The professional journey through the complex world of information technology can be a slippery slope. With all the challenges of demanding project work and the constant pressure of staying up-to-date with the rapidly evolving technologies, it is easy to become overwhelmed and swept up by the dynamic nature of the industry.
A well-structured platform for professional development and growth provided by an organization can play a crucial role in navigating one’s career and steering it in the right direction. At HTEC, we have established a number of mechanisms and procedures designed to ensure that all our employees receive the necessary guidance and support for quality work and continued growth. One of the key mechanisms in this process is our HTEC Group’s MentorshipTM program.
Trust the process
The spirit of growing together and helping each other in being the best versions of our professional selves has been embedded into the HTEC team from the earliest days. While our HTEC team was smaller, all of the activities that would fall under the umbrella of mentoring were taking place in an informal, spontaneous way, through working together and sharing our experiences.
As our HTEC team steadily grew, we began to identify the necessity of devising a more structured approach to mentoring that made sure that no member of our growing team would fall through the cracks and not receive the necessary guidance. For this purpose, we have devised and implemented the first version of our mentoring program.
True to our HTEC engineering nature and the impulse to improve and optimize, we have conducted the program, monitored it and assessed its efficacy over time, identified areas for improvement, and gotten back to the drawing table. The result of this process is HTEC Mentorship™ 2.0, an updated program that maintains the best aspects of the previous version and builds upon them, addressing its deficiencies and providing a powerful platform for professional development in a fast-growing environment.
HTEC Mentorship™ 2.0
The foundation of HTEC’s MentorshipTM program is the belief that the mentor-mentee relationship is not a one-way street, but an open and reciprocal partnership that provides value for both parties. The HTEC’s MentorshipTM program sets clear boundaries and removes any previous uncertainties between the roles and responsibilities of mentors and any other superiors (team leaders, project managers, etc.). It defines the role of a mentor as a supportive facilitator of the learning process of mentees, enabling them to develop their skills by providing guidance and support along their chosen career path.
The program is rooted in the values of trust, mutual respect, transparency, and active communication, with full respect to the individuality of each mentee. It is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, but a flexible framework that takes into account the specific career point of mentees and respects their interests and aspirations.
The HTEC’s MentorshipTM program is built on three pillars:
Conversation: honest and transparent two-way communication in a safe and confidential environment. Talks between mentors and mentees are always held one-on-one and encouraged to take place as frequently as needed to ensure sufficient support and guidance for professional growth with respect to each party’s time and responsibilities, but never less than once every two weeks. Ideally, the outcome of these talks is a clear and actionable set of goals for a defined timeframe.
Feedback: mentors provide timely information on the mentee’s progress, without any strictly defined timelines but as often and early as the mentor deems necessary to ensure that the mentees can efficiently act upon it. It is essential that the feedback is objective, well-intentioned, and comes from the right place. The mentor is also responsible for creating a safe and trustful environment that encourages dialogue instead of monologue and enables the mentee to provide feedback as well, allowing the mentor room to grow and improve their approach.
Recognition: Mentors are encouraged to share information about the positive course of the mentees’ development, whether with their superiors or the team as a whole. The recognition of the mentee’s effort and progress should be as concrete as possible, highlighting specific achievements and the steps taken in their professional development.
The important distinction in HTEC’s MentorshipTM program is that everyone has a right to be mentored, but not an obligation. This distinction serves to once again respect the individual perspectives on the course of their growth. On the other hand, choosing to have a mentor does not entail any sort of professional ineptitude, but only a desire to continue and accelerate growth through a structured and dedicated approach.
Our HTEC team members can choose a mentor after spending at least three months in a company. The timeframe enables team members to get acclimated to their work and environment and gain a strong understanding of HTEC’s operating principles.
Mentors are assigned based on a variety of factors (experience, technical skillset, character fit, etc.) in order to create the best possible match. In order to ensure the necessary degree of dedication, HTEC mentors can not have more than three mentees at any point. All HTEC team members can become mentors, and they can even both mentor and have mentors themselves simultaneously. Becoming a HTEC mentor is strictly voluntary, as forcing anyone into a role they do not wish would be detrimental to either party.
The work of HTEC mentors is regularly assessed and evaluated in order to ensure proper guidance and support for the mentees. If for any reason either mentor or mentee wishes to terminate the relationship, we have installed clear mechanisms that enable the transition. The process of mentoring needs to be beneficial to everyone involved, and preparing for the possibility that it may not always be this way is a necessary part of the process.
Marko Anić, HTEC’s Engineering Manager, has been deeply involved in the formulation of the MentorshipTM program. Alongside his colleagues from HTEC’s Evaluation Subcommittee, he has monitored the program, assessed the results, and addressed any of its deficiencies through the updated and improved 2.0 version.
“Mentorship™ 2.0 is all about ‘growing yourself by growing others’, and that value has been a part of HTEC DNA from the start. We just put a process around it and gave it a name and a ™ symbol. We did all that because we wanted to push this amazing aspect of HTEC’s culture to the forefront and give it proper support and visibility. With Mentorship™ 2.0 we can streamline the mentoring practice and build a sustainable community of mentors that will nurture and improve the program as HTEC continues to grow and develop.” — Marko Anić
The very nature of HTEC’s innovative and demanding work on relevant projects in a broad range of industries is in itself a powerful platform for professional growth. As a supportive and nurturing organization, we wish to enhance that platform with a structured approach that provides an opportunity to set the course of your career and accelerate the journey.