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2020 Pilot

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

PROGRAMME BASICS

Mentors of all levels (GS and related categories through senior leaders) from all job networks, but especially POLNET, DEVNET and INFONET are encouraged to join.

Mentees of all levels (GS and related categories through senior leaders) from POLNET, DEVNET and INFONET are eligible.

All participants must have Fixed-term, Continuing or Permanent appointments.

For the 2020 pilot, staff from the following non-Secretariat entities are eligible:

  • ITC (International Trade Centre)
  • ISA (International Seabed Authority)
  • Some UNSDG entities in the Asia Pacific region

Yes. When you register you may select both options.

In this pilot, mentors can choose to be paired with one or two mentees. Mentees will be paired with one mentor.

In this pilot, you can choose a mentor who can hold meetings in English, French or both languages.

The mentoring period runs for four months.

Yes. Confidentiality is a cornerstone in successful mentoring. Mentees and mentors should not share information that was discussed in their meetings with others.

Mentees and mentors can plan the meeting frequency. We encourage you to meet twice per month during the four-month pilot, but this is not required.

Definitely! Virtual meetings make it possible to connect.

OHR and other entities have held various types of mentoring initiatives over the years. As we are such a large organization, there is room for different players in this area. This initiative is similar to other initiatives in that the purpose is to connect staff with each other to facilitate growth and learning. It is different than other programmes in that a software algorithm will aid the pairing process, it will involve a large number of staff at once and it will enable people to connect across duty stations and types of UN entities.

We will not be informing participants’ managers that they have joined this programme. Mentors and mentees can, however, let their managers know of their participation.

 

REGISTRATION

Please make sure you are using the correct link and inserting your professional email. If the problem persists, please email us at mentoring@un.org.

For UN Secretariat registrants, we have pre-populated some questions with data from an employee file snapshot to ease your experience answering the questionnaire. Please note that some info might be outdated, in which case you are welcome to change the option pre-selected for you.

Some of them will, while others will only be visible to the administrator on the HR project team. While you are filling out the questionnaire, you can see which questions/answers will be visible in your profile.

Yes, you can edit your response in your profile (see: Pairing - "How do I edit my profile?").

If registration is still open, you can go to your profile and edit your answer to the first question about whether you would like to be a mentor, a mentee or both (See: Pairing - "How do I edit my profile?").

If registration is no longer open, please contact the project team at mentoring@un.org so they can give you permission in the platform to register as both. Once this is done, you will be able to edit your profile and answer the mentee-specific questions.

If you have registered as a mentee, you will receive an email from the platform when the pairing process begins. The email will ask you to review a suggested group of mentors and choose which ones you like best. You can review the mentor’s profile on the platform and/or on LinkedIn to help in your decision-making. After you make your selections you will receive another email letting you know which mentor you have been paired with.

If you have registered as a mentor, you will receive an email from the platform asking you to accept or decline an invitation to mentor someone. You can review the mentee’s profile on the platform and/or on LinkedIn to help in your decision-making.

Once you are registered, use this link to log in to the platform: https://my.togetherplatform.com/login.

 

PAIRING

The Together team will try to ensure as many mentor-mentee pairings as possible. There is a chance, however, that some participants may not be paired. This may occur due to an imbalance in mentor and mentee applicants or because there is no one available that meets specific preferences requested by a mentee or mentor.

The Together platform uses an algorithm to suggest pairings based on mentor and mentee responses to the registration questionnaire. Once the pairing process begins, mentees will be able to review a suggested group of mentors and select their top 5. Then they will likely be paired with one of their preferred mentors.  

Mentors can accept or decline an invitation to mentor someone. They have three days to do so before the request expires. If the approval deadline falls on a weekend, it will be pushed to Monday. If a mentor declines someone, they will likely be paired with another mentee.

The algorithm restricts the list of suggested mentors and recommends the top matches. It also allows you to see why a give mentor was recommended – for example which characteristic or preference resulted in the recommendation.

