Time for Mentoring

When Your Mentors and Mentees Don't Have Time for Mentoring

No one can put more hours in the day, but we can give you a few tips and strategies to make the most of the hours you – and your mentors and mentees – do have.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Pros and Cons of virtual mentoring

Mentoring programs come in all shapes and size; and often time is not a "one size fits all". Often times there are many factors to consider when pairing a mentor and a mentee; do their criteria align, what is the availability schedule, and is location an issue? In the digital age we now live in, distance is no longer a factor; in fact, a mentor in the UK could easily be matched with one in the U.S. However, as with any mentoring pair, there are pros and cons to virtual mentoring.


With virtual mentoring, one is exposed to much more than they would have  choosing a mentor in the same office as where they are located. For starters, they  have a much larger pool of potential matches to choose from. It could be good exposure for the mentee as well, for example they could be matched with a mentor based in the U.S. and could find that their talent could be used over there. As well as a larger pool of matches and potential exposure, you could be matched with a mentor from a different culture with a different set of values which one might adopt and use for their own career development.


Language is only about 25% verbal with the rest being interpersonal. When using virtual mentoring, sometimes it’s harder to establish a connection with the pair because you simple don’t have that face time value. So it is hard for a mentee and mentor to gauge body language and social queues due to the lack of face-to-face communication. Another challenge can be technology. Make sure the mentor and mentee have agreed upon what technology they will be using, (whether it’s by  webcam, Skype or email) before starting so they can ensure that they can minimize as many communication barriers as possible.


Rest assured, there is a mentoring program out here for everyone. We no longer  have to view distance as an obstacle, for your new mentor may be just a click away!
Visit Insala today for more information or to schedule a demo today.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Retirees Stay Connected in the Financial Services Sector

Typically retirees, especially middle to senior management level often leave their jobs after retiring with valuable intellectual property, along with customer and employee relationships, and a "wealth of expertise about the industry and their respective functions." Wise  organizations understand  the importance of staying connected to these important individuals and  run alumni programs, assisted with technology.

With the help of an Alumni technology platform you could stay connected with  retirees on  a wide array of activities such as;

  • Special projects or training
  • Mentoring
  • Support with ongoing business processes

In addition to this, retirees also benefit by continuous networking opportunities with other retirees and current employees. 

Retirees should be considered an organization's extra resource for historical knowledge and with alumni services, an extra possibility for recruitment. In an earlier blog, it was discovered that one in four retirees return to work within two years. Instead of spending money looking for external recruitment, your retirees could be a recruiting opportunity overlooked - and save you money by re-hiring them. 

Retirees in the Financial Services sector are typically wealthy - and wealthy retirees are typically healthy and active, giving them better abilities, mentally and physically, to be active in business. This includes maintaining networks, including your client's contacts and other senior executives. With their large, connected networks they serve as valuable go-to experts. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Challenges for Small Alumni Programs

Last month, we looked at challenges that large alumni programs face. Now we look at issues that may plague smaller alumni programs.

The number one challenge for small alumni programs are resources. To get tangible results, direct involvement with alumni would be more important because simply, there are fewer people. You'll need to maximize the value each alumni member plays in the program. Smaller programs typically have smaller budgets, smaller staff, may or may not have technology - specifically designed for managing alumni.

However, expectations for the organization for the results that they are promised may still be the same as they are for large programs. The demand is the same. But in many cases the workload may become overwhelming. 


Divide alumni into two distinct categories: low-touch, high-touch. Determine what basic services and communications will go to all alumni. When designing communication and process think about your two groups.

