewarding—beyond the team award IEG won—and contributes to a changing fabric in IEG.

The results have been impressive. Since the program launched in 2014, over 70 staff have participated as mentors and mentees. In a recent survey, 96 percent of our participants said that they achieved their expected objectives in the program, while 88 percent said they were satisfied with either their mentor or mentee pair.

Beyond Mentoring

We recognize that mentoring is not the only tool needed to support our staff’s professional growth.  IEG is investing in several other programs to make sure our staff have the knowledge and skills to succeed and grow.

In 2014, IEG introduced a Technology, Good Practice and Innovation (TGIF) learning series.  This weekly series of one-hour, lunch-time workshops has helped IEG staff strengthen skills in dozens of areas, including Tableau and Box, (Technology), delivering engaging presentations, social media, and user-centric design (Good Practice), and Knowledge Management and Business Intelligence (Innovation).

In 2015, IEG expanded its Mentoring program to include a coaching component.  The coaching program asked staff to identify topics they wanted to learn about and topics in which they had expertise to share with others.  We matched staff interested in a topic with staff able to share knowledge in that area.  In its first year, 22 IEG staff volunteered as coaches leading technical master classes and one on one sessions on topics including Impact Evaluation, Sovereign Risk Analysis, and Evaluating Knowledge Products.

Finally, we recognize the importance of investing in new staff early to shorten the time it takes for them to become positive contributors.  To that end, in 2015, IEG introduced a new staff learning roadmap, to be filled out by hiring managers.  The roadmap provides steps—courses to take, publications to read, people to meet— for staff new to IEG to get acquainted with the department, the systems, and the people, with the goal of getting them integrated quickly and efficiently to become IEG Influencers.   In addition, this year, IEG will relaunch a face-to-face onboarding course for new staff.

Mentoring, learning, onboarding, and coaching programs are a few of the ways IEG works to make sure our staff have the skills and knowledge to succeed. 

What approaches have you used to achieve similar goals?

Comments

Submitted by Glenys Jones on Tue, 07/26/2016 - 17:38

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Agreed. This article also highlights the importance of recognition through awards for outstanding performance. Feedback and encouragement through Awards for excellence and achievement can play a vital role in promoting exemplary practice, fostering continuous improvement and engendering an adaptive management culture. If we are interested in promoting exemplary practice, we should all be encouraging the establishment of awards for excellence!

Glenys, certainly it is important to reward people for things they do in outstanding ways, as much as acknowledging all the many good contributions people make on a day-to-day basis. What we did in the mentoring program was driven much more by the importance of and demand for mentoring than for any award--the program is the reward in itself. This does not diminish that I am immensely proud of my team for having won the award and happy for them that they and their hard work has been recognized well beyond IEG.

Submitted by sheikh khalid on Wed, 07/27/2016 - 03:24

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Recognition of prior learning (RPL), prior learning assessment (PLA), or prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR), describes a process used by organizations, training institutions, colleges and universities around the world to evaluate skills and knowledge acquired outside the classroom for the purpose of recognizing competence against a given set of standards or learning objectives. RPL is practiced in any country employing vocational education and training processes as a means of training individuals in competencies required in the workplace. It is also used in some private and public sector organizations for the purpose of recruitment, performance management, career and succession planning. Methods of assessing prior learning are varied and include: evaluation of prior experience gained through volunteer work, previous paid or unpaid employment, standardized exams or observation of actual workplace behavior. The essential element of RPL is that it is an assessment of evidence provided by an individual to support their claim for competence against a given set of standards or learning objectives. RPL is often confused with Credit Transfer or assessments conducted in order to recognize advanced standing or for assigning academic credit. The essential difference between the two is that RPL considers evidence of competence that may be drawn from any aspect of an applicants professional or personal life. Credit Transfer and advanced standing deal primarily with an evaluation of academic performance as it relates to a particular field of study and whether or not advanced standing may be granted towards the gaining of additional qualifications. World Examination Services shall be please to offer its services if anyone require,visit www.wes-edu.org for futher info or call 00923009243419 regards

Submitted by Sylli Joanes Hi... on Sun, 07/31/2016 - 03:26

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This initiative is amazing. This is an opportunity for young Professional to grow up quickly in terms of professionalism. By the way, how someone working outside the world bank group can benefit from this mentoring program? Thanks in advance for your reply.

Sylli, thanks for your comment and appreciation. It is actually not only young people who are partnering with a mentor. We haven't opened it up to outsiders, but I believe some of the regional and global evaluation associations are trying to do something similar. Check it out with them.

Submitted by Debazou Yantio on Mon, 08/01/2016 - 19:36

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This experience is really informative. How did you dealt with the workload and work program of the mentors and mentees? In other words, hwo did ypu get the mentoring time for your staff? In similar organizations, mentoring is overlooked because there is no institutional incentives to engage in, especially the recognition of time devoted to mentoring and learning. I would like to hear from you. Congratulations.

