The value of BITC Mentoring Circles
This year, Enterprise employees took part in cross-organisational mentoring circles organised by Business in the Community. DRIVE editor Sarah Williams caught up with two of the participants, Accounting Manager Kully Manku and Branch Manager Charnelle Taylor to understand how the circles worked and the benefits of taking part.
BITC established cross-organisational mentoring circles to promote individual and company development in terms of age, gender, race and wellbeing.
Having worked with BITC for years and been nominated for two BITC awards for her achievements, Kully was asked to take on the role of lead mentor for a new mentoring group of eight people. Charnelle was nominated as a group member. They joined other employees from law, banking, insurance and logistics companies to form a new mentoring circle, meeting six times in a six-month period.
As group lead, Kully wanted to make sure that she was maximising the group’s effectiveness: “I asked what everyone wanted to achieve and where they needed help. What was holding people back? This helped us to create a key topic for every week. We needed to ensure the three hours a month people were taking out from their business delivered value for everyone, and we wanted to work together in our group to create shared goals. We focussed on confidence, personal brand, public speaking, unconscious bias and role models.”
As the youngest person in the circle, Charnelle had some initial concerns: “I wondered what I could possibly have to contribute to the sessions. I quickly realised that I had loads to contribute. A few short years at Enterprise meant I had experienced more than many other people in terms of people management experience, awareness of personal brand and operational skills. This meant that I had a lot to discuss and share.”
Month by month, comparing life at other companies with the Enterprise experience, Kully and Charnelle became aware of the wealth of development opportunities at Enterprise.
“It’s part of our every day and easy to forget,” they said. The circle commented on their unusual drive and competitiveness. It reinforced for both of them that Enterprise has a unique culture.
Kully said, “There is always something going on at Enterprise: mentoring, LGBT events, BAME committees, management development training.”
You learn so much about yourself. I realised that loads of people are holding themselves back.
“I realised how much support I get from my manager,” said Charnelle. “I speak to her every day. Senior management at Enterprise stays close, they are very accessible and visible. I work with my own team every day, training and providing support. I’ve realised that it’s not like that everywhere.”
Either during or after the end of the six months, most members of the mentoring circle have been promoted at their company. Kully puts this down to participants increasing their commercial awareness, confidence and outside the box thinking. Leading the circle helped to hone Kully’s communication skills.
Charnelle recommends mentoring: “You learn so much about yourself. I realised that loads of people are holding themselves back. This group gives you a new perspective, and the confidence to try.”
To learn more about BITC go to https://www.bitc.org.uk/ what-responsible-business.