  • Low-touch. You may create a low-touch, or "everyone else" category. These are individuals that the organization will continue to share information with and invite to participate in the program, but in reality this a more programmatic activity. The ROI on this group should be identified appropriately and separately when measuring and thinking about, or discussing, your alumni program with your internal leadership and executive committee. They're important, but let's be realistic - resources only go so far, and for this group we are clear what the program is about: keeping in touch.
  • High-touch. This is something special. These are individuals who you may segment into several categories, each category having a few - to hundreds - of members. Small program administers work closely with internal stakeholders to get the most value out of the activities and transactions with each member. For example, VIP Retirees. These individuals have retired from the organization but have some important market position, customer relationships, importance to the organization/firm. They may even help the program administer engage other alumni. Internal stakeholders may have direct access because of your work and value for all parties is understood. These notables have their own line in your reporting for their potential ROI. Another example would be "high flyers." These are your A-game players who left the firm for another organization, maybe even a competitor and you now become the conduit to ensure the relationship between the organization and the high-flyer remains enact. You may assign a mentor, internally, who will stay in touch with this person, track them in their career, and invite them back for new potential positions. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Diversity in the Financial Sector

Charitable time off,
Women's flexibility programs,
Celebrating Black History Month,
LGBTQ communities,
International mobility,

...are just the tip of the iceberg for the innovation that financial services organizations provide to employees to promote internal goodwill and enhance tolerance and diversity. Why?

The financial services sector, in general, understood very early the importance of reflecting themselves to the ever growing diversity of the marketplace.

EY is well known for their global entrepreneur of the year competition and awards. This program has now stratified into segmentation of entrepreneurs geographically and by gender. For example, "Asian Women Entrepreneur of the Year." It's not diversity for the sake of diversity, but rather diversity for the sake of survival and intelligent recognition of a multicultural globalization economy.

The financial service industry is a beacon for changing human rights in the most unlikely of places around the globe by elevating and recognizing the talents of all citizens from every country and walk of life.

Capitalists For Good

Catalyst is a well known international women's development organization. Many leading FS executives have chaired to recognize and promote the development of women in all sectors. 

It's getting to the point of extreme specificity when you have an organization, like EY, indexing the percentage of women - year over year - in board seats in the world's largest power and utility companies. Way to go! 

Financial Services Diversity Leadership Awards are given out every year in February by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in the United States. The NGLCC names Top Financial Services Firms for their practices. Among the list are the world's best and brightest FS executives and organizations. 

We live in a time where diversity is driving business thinking and understanding regulation advisory services and even tax implications, as with the recent ruling for gay marriage in the United States. All major FS organizations signed on to the Amicus Brief for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of gay marriage. While many of them are starting tax preparation services focused on gay couples or advising governments around the globe on changing policies to support an inclusive, diverse world. 

Insala is proud to have supported both Deloitte and EY with technology and consulting services that helped shape more inclusive working environments. In particular, Deloitte's career development initiatives, supported by Insala, led to recognition by Catalyst.org and many other awards in the ten years of partnership. 

Reverse Mentoring for Financial Services

The financial services industry is built on high uses of technology, specialized knowledge and efficiency. Senior managers who have grown up in the financial service sector are abreast of, and proficient on using technology. But here's the thing: financial services (FS) are known for early adoption especially in consulting. That means new technologies are always being tried and integrated, which can be overwhelming for anyone - seasoned in the high pressure FS. Before you pull your hair out, FS professionals, you might want to look into organizations, mentoring programs, and discover the benefits of reverse mentoring.

Supporting Technology Adoption 

The mentor might be sitting right outside your office, multi-tasking on periscope, snap chat, Instagram, Facebook, and their daily work assignments all while using the technology your comfortable using. 

Reverse mentoring is taking advantage of skill sets of people in all levels of the organization who perhaps might be unlikely mentors traditionally. Reverse mentoring, also known as digital mentoring, is clearly beneficial when we are talking about technology. 

Diversity and Managerial Skills 

Reverse mentoring is also used for matters of diversity and social responsibility. What does that mean? Specifically, people who are very different, with different ideas, backgrounds, life experiences, culture, orientation, may be tapped on the shoulder to enhance FS professionals worldview, helping them to become a more well-rounded consultant, manager, or colleague.

One program running in the United Kingdom, by an organization named Radius, actually connects LGBTQ individuals with board members of FS organizations to help them better understand what it means to be "out" in the workplace.

