At OfferZen Foundation, we’ve developed a mentoring program for software makers across South Africa that has reached more than 170 people over the past 10 months. The principle is simple: We’re connecting senior software engineers to juniors on their team so they can support them over the course of 12 weeks and address things that go beyond traditional onboarding or training.
The feedback on the impact of this program has been very clear: Tech leaders are telling us how the structure of the program is helping them develop their own leadership skills and improve their communication skills. Junior devs are sharing how they’re learning to ask for help and to handle conflict at work better.
“I made a connection through Project Thrive that I can utilize forever. My mentor went through everything I am going through now, and so I could learn a lot from him. With my mentor’s help, I was also able to navigate difficulties at work and improve my skills to achieve the goals that I had set out to achieve at the beginning of the mentoring journey.” Vutivi Shivambu, Project Thrive mentee
In this way, we are:
- Guiding leaders who are responsible for a junior’s growth but aren’t sure exactly how.
- Helping companies who want to measure the impact of their mentoring efforts but don’t have the capacity to run a full program.
- Providing soft-skills training for junior developers, who get a way to practise the lessons that can’t be taught like showing up with low ego, giving and receiving feedback and understanding fundamental processes that lead to a team’s success.
Setting you up with Project Thrive mentoring
Here’s how we can deliver that same program within your tech team in two weeks or less.
1. Agree on your business objectives
We chat with your IT and Talent Management Leaders to align our program with the specific goals for your business. These goals could form part of a change management process where new behaviours or ways of working need to be practised. The goals may also align with new junior hires or additional support for graduates coming into the organisation. These goals are then agreed to and signed off with your internal stakeholders.
From then, we get to work!
2. Communicate with your tech leaders and junior employees
As part of our mentor program set-up, we welcome individuals into the program and begin our program orientation to prepare the mentees and mentors for the program, before facilitating a joint session where each mentoring pair begins their learning journey by committing to a mentoring agreement
3. Weekly monitoring and feedback
We keep track of mentoring sessions happening and milestones met by the pairs, which is useful for reporting and in-time assistance that may be required. Where necessary, we provide resources and guidance to enable the partnership with the tools for success
With the “enough” structure of our program, we’re able to provide detailed quantitative and qualitative reports on the progression of the mentoring program, the engagement of mentoring pairs and adoption of guidance and best practices as it is being adopted within a team. These reports are presented as updates during the 12-week program, and cumulatively as a report of the program overall after the 12 weeks.
5. Connect mentors and mentees with our peer-learning community
We’ve found from our research with our mentoring groups that getting started in tech can feel like a lonely process. Our weekly peer-learning community jams provide an opportunity for juniors to meet and connect with others to share tips and tricks and even learn from seniors in tech who they wouldn’t have otherwise met.
Let’s get you started
With those simple steps, we can have you started with a structured, supportive mentoring program in as little as 2 weeks. Contact us by booking a call to learn more.
Tumi is the Head of OfferZen Foundation. She entered the SA tech scene by joining the startup, OfferZen. At the end of 2018, she spearheaded OfferZen Foundation with the explicit mission of helping people from underserved communities thrive in their tech careers.
Foundation’s latest initiative, Project Thrive, saw over 150 people enter the tech mentoring programme within the first 6 months. Tumi hopes this will help senior developers build empathy for, and empower, junior and intermediate developers through one-on-one mentoring.
In her spare time, Tumi can be found volunteering as a lead workshop facilitator and preparing speakers for TEDxCapeTown, exploring Cape Town for new spots to eat or enjoying a contemplative stroll through Newlands Forest.