Is Mentoring The New Performance Management?

Young creative team working on a concept

Performance review time is never a phrase employees like to hear, but taking a mentoring approach could be a better solution, according to director of SheSays Melbourne, Kara Jenkins.

Kara Jenkins
Posted by Kara Jenkins

When you are a manager of people, whether it’s from Media, Marketing, Account Service, Strategy or Creative, there’s one time of year when your diary is filled with back-to-back meetings with your team members. Yep, performance review time.

For most employers and employees, it’s often a process driven business function built into the year, with the setting of goals and KPI’s at the beginning, and finishing with self assessments, one on one reviews, and then of course a pay review.

Unfortunately for most, not a lot happens in between, and in this case the employee is often left feeling disappointed with their feedback, unmotivated, and unengaged, with the employer struggling to be engaged with the feedback as they’re probably just crammed all their meetings into any available window and only just read the self-assessment briefly before the meeting.

So why do we continue down the same path? Well things may be set to change, or at least new additional measures put into place.

A report from Deloitte found that “Only 8% of companies in our survey report their performance management process drives high levels of value, while 58% say it is not an effective use of time”.

Millennia’s now make up the larger percentage of our workforce and we are seeing that a yearly performance review model is just not working for them. They want ongoing feedback, positive and constructive, with regular check-ins, the ability to update their goals and, in some cases, even the ability to change career direction in the business.

This is perhaps not as easy to do when you are locked into a performance review process, but there is no reason why you as an employer can’t start a mentor program, or you as an employee can’t request one.

Mentor programs come in all shapes and sizes, but as senior management, I believe it is us who are responsible for driving the performance appraisal relationship with our staff.

Regardless of what the official performance management process is, there is no reason why we can’t provide regular catch-ups over coffee, an open door for discussion, access to training and coaching, ongoing regular feedback and the ability to review and set new goals throughout the year.

One mentor participant in our Who’s Yr Momma programme had this to say ““I think it’s a wonderful initiative to allow women in the sector to not only connect, but use each of our own individual experiences and lessons learnt to assist those who are coming up through the ranks. I only wish it was around when I was a young gun”

As a director of SheSays Melbourne, we have been connecting women together in our Who’s Yr Momma Mentor program for several years now. We have also been very grateful to forge a strong relationship with Mentorloop, our preferred Mentoring platform, where individuals can connect with like-minded professionals in mentor-mentee relationships.

Through SheSays Melbourne, we are planning to re-invigorate the existing mentors and mentees, and change up who people are paired with, as well as target new mentors and mentees to get involved in shaping today’s industry. Get in touch if you’d like to be a mentor/mentee via