Maruti Suzuki Kickstarts ‘Umbrella Mentoring’

The country’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, has embarked upon a structured programme called “umbrella mentoring”, aimed at developing mentors within the organisation who can grow a long-term relationship with employees. Though mentoring is not new to the organisation, this is the first time it is being taken up in a structured way in line with the company’s business expansion plans. As the name suggests, ‘umbrella mentoring’ is aimed at touching a large number of employees. It covers managerial staff across levels as well as shop floor workers. 
The programme is aimed at giving employees across levels and functions such exposure early in their careers. Besides, it looks to help the employees prepare themselves for bigger roles in the organisation and to make them feel responsible towards the growth of their mentees. 
“In our industry, where high growth is often interspersed with periods of low or moderate growth, mentors play the magical role of counselling young mentees,” says SY Siddiqui, chief operating officer – administration at the company. The mentors guide them to swim through the slowdown and prepare them for the turnaround with regular and open communication, he adds. 
The concept has been introduced to help employees in bonding seamlessly across locations, which will also help the company prepare people for leadership roles. Maruti Suzuki’s marketing team operates through 34 offices, including 17 regional offices and 17 area offices, in addition to plants at Gurgaon and Manesar. The company may soon start their new research and development facility at Rohtak in a phased manner. 
Explaining the specific significance of such an initiative in a prolonged recessionary environment, Siddiqui says: “Mentoring in such cases is about managing expectations while still preparing for the turnaround.” 
It helps with introspection on “how we can improve ourselves, enhance our productivity so that we are better equipped to face the good times,” he adds. The programme will provide a platform for mentors to enhance their leadership competencies and help build an open work culture where people are respected and cohesively aligned with organisational objectives with swift two-way communication channels, says Siddiqui. 
Each mentor has been assigned four to five mentees. Mentors undergo training. Some of the competencies considered while training mentors include communication, influencing, conflict resolution, and problem solving, decision making, team bonding. Training for mentees covers responsibility, optimisation, alignment, dedication, motivation, attitude, passion. The trainers deploy a combination of games and activities, video clips, discussions and role plays, self introspection, case studies. The company is also offering specialised trainings to the aspiring mentors and mentees. At each level, competencies have been defined and trainers have designed content on the basis of the competencies. 

Source: The Economic Times

Date: 24th September 2013

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