Insala celebrates its twenty year anniversary in April 2016. Most of those years were spent supporting the world's leading financial services organizations. Insala has always been a young technology company, providing reverse mentoring for its clients.

Challenges for Large Alumni Programs

Alumni program challenges for any organization will differ depending on the size of the alumni program that is to be launched. It’s essential to firstly understand these challenges before the alumni program commences. In addition adhering to the below solutions provided will result in positive feedback as well as successful ROI's and increased retention in the organization. 

What are the biggest challenges for large alumni programs?
  • Communication: Communication is number one because it is imperative to the organization as it is to the alumni as well as the current employee - really, this is the key element for all parties. If the organization fails to inform their employees of the goal of the alumni program, or the specifics, or even if the "buzz" sounds more like "crickets," the program will never reach its potential. 
  • Alignment: The big idea for a large alumni program is current employees understand that they are the future alumni from day one and the organization must adopt progressive human resources, policies, and development experiences that extend from on boarding to post-employment consistently. Employees cannot have an inconsistent experience in a large organization and then be expected to be brand ambassadors years after they leave. 
  • Involvement: If the whole organization is allowed to partake in the program, then everyone in it may examine the actual program but fail to ever go further in creating relationships. This is exactly the opposite of what the program is intended for. 
  • Relationships: Larger programs have a higher risk that relationships won't work partly because the human side is lost. Not every employee is going to be  satisfied in a large organization environment and therefore may not be suitable brand ambassadors. 
How has Insala eliminated these challenges?
  1. Before the program is  launched we recommend that organizations  create a strong, exciting philosophy that engages the entire workforce around the benefits of an alumni network. Overcome the challenges and fears that are well known, for example: top talent going to competitors. Marketing campaigning for the program that will enhance involvement but also provide a clear, concise effort to communicate to employees with what the program is all about. This means continuous communication, the benefits of the program and why the organization is doing it. 
  2. Managers and leadership must agree on the ground rules of the journey from employment to alumni. For example: attitudes must be positive when people take the decision to leave. They must not be seen as the enemy, or turn coat. Treat all leaders with respect, dignity, respecting their life decisions and encouraging ongoing communication and involvement via the alumni network. 
  3. In large programs we have created specialized alumni software communication tools that will remind those in the program on specific items that they need to do, gather feedback, log and update goals that way the organization receives the data they need to support alumni and to benefit the organization from the alumni engagement. 
  4. Data and privacy. A large organization's alumni program is truly a service for the internal market; business development, CRM, re-employment, and referrals. For this to work smoothly, the large alumni program must have access to fantastic amounts of data that is up to date and easily manipulated for reporting purposes to very different audiences. Easier said than done. 

Insala's alumni solutions support the world's largest and most sophisticated multinational, multilingual, matrix, decentralized regional geographic programs with tremendous abilities for automation of data, integration with internal systems and reporting. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Become Irresistible for Your Alumni

We’ve all heard about the war for talent, but have you heard about the war for alumni? Possibly not, but it's real. Basically, top talent have usually worked for several organizations and are being courted by multiple alumni programs.

So how do you position yourself and ultimately win the war for alumni? Make yourself irresistible. 

First of all, you must look at what attracts top talent. Why did they choose to join your organization? What differentiates your organization? How much of that can you maintain for your alumni? 

When you look at the various segments within alumni such as;
  • Alumni - 
  • VIP/High Potentials - 
  • Friends of the firm -  
(Some organizations also encourage current employees to partake in their alumni community)
We know all the great reasons, or ways alumni assists your organization, but why would they choose to engage with you? Especially when they are no longer on the payroll!

What does an alumni program offer these groups? 
  • Job Opportunities
  •  Networking Opportunities 
  • Special Events 
  • Alumni Stories 
  • Access to Company News & Info 
  • Exclusive Perks & Discounts 
  • Career Development & Services
This is not an exhaustive list, but if you are thinking about these components, or even better, you are looking at segmented populations of alumni, recognizing different outreach appeals differently helps get you on the right track.