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Maruti Suzuki kickstarts 'umbrella mentoring'

MUMBAI: At a time when the auto industry, like the rest of the economy, is going through a churn, the country's largest carmakerMaruti SuzukiBSE 2.14 % has embarked upon a structured programme to develop mentors within the organisation. The initiative, called "umbrella mentoring", is aimed at quickly developing mentors who can bond with employees to grow a long-term relationship.

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 and to meet the need to develop mentors across the organisation. As the name suggests "umbrella mentoring" is aimed at touching many more employees and covers managerial staff across levels as well as shop floor workers.

Employees across level and functions will benefit from this as they are getting this exposure much early in their career. It is aimed at helping the employees prepare themselves for bigger roles and responsibilities in the organisation and also to make them feel responsible towards growth of mentee in the organisation.

"In our industry, where high growth is often interspersed with periods of low or moderate growth mentors play a magical role of counseling young mentees. They guide them to swim through slowdown and also prepare them for turnaround times with regular and 
opencommunication," says S.Y. Siddiqui, chief operating officer - administration at Maruti.

The concept has been introduced to help employees in bonding seamlessly across locations, which will also help the company prepare people for leadership roles. For instance, 
MarutiBSE 2.14 % Suzuki's marketing team operates through 34 offices, including 17 regional offices and 17 area offices, in addition to the plants at Gurgaon and Manesar and the company may soon have start their new research and development facility at Rohtak in a phased manner. And umbrella mentoring will help in bonding the teams across offices.

Explaining the specific significance of an initiative such as mentoring in a prolonged recessionary 
environment, Siddiqui says: "Mentoring in such case is about managing expectations while still preparing for turnaround. Mentoring on these occasions assumes the roles of introspection on how we can improve ourselves, enhance our productivity so that we are better equipped to face the good times."

The programme will provide platform for mentors to enhance their leadership competencies and help build an open work culture where people are respected and are cohesively aligned with organisation objectives with swift communication channels both ways, says Siddiqui.

Each mentor is assigned 4-5 mentees. The mentors undergo specific training to help them perform their role well. The company is also offering specialised trainings to the aspiring mentors and even mentees. At each level competencies have been defined and trainers have designed content on the basis of the competencies. The umbrella mentoring programme is 
spread to have every associate/employee get connected through differenttouch points and offset the multi-location issues.