Like many companies who rely heavily on having great people, one of the most important components of our success is:
1) Recruiting and developing top talent
2) Retaining our team and giving them all the reasons to stay with us and none of the reasons to look elsewhere
As a company with a large Millennial employee base we have found that one of the keys to retaining talent is ensuring they are not stagnant in their personal growth and that they continue to evolve their professional skill sets. Fostering this takes effort but the millennials passion for growth is an amazing quality that needs to be catered to and when it is catered to can be the biggest asset to your organization.
Our Training Progression: Formal Training to Mentorship Pairings
In the past we have done many things to help our team grow and develop. Some of those initiatives include a formal Leadership Program in which we have a formal curriculum based off the Ken Blanchard book, the New One Minute Manager and meet weekly for organized leadership development training. We have also hired outside trainers and experts to come in and hold workshops and trainings with our team as well as held internal programs like our Power Digital Lunch & Learns and Workshops.
These types of programs are great but the challenge for many companies is they tend to require a major time commitment from the Executive Team or large sums of Capital Investment, both of these things can be hard for small businesses to justify and often gets neglected when CEO’s & CFO’s are looking at the balance sheet trying to determine where to cut costs. We know that cutting these programs is a major mistake and wanted to find a way to put a large emphasis on team development and training without having to break the bank every quarter with expenses and resources. That concept is what triggered me to think of the Power Pairs Mentorship program over the Holiday break at the end of December 2016.
With the Power Pairs Mentorship program we set out to create a new type of employee development program that required very little capital investment and minimal time commitment from the C-level leadership team.
The program turned out to be a HUGE success and something we feel many companies can really benefit from. That is why we want to share exactly what we did with you. As you will see below, that Mission was accomplished and this program ended up having a MAJOR impact on our company and team! Watching the “Power Paris Pitch Day” to conclude this program was by far one of the highlights of my career at Power Digital and an incredibly proud and fulfilling moment for every member of our team.
How We Structured The Mentorship Program
We decided on a loose structure when rolling this program out so that the mentors and mentees would have ownership of the program and individual curriculum. We hoped that this would cause them to really put thought into how to maximize their time and make each mentorship groups program as customized and impactful as possible for those two specific team members.
This may not be the best route for all organizations but with the Power Digital culture being very entrepreneurial and encouraging to taking chances and ownership over our careers it proved to be a great structure that really was a difference maker from other similar programs I have seen.
The Net Net of the Program Structure and Launch
The program was rolled out and launched at our 2017 kick-off meeting. It was about half way through the deck that we used to celebrate 2016 and kick off 2017 and before we even reached the section a few team members asked “what do we have in the way of learning and employee development” so it was something our team was already asking for and excited about.
Pairing Up – 9 Teams of 2 Very Diverse Teammates
When we created the pairs for the nine teams we really wanted to focus on diversity and how we could connect teammates from different disciplines (in our case departments) and who had varying skill sets and unique talents. Our goal was to pair the teams up so that the mentee benefited but the mentor also would grow and learn by teaching the mentee. It has been longtime proven and known that teaching someone a skill set takes an entire different level of understanding than just knowing it yourself. That becomes even more true when teaching someone who has very little in common with you.
We also wanted to use this mentor “partnership” to help team members that maybe were not as close of friends or knew each other that well and empower them to really get to know each other. This pairing mentality worked better than expected and the pairs bonded in a way that was incredibly valuable to our business.
The Power Pairs and core topics
Here is a summary of the Power Pairs and core topics they focused their mentorship program on. You will see some great diversity not only in the pairs and departments but in the topics they focused on. There was a wide range of areas from analytics to emotional intelligence to marketing strategy and account management.
Highlighting Some Major Wins
The program was a major success as every group did a phenomenal job and really grew together. With that said some of the most notable wins included:
Interactive Guide on Power Digital Account Management Process: Makenna and Britney created an interactive Guide on the Power Digital Account Manager process that acts as the perfect resource for new team members joining the Power Digital team or younger team members working to become a Account Manager. It is a huge on-boarding and training asset that will last for years to come.
Proprietary New Analytics and Reporting Process Around Measuring PR Placements: this was a HUGE win for Power Digital. We have been looking for better ways to measure the impact of PR for the last two years and through this mentorship program Bill and Sam really solved it. This will help our clients make more money and more intelligently invest in PR but also likely make Power Digital an additional $25k – $50k this year!
Cross Channel Strategy and Understanding: this was a HUGE win from this program. In our industry the services and focal areas of the various departments can really differ. By teaming up mentors with mentees from different departments both individuals really grew and learned. Not only did they learn and better understand each others departments which was very valuable to them and Power Digital but they also build friendships and rapport across those departments to assure that our team is collaborative and continues to avoid “culture clicks” that can be very negative on an organization.
Landed a New Client: Mike and Pat our group that was focused on learning the Power Digital sales process actually generated a lead that has now closed as a Power Digital client with a revenue value of about $75k +/-. Not only did our team get way better but they made the company money in the process.
What We Learned From This Process
This program was a major success. For a cost of $1,000 we reaped the benefits outlined above. In addition to the small monetary investment the time investment from myself and the rest of the Executive Team was very minimal. All in, I probably invested about 5 hours of work into this program. Writing up this summary to share with all of you was the bulk of that time:)
If there is one thing that I have learned both as a millennial myself and managing millennials it is that we have a deep desire to get better and grow. If your organization is not scratching this itch you will not have success keeping your people and your team will not work hard for you. If you cater to this and get creative like we have on helping your people grow and get better it will pay off in a big way! I hope that this program gives you inspiration and a road map to launch similar programs in your organizations!
Co-founder & CEO
Power Digital Marketing