The algorithm pairs mentors and mentees based on the answers that participants provide in the registration questionnaire. Responses to certain questions, such as seniority, job level/grade, job network, skills, goals and favourite activities are weighted and determine which pairs will be suggested.

General Service mentees may be paired with more experienced General Service staff or with Professional staff. The pairing algorithm will make suggestions based on mentee and mentor job levels and their seniority in the Organization, among other factors.

Yes. To assist in decision-making during the pairing process, participants can review mentee and mentor profiles.

Your profile is created automatically after you finish the registration questionnaire. To edit it, please click on ‘Profile’ (top menu bar). Under ‘Program Enrolments’, look for ‘Together: A UN Mentoring Programme’ and click ‘Edit’.

You can then either click on ‘Change all responses’ and retake the questionnaire or edit just one response. Please make sure to press ‘Done’ (blue button) when you are finished to save the changes made.

No, mentors cannot see a list of mentees who requested them. They can accept or decline one mentee at a time, through responding to emails from the platform. These requests expire after three days. If the approval deadline falls on a weekend, it will be pushed to Monday.

The majority of mentees will be paired with someone from their top 5. However, some might be asked to re-submit five preferred mentors. This might occur due to a few factos including whether other mentees may have also chosen your top-ranked mentors, the amount of time a mentor may have taken to approve a decline a request and the mentor’s decision to accept or decline.

After a mentee submits their top 5 mentor preferences, the mentee will likely be matched with one of these choices. If a mentee has changed their mind and wants to discontinue with a given mentor or the programme in general, they should write to mentoring@un.org.

Mentees will be able to review mentor profiles on the platform which is fed from the registration questionnaire. Mentees can also view LinkedIn profiles of mentors, if available.

No. While it’s possible that they may decline, it’s also possible they never received your request because they had already accepted another mentee.

We do not recommend contacting your preferred mentors outside the platform about a potential pairing. Please allow the system to pairyou with one of your preferred mentors instead. This will facilitate the overall process for all participants. Also, keep in mind that some mentors have offered to pair with two mentees and may be at capacity. And it might be uncomfortable for a mentor to be contacted directly; they may feel badly about saying no due to time constraints or other reasons.

Mentors and mentees will receive emails from the Together platform – United Nations Mentoring Programme – about the respective processes. Mentees will need to log into the platform and rank their preferred mentors. Then mentors will receive emails about proposed mentees.

 

MENTORING SESSIONS

Mentees should take the initiative in scheduling sessions but either party is free to do so. Before booking a first session with your mentor, it’s best to ask about their availability, for example through email.

Please note that you can schedule sessions through your Microsoft Outlook calendar (used by Secretariat staff) or you can do so through the Together platform. We prefer you to use the platform because it allows the project team to monitor meeting activity, but it is up to you.

Some notes on scheduling through the Together platform:

- The Together platform’s calendar feature is separate from Microsoft Outlook (used by Secretariat staff) but invitations sent through Together will appear in Outlook. One cannot, however, see the availability of a colleague through Together’s calendar or automatically link to an MS Teams meeting. You can however add the link after to the generated Outlook invite.

- To schedule a session through the Together platform, first click on your mentee/mentor’s name (on your home page, under ‘Pairings’). Under ‘To Do’ you will find a notification named ‘Book your next session’ and all you will have to do is click ‘Book Session’ (blue button). A calendar will open. Next: select a date and time to meet. Then click ‘Send Invite’ (blue button).

At the beginning of the programme, we recommend that you only schedule an initial session. Consult with your mentor/mentee before you schedule recurring sessions. Please note that if you schedule meetings through the platform, it will send you reminders to schedule additional sessions after each one is done.

Follow the steps above to open the calendar (see: "How do I schedule the meetings/sessions with my mentee or mentor?"). After selecting dates and times, click on the ‘Set Recurring Invite’ on the top right-hand corner of the screen. Select the meeting frequency you prefer and when you are ready click ‘Send Invites’.

To see all meeting/session agendas, click ‘Together: a UN Mentoring Programme’ (on your home page, under ‘Your programs’) and then ‘Session Overview’.

