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mentoringWe all know how difficult it is to find the time for our daily work duties, managing compliance, and running a business in a very competitive market, so when are we going to find time to mentor others within the RTO? Why do people mentor? And more importantly, how do they do it?

The answers to these questions are as unique as people themselves, yet there are some common factors. People become involved in mentoring so they can learn a new skill, advance their career, share their experiences and knowledge, and expand their personal networks, just to name a few examples.

A mentoring program could support an RTO's staff members to develop further skills and knowledge in areas such as: adult learning, competency-based assessment, quality and compliance, and create a framework to promote continuous professional development.

It is human nature to want to improve. Our ongoing need for knowledge drives us to engage in relationships that can support our growth. Mentoring programs could contribute to create an integrated approach to learning within an RTO's workplace that effectively addresses the staff's skills and knowledge needs.

How do successful organisations implement mentoring?
The answer comes down to commitment. People who are committed to mentoring make time for it because of the value it holds for them. They make the relationship work by making it a high priority, giving it the attention it needs and deserves. Mentoring requires successful relationships between mentors and mentees, and therefore teamwork to make sure the goals for the relationship are realised.

Establishing clear goals and scope for mentoring relationships are vital to help the RTO assess the contribution of the mentoring program to the performance objectives and the business bottom line.

The following questions can help you determine the scope of the mentoring program and estimate how much time and resources it will require:
• What are the priorities for mentoring programs?
• How can workplace tasks be blended in mentoring relationships within the RTO?
• What are the reporting lines for mentoring programs?
• How can time constraints be accommodated for mentoring relationships?
• How can mentoring programs support staff's professional development needs?
• Do senior staff members have the skills, knowledge, and motivation to engage in a mentoring program?

To get started, identify and assess how your staff members perceive the value of mentoring relationships to support performance and achieve the RTO's objectives today and in the future. Depending upon what you discover, consider starting with mentoring programs to address specific and measurable performance issues. Evaluate the success of those programs, and share the evaluation results with all staff members, before you promote further mentoring programs.

Mentoring is a two-way relationship. If you successfully engage mentors, who have honest enthusiasm, in relationships with mentees, you will promote accountability in professional development within all staff members.

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work at home workerIs your management team wrestling with the decision to let people work from home? It can be a big change, but it's also a positive and necessary one. Increasingly, people are viewing "work" as something you do, rather than somewhere you go.

When organisations look to the future, the most innovative and successful leaders realize the potential that virtual workforces have to change the face of business. As organisations expand around the globe, remote labor forces are becoming vital to business success.

More than 80 percent of Fortune magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For already have virtual work policies in place. And that number is expected to rise as time and technology advance. If your company isn't on board yet, or your telework policy could be more inclusive, here are eight reasons why virtual work makes sense for both employer and employee:

  1. Cost savings for employers due to the reduced need for physical working space and overhead costs to maintain on-site facilities.
  2. Higher customer satisfaction due to better coverage across different time zones.
  3. Increased ability to attract top talent by eliminating geographic restrictions on the talent pool.
  4. Lower absenteeism and higher engagement. Gallup's 2013 State of the American Workplace study showed that virtual employees not only work an average of four hours longer per work week than people who go to the company site, but are also more engaged (32 percent versus 28 percent).
  5. Working from home eliminates the stress of commuting to work, and stress is one of the primary reasons for resignation.
  6. Costs for gas and train or bus fare are reduced, which creates a cost savings for employees.
  7. Higher innovation and creativity. According to a May 2014 Wall Street Journal article, only 10 percent of workers believe they do their best thinking at work compared with 39 percent who believe they do their best thinking at home.
  8. Better work-life balance and workplace flexibility, both of which are highly prized by Millennials, which is the fastest growing generation in the workforce.

Each year, the population of virtual workers grows, contributing to the belief that virtual workforces are here to stay. In fact, Harvard Business Review recently reported that by the end of 2015, 40 percent of the world's workforce will be remote. To remain competitive in this increasingly global world, the decision for your organisation to move toward a more virtual workplace should be an easy one.

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