While National Mentoring Month marks the calendar in January, we here at V2 celebrate the power of mentorship year-round. It’s in our DNA; when Jean and Maura built the agency 12 years ago, they envisioned an office culture that was decidedly collaborative in spirit, and they’ve since reinforced this vision through the establishment of a robust mentorship program.
The program’s intention is straightforward: integrate employees within an encouraging network of their coworkers to foster thoughtful relationships across staff and empower employees to reach their full potential. Mentors prove to be invaluable resources in teaching their mentees new professional skills and strategies, in addition to serving as friendly faces around the office. It’s that level of comfort and support that allows all employees to flourish in their roles.
The program starts the moment a new V2er walks through the agency’s door. From day one, each employee is paired with a senior-level mentor with whom they regularly meet to discuss their performance and to set goals that will further their skills and careers. Mentors are neither mentees’ boss nor someone to whom they directly report, but rather an individual with a wealth of wisdom and a strong desire to see their protege succeed. The pairing creates a supportive foundation for V2ers from the get-go, and the regularity of interactions promotes the development of a meaningful and lasting relationship.
Mentors come in addition to the traditional employee-manager relationship — though if you know anything about V2, those relationships are far from traditional. Rather than holding intimidating annual performance reviews, managers who work most closely with each employee schedule reviews on a more frequent quarterly basis, which are also strung together by months of ongoing feedback in between. This model encourages a more consistent stream of positive reinforcement, constructive criticism and learning. The well of teaching opportunities — whether an employee has been at the agency for a week or a few years — never runs dry.
Because we understand that mentorship can take on a lot of forms and mentors can exist within a number of different individuals, the role of mentoring isn’t reserved to just the two aforementioned superiors. V2 is structured so that all members of senior management can be hands-on in terms of account work, which enables junior-level people to learn at the elbow of more experienced staff. By pairing novices with experienced employees who can navigate complex clients, communications and career obstacles, V2 leadership has established a sharing circle of invaluable work and life lessons, as well as a steady network of support and inspiration. And beyond the senior team, all members of staff are encouraged to communicate openly and constructively with one another, helping colleagues however they best can.
A key piece of effective mentorship is providing individuals with opportunities for professional growth and development so that they apply what they’ve learned. To this end, V2 provides many opportunities for employees to take on projects and responsibilities that map not only to their current interests and passions, but also to skills sets they wish to cultivate and long-term career goals. V2’s management team communicates transparently with employees when adding them to accounts to gauge their interest in that client’s technology, market and program elements, adjusting teams based on individual needs and interests biannually.
So why does V2 care so much about mentorship? Easy: mentorship nurtures the professional as well as personal wellbeing of employees, and it betters the agency as a whole. Mentoring is an efficient and effective way of encouraging behavior that reflects the agency’s culture, aligning teammates on company expectations and helping them to meet them. By continuously fostering the growth of its employees, V2 creates a uniquely empowered workforce of individuals eager to – and capable of – producing unparalleled work.