Each month we talk to a pair who have participated in the AHRI mentoring program.
Mentor: Dominic McLoughlin FAHRI
Current job title: principal consultant, Ithikos Pty Ltd
Q. Tell us about your career history.
I run my own HR consulting business, specialising in maximising employee engagement and trust in management. I spent my early career in industrial relations and studied part-time to gain a Master of Businesss and my PhD.
Q. Why did you decide to become a mentor?
I have maintained a coaching and educational focus throughout my working life, teaching a range of leadership, management and employment relations courses at various universities. I have benefited from being mentored informally and wanted to pass it forward.
Q. What have you learnt from Robyn?
Apart from gaining insights into the hospitality industry, our conversations have been very helpful for keeping in tune with current HR issues. It’s also great to be able to get a second opinion on an issue. Nobody knows everything there is to know about HR, and getting a different perspective from Robyn about an issue has been very valuable.
Q. What do you hope Robyn has taken away from the mentoring experience?
I hope that I’ve also been able to act as a sounding board and provide a different perspective on the issues she has been dealing with. I feel I’ve been able to give Robyn assistance in relation to areas she wasn’t so familiar with, but she’s very competent, as well as experienced in many aspects of HR.
Q. What are your recommendations for mentees to get the most out of the experience?
Have a clear idea of what you would like to achieve, develop and share your goals with your mentor, and make sure you complete agreed actions between each meeting. Be prepared to be challenged on some occasions and to have a laugh on others. Always remember that every problem has a solution.
Mentee: Robyn Heap MAHRI
Current job title: workplace relations coordinator, The Wests Group Australia
Q. What did you get out of the mentoring experience?
Firstly, I have formed a great relationship with Dominic. He has been fantastic throughout the whole program and I know I can continue to rely on him for future advice and encouragement. Secondly, this experience has challenged the way I think about things. I am now more solutions orientated and I try to think outside the square more when resolving workplace matters.
Q. What’s the most important lesson you’ve taken away from the mentoring?
I have learnt more about what I want to achieve in my HR career.
Q. Tell us about your first session with your mentor.
It was held over the phone. We spoke about our backgrounds, where we were located home and workwise, and broadly covered what I was hoping to achieve during the program. Due to the distance between us (about three hours’ drive), we discussed how we would handle regular meetings and decided that we would speak over the phone and/or email if needed, as well as trying to meet face-to-face at least once.
Q. How often did you then communicate?
After our initial phone meeting, we spoke every fortnight for half an hour, as well as via email if needed. If I needed advice urgently, I was able to contact Dominic outside our scheduled catch-ups. At the end of each session we’d discuss what needed to be achieved or Dominic would set goals for the next fortnight’s session.
Q. What’s your dream HR job?
I have two dream jobs. The first is in line with my 12-month plan, which is to be employed in an HR management role. The second is in relation to my five-year plan, which is to work for a global employer of choice in a senior HR management role, working across multiple sites.
Q. What advice would you give a mentee wanting to participate in the program?
Apply for the program no matter what age or HR position you hold. I held the misguided notion that these types of programs were only suited to young HR professionals or HR graduates, but I was totally wrong. Being in my early 40s, I was a little hesitant in starting the program, but I’m certainly glad I did. I will be adding this experience to my résumé with pride.
The next intake of the AHRI mentoring program will commence in March 2015 and will run for 12 months. Applications close 1 of March 2015. Find out more.
This article is an edited version. The full article was first published in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of HRMonthly magazine as ‘Mentor. Mentee’. AHRI members receive HRMonthly 11 times per year as part of their membership. Find out more about AHRI membership here.