Debazou, thanks for your comment (nice to "see" you online). At the institutional level, the answer is that we program 2 weeks of staff time for training. This can be used for formal training but also more informal training like mentoring. But, my impression is that our staff are so keen on supporting each other that they make time for mentoring relationships (on both sides), whether formally charged to training budget or not.

Hi, Debazou, We encourage mentoring participants to try to spend about 1 hour per month together as a rough guide to make it manageable (if they can do more, that's fantastic). Even those who are able to spend less time report real benefits in our most recent mentoring program evaluation, such as: 91% were motivated to improve performance at work from the mentoring engagement 83% learned new knowledge and skills useful in their work from the mentoring relationship 100% were satisfied with the mentoring matches 67% achieved more than half of their stated learning goals/objectives One comment sums it up with "What is important is mutual motivation..." We also encourage staff to record their mentoring participation as part of their professional development. The institution is also including mentoring in the developmental actions (recommendations to be a mentee or a mentor) in the annual talent review process. So we are working on the incentives, but the real credit goes to the staff motivation to support each other. regards, Kristin

Submitted by Portia Ndhlovu on Wed, 08/17/2016 - 11:24

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Congratulations to you,the team on the award and commendable that the Independent Evaluation Group responded positively to a gap that employees had identified.It is true that Mentoring is a powerful tool towards advancing professionalization.Formally, I have been privileged through my career to be part of mentoring program as a mentee to Trainee Accountants. Organisations nowadays face a myriad of challenges ; in managing different generations coupled with the 4th Industrial Revolution where Klaus Schwab states that talent more than capital will be a more critical factor of production.Companies are as a result under pressure to attract, develop and retain high caliber of talent .Millennials being the fastest growing generation in workplace , responding to their complex needs is not only progressive but adaptive to the changing environment .Independent Evaluation Group is ahead of the curve because it has already developed and is implementing the Mentoring program which includes other tools apart from mentoring. According to Jenna Atkinson a corporate training consultant; Millennials will need to be equipped to assume leadership positions sooner than other generations have had to.Problem would be that the crop in pipeline has much stronger technical skills and lack soft skills therefore urging companies to be more proactive rather than reactive to a minimize future shortage of suitable candidates to fill leadership vacancies. The Independent Evaluation Group through its program is managing this risk in that its program pairs employees from stakeholders,employees on varying grades and levels along with Directors of Organisation in display of their commitment. In a survey conducted by Development Dimensions International ; it found that for every $1000 invested in employees soft skills training, employers earn a return of $4000.Furthermore Atkinson states that : > Millennials want to make an impact in Organisation immediately and that engaging them in training early on is likely to increase retention percentage as well as loyalty to Companies Independent Evaluation Group model is exemplary because new recruits undergo new staff learning roadmap. > Employee training should achieve personal and professional goals while offering opportunities for growth , IEG has addressed this challenge by incorporating coaching component as well as TGIF ( Technology , Good Practice and Innovation ) > Atkinson argues that Millennials want short bursts of training which in the main have a shorter,consistent span,while it is educational must be entertaining .Again,IEG understood this well and ensured that its TGIF learning series is weekly broken into one hour sessions and include social media workshop as well as innovative ideas development . Independent Evaluation Group certainly looks poised for future management and the 4th Industrial Revolution employees whose innovative ideas ,analytical skills ,adaptive managerial competence will be key to leading workforce through the changing environment or disputation.Secondly contribute towards achieving goal 8 of Decent Work and Economic Growth goal in the SDGs ( Sustainable Development Goal ). Continue breaking new ground and all the best for you and the team .

Submitted by Hala El Gohary on Mon, 08/22/2016 - 16:40

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Congratulation on the success of the initiative and thank you for sharing your experience and lessons learned. I am curious to know how the employees raised mentoring as the priority five years ago? Have you conducted a survey at the time? How are the staff assessed those who are mentoring in terms of their capability and those who request mentoring in terms of determining the area of improvement? I assume this initiative is expected to continue and continuously improve?

Submitted by Kristin Strohecker on Mon, 08/29/2016 - 11:20

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Hi, Hala, The need for mentoring emerged from consulting with staff and from receiving feedback from them in multiple forms. One form was a survey that was designed knowing already that there was a need and desire for mentoring from staff and that we needed to further understand their specific career, organizational, and specialization learning needs. since then the program has been adjusted based on program evaluations and ongoing participant feedback. We do not assess staff on mentoring capability but instead work with the idea that the basic training, tools, and resources we provide to all participants, combined with their willingness to engage and intent to contribute will prepare them enough for success. We are continuing the program and will evolve it to support the ongoing staff needs.

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