To prepare for a specific session, click on your mentee/mentor’s name (on your home page, under ‘Pairings’) and then the session you are looking for. The agenda should be at the top of the screen. Click ‘View More’ to see the full agenda.

Mentor and mentee Handbooks can be found in the Resources area of the platform or on the HR Portal (under Resources). Click ‘Together: a UN Mentoring Programme’ (on your home page, under 'Your Programs').

Handbooks are also available on the 'Resources' section on the HR Portal.

There are also videos and articles about best practices in mentoring to provide perspective and inspiration. On the platform, click ‘Together: a UN Mentoring Programme’ (on your home page, under 'Your Programs') and scroll down the page.

The mentorship agreement helps mentees outline what they want to achieve in the 4-month period. Mentees are encouraged to fill it out and refer to it throughout the mentoring period – although this is not required. The agreement includes sections on skills and goals, development planning and scheduling.

To access it, click your mentee/mentor’s name (on your home page, under 'Your Programs'). Scroll down and click ‘Mentorship Agreement’ (under 'Learning Plan'). A sample agreement is also available on the HR Portal (under Resources). 

Shadowing exercises these days need to be tailored for remote work arrangements. In some ways, this is limiting. But it is still possible.

Consider the following:

  • A mentee could join a mentor in an important meeting as an observer
  • A mentor could share a draft project plan with a mentee and ask for input. Then the pair could discuss. The mentor could share the next version of the plan to demonstrate its evolution.
  • A mentor could assign research projects to their mentee if they are brief and fairly straightforward in nature.

Each pair should decide on the duration of each session. Perhaps, for the first one, schedule a 45 mins to 1-hour meeting. Some sessions, such as a shadowing exercise, may have a time limit that suits a given event/meeting.

These are some of the topics mentees may want to discuss with a mentor: 

  • Navigating the UN culture
  • Experience across duty stations
  • Experience across types of UN entities (Headquarters/ missions/ UN agencies/ funds/ programmes)
  • Experience across job networks/families
  • Moving up or laterally
  • Improving performance reviews
  • Managing others
  • Managing up (how to navigate relationships with one’s managers)
  • Learning new skills
  • Dealing with challenging work environments
  • Challenges with job satisfaction
  • Promoting a disability-inclusive workplace and culture
  • Settling into a new duty station
  • Improving work-life balance

We suggest mentees and mentors use the first sessions to align expectations and agree on ones they would like to address. Please refer to the session agendas and the handbooks for recommendations of exercises and activities that can enrich these meetings.

If you have a technical problem with the Together platform you can use the chat box on the bottom left-hand corner of the platform. If you need additional technical help or have other questions about the programme, contact the project team at mentoring@un.org.

 

MENTORS

In our open approach, staff of many levels can serve as mentors - from General Service and related categories to senior leaders. Each of us has something to share with colleagues who are new to the Organization or have less experience. Mentors from all job networks are welcome, but especially those from POLNET, DEVNET and INFONET.

All participants must have Fixed-term, Continuing or Permanent appointments.

The programme includes orientation webinars for mentors and mentees and written guidance including comprehensive handbooks and session agendas to help guide your conversations. There are also videos and articles about general best practices to provide perspective and inspiration.

In this programme, mentors and mentees can determine how often they will meet. We suggest that each pair meets twice a month, but this is not required.

The Together platform uses an algorithm to suggest pairings based on mentor and mentee responses to the registration questionnaire. Once the pairing process begins, mentees will be able to review a suggested group of mentors and select their top 5. Then they will likely be paired with one of their preferred mentors. 

Mentors can accept or decline an invitation to mentor someone. They have three days to do so before the request expires. If the approval deadline falls on a weekend, it will be pushed to Monday. If a mentor declines someone, they will likely be paired with another mentee.

No, mentors cannot see a list of mentees who requested them. They can accept or decline one mentee at a time, through responding to emails from the platform. These requests expire after three days. If the approval deadline falls on a weekend, it will be pushed to Monday.

