BBVA’s Open Mentoring program revolutionizes the concept of mentoring
The bank launches a global program in order to contribute to its employees’ professional development, to promote the acquisition of new skills, and widen the network of contacts within the company. The initiative empowers mentors and mentees from across the Group’s footprint to connect, transforming the process into one that puts the employee in control of his or her own development.
The role of mentoring within the company is taking on increasing importance. Throughout the course of any professional person’s career, there are always those figures who inspire and give guidance when tough decisions need to be made. Unlike informal processes, mentoring is governed by a methodology that pursues clear objectives, complemented by an action plan and with defined tasks to be accomplished over time.
Mentors are people who care about their mentees and their potential for improvement and professional development. Mentors observe, listen, and ask questions so that they can work jointly with their mentees, transforming their abilities into growth opportunities. Conversely, mentees assume the responsibility of steering their own development, establishing goals, accepting criticism, and pursuing effective dialog with their mentors.
This philosophy lays the foundation for Open Mentoring, a voluntary program for BBVA staff worldwide. “In 2019, we invited nearly 2,000 employees from various units across the bank’s footprint to participate in the pilot program. The experience was a success; we then incorporated all the feedback we received before offering the program to all employees,” explains José María Monge, BBVA Global Head of Talent Solutions. Today, employees can access the program via an application where they will find information about the skills they want to develop and strengthen, which then serves as the basis for the different connection options the system will recommend. Mentees are tasked with deciding from among the different choices who they want their mentor to be.
The formal mentoring relationship lasts approximately six months and it benefits from the support of training resources and activity guides. Thanks to the available tools and technology, neither distance nor language will hinder the close and trusted relationship to be established between mentor and mentee.
“Open Mentoring brings our employees closer to an ever-expanding network of contacts, at a time when being connected as a team is, if anything, more important than ever,” Monge explains. With its mentoring program, BBVA aims to establish leadership based on internally development talent, through knowledge transfer and the sharing of experiences. Regardless of the country where they work, two employees who are not within the same reporting structured can connect in order to share knowledge and skills.
The employee who is being mentored will be able to grow and practice skills for his or her professional development, complemented with direct access to advice and professional expertise that will help him or her face new challenges. The initiative has obvious benefits for the mentored employees, but it also represents a learning experience for the BBVA mentors, who will be able to improve their communication and leadership skills by sharing their expertise. In addition, they will be able to meet new people within the organization.