Creating a culture of learning where we are growing as individuals and building human connections is essential for personal and professional development and the success of any organisation.
In 2019, our employee survey identified a big appetite for growth opportunities. In response to this, our L&D team (Learning and Development) created a platform that can support our people to enhance their skills by proactively learning from each other in the form of mentoring and reverse mentoring.
So we proudly introduce Connected.
Connected is a Virgin Media internal platform that enables our people to reflect on their own professional goals and network with a growing number of mentors and mentees. Not to forget, it also shares top tips and best practice ideas.
We caught up with our V.P of People Development, David Chivers, to talk more about the advantages of mentoring and the details behind Connected.
Hi David, so let’s talk about Connected but firstly tell me, why should people get into mentoring?
Being a mentor is offering more than just a monthly chat over coffee. It’s being a role model and helping to inspire others. Mentoring is about empowering someone to achieve their ambitions by helping them to navigate their career by offering insights and your own experiences.
It’s also extremely rewarding, you get to watch someone else flourish and you will also develop and grow yourself in a completely different way. Plus, you may even learn a thing or two yourselves through reverse mentoring.
So why did we launch a mentoring app at Virgin Media?
We were getting so many requests each week. The appetite for development at Virgin Media is incredibly high. As you know, we have a broad range of people that work for Virgin Media, from Interns to our Exec Committee and everyone brings their own breadth of experiences.
We strongly believe that the future of working involves driving a coaching culture where both leaders and people can really thrive by learning from each other.
We like to think differently – we wouldn’t be Virgin if we weren’t just a little disruptive and my team is extremely creative so finding a solution that could bring to life a mentoring programme that’s not resource intensive, but is dynamic and fresh was all part of the fun, so we created Connected.
Amazing, so what does Connected do? How does it work?
Everyone in the organisation can sign up to Connected.
The functionality is simple, the person builds their profile, adds in their skills and can have the option of becoming a mentor or mentee or both.
I like to call it the ‘Tinder’ for mentors – you essentially set a criteria of skills you’re looking for and pair yourself with a mentor based on this. For instance, if you specifically wanted someone who has high leadership skills and works in design then you can select these options and it will generate everyone in the programme that has the skills you are looking for. You then pair with that person and they can respond to your request.
It makes you accountable for your own learning and enables people to develop on different areas that may differ form their current skill set.
That’s awesome! So what’s the long-term ambition?
It’s still extremely new, so right now we are focused on making Connected a success. However, future thinking, our aim would be to expand the programme. Potentially look further into coaching options and even broadening the community that has access.
But right now, it’s all about our people and seeing what they make of it and the impact it has on development across our organisation.
I am sure it will be a great success. What are you most proud of?
I have to say I’m most proud of the way my team have worked together to make Connected a reality. They have created this effective platform that brings learning to life. It’s made people accountable for themselves and helped our people to build connections that really matter with colleagues they may never have worked with or met before.