If you forget to respond to the initial email, you’ll receive a second one 48 hours later. After three days, the invitation expires. Please note that if the approval deadline falls on a weekend, it will be pushed to Monday.

As a mentor, you can help your mentee by:

  • providing guidance on her/his professional development goals
  • providing guidance in a general or specific professional area
  • giving direct, honest and constructive feedback
  • sharing your networks and professional contacts
  • helping her/him realize her/his full potential

As a mentor you are responsible for:

  1. Reviewing the mentor handbook
  2. Establishing mutual trust and respect with the mentee
  3. Working with the mentee to determine objectives for the mentoring relationship
  4. Maintaining interaction and support with the mentee
  5. Challenging and encouraging the mentee appropriately to facilitate growth
  6. Filling out a pre- and post-programme survey

A First Reporting Officer (FRO) is responsible for setting expectations about a specific workload and goals and communicating with their staff about their performance against the goals. A mentor’s role is mainly to help a staff member strategize about larger level career aspirations. Of course, conversations may cover current work situations or problems that a mentee is experiencing. A mentor, however, can offer limited feedback on the details of such situations because they are not part of the team. In these cases, it is best that a mentor helps the mentee uncover different perspectives about a given problem and not become directly involved with it.

Open communication is the key to any good relationship. Throughout the mentoring relationship you should speak with your mentee about how it’s going and whether you are fulfilling the goals set out at the beginning of your relationship.

Yes, and we encourage you to do so! Your choosing to mentor again depends on your schedule and time commitment. Write to mentoring@un.org to receive updates on the next Together programme.

Some personal information will be stored on the platform. The HR project team in DMSPC and ESCAP have access to the information; it enables them to facilitate pairing, assess the pilot’s progress and make improvements. No information that reveals the identity of participants will be shared with UN staff outside the project team.

Below are the types of information referred to above:

  • Your responses to a registration questionnaire. This includes basic identity details (name, index number, grade, etc.) and responses to questions about your skills, goals.
  • Information about the number of sessions/meetings you have with your mentee/mentor and the dates/times of the meetings (if you schedule them through the platform).
  • Responses to short surveys about individual sessions you had with your mentee/mentor.
  • The Mentorship Agreement – sections that you have filled out on skills and goals, development planning and scheduling.

Please note that the HR project does not have access to notes and action items you record on the platform after your sessions. This is only viewable by mentees or by mentees and mentors if both have recorded notes.

Please communicate your decision to not participate any longer to the project team at mentoring@un.org. They will unenroll you from the programme.

 

MENTEES

Staff of all levels - from General Service and related categories to senior leaders - from POLNET, DEVNET and INFONET job networks are eligible.

All participants must have Fixed-term, Continuing or Permanent appointments.

Research shows that a meaningful mentoring relationship can directly affect an individual’s ability to succeed in their career. Mentoring accelerates career development, enhances your professional network and increases your perspective and knowledge of different functions.

The Together platform uses an algorithm to suggest pairings based on mentor and mentee responses to the registration questionnaire. Once the pairing process begins, mentees will be able to review a suggested group of mentors and select their top 5. Then they will likely be paired with one of their preferred mentors. 

Note that the mentor you are ultimately paired with depends on a few factors including whether other mentees may have also chosen your top-ranked mentor before you did and whether mentors have decided to accept or decline a suggested mentee.

The majority of mentees will be paired with someone from their top 5. However, some might be asked to re-submit five preferred mentors. This might occur due to a few factors including whether other mentees may have also chosen your top-ranked mentors before you did and whether mentors have decided to accept or decline a suggested mentee.

Not necessarily. The most likely scenario is that some declined your invitation and others never received it since they had already accepted another mentee.

In the Together approach, mentees are paired with a mentor based on preferences they express in the initial questionnaire. Mentees also have the chance to set their own goals for the mentoring period. This differs from an organization-driven approach in which a human resources team reviews participant profiles and determines who will be paired with whom.

The programme includes orientation webinars for mentors and mentees and written guidance including comprehensive handbooks and session agendas to help guide your conversations. There are also videos and articles about general meeting best practices to provide background and inspiration.

General Service mentees may be paired with more experienced General Service staff or with Professional staff. The pairing algorithm will make suggestions based on mentee and mentor job levels and their seniority in the Organization, among other factors.

You are responsible for being an active participant in the mentoring relationship. Consider yourself the manager or driver of your own learning in this programme: it’s your responsibility to plan what you’d like to achieve from the relationship. In addition, as you engage with your mentor, you should:

  • review the mentee handbook
  • be clear on your professional development goals
  • ensure timely and responsive communication with your mentor
  • keep commitments agreed with your mentor
  • fill out end-of-session surveys each time you meet, if possible
  • fill out a pre- and post-programme survey
  • follow through on advice and suggestions provided by your mentor if you are in agreement with them.

The project team will not be informing participants’ managers that they have joined this programme. It is up to the participant to decide whether to disclose or not this information.

It is natural that not all mentor-mentee pairings work out. If you feel that you and your mentor may not be a good fit, try watching this short video on overcoming common challenges. You can also contact the project team at mentoring@un.org and schedule a consultation. If you are sure that you’d like to find a new mentor, our platform can help you “unpair” from your current mentor and request a new one. Please bear in mind, however, that there may be a limited pool of mentors so you may not be paired again in this pilot. Find out how to get unpaired and request a new mentor under the question "How do I request a new mentor?" (see below).

The most common cause of relationship decline is lack of time invested by one or both parties. Some relationships fail following a break-down in trust such as breach of confidentiality. Sometimes these challenges can be surmounted with some actionable advice and good communication between the pair. Other times, it is natural to end the mentoring relationship earlier than planned.

After thoughtful consideration, if you decide you would like a new mentor, please click on ‘Together: a UN Mentoring Programme’ (on your home page, under 'Your Programs') > ‘Options’ > ‘Request a new mentor’.

A window will open informing you that you will be unpaired and can then submit your preferences for another mentor. The HR project team will also be notified.

Then you will need to press ‘Next’ (blue button) in order to send an email to your current mentor informing her/him that the relationship has ended earlier than planned. This is a required step in the unpairing process. We suggest that you personalize one of the sample messages available on the platform.

Finally, after clicking ‘Next’ (blue button) you will be asked to confirm your decision, by pressing ‘End Pairing & Choose Another’ (blue button). You are given the option of leaving a simple note for the HR Team about why you decided to end the mentoring relationship.

At the beginning of your mentoring relationship, as part of the ‘Mentorship Agreement’, you will be asked to select and assess the skills and goals you'd like to work on with your mentor. At the end of the programme, you will be invited to complete a ‘Final Assessment’ of those skills and goals to help you identify improvements made.

Also, throughout the programme, before or after each session, you are welcome to take some meeting notes on what you have discussed with or learned from your mentor. To access this feature, click on your mentee/mentor’s name (on your home page, under ‘Pairings’). Scroll down and select a specific session (under ‘Sessions’). You will find the session agenda on top of the page. If you scroll down, you can find the meeting notes section.

Some personal information will be stored on the platform. The HR project team in DMSPC and ESCAP have access to the information; it enables them to facilitate pairing, assess the pilot’s progress and make improvements. No information that reveals the identity of participants will be shared with UN staff outside the project team.

Below are the types of information referred to above:

  • Your responses to a registration questionnaire. This includes basic identity details (name, index number, grade, etc.) and responses to questions about your skills, goals.
  • Information about the number of sessions/meetings you have with your mentee/mentor and the dates/times of the meetings (if you schedule them through the platform).
  • Responses to short surveys about individual sessions you had with your mentee/mentor.
  • The Mentorship Agreement – sections that you have filled out on skills and goals, development planning and scheduling.

Please note that the HR project does not have access to notes and action items you record on the platform after your sessions. This is only viewable by mentees or by mentees and mentors if both have recorded notes.

Please communicate your decision to not participate any longer to the project team at mentoring@un.org. They will unenroll you from the programme.