case

Mentoring – towards cross-functional knowledge sharing

Aiming for individual and organizational benefits

Mentoring is a target oriented learning process, based on the mentee’s development needs, whereby a more experienced individual (a mentor) shares his/her knowledge and insights with another individual (a mentee) developing professional competencies. Kemira initiated a Mentoring Pilot Program first in North America and in 2012 in the EMEA region. Kemira aims to use the program globally as one of its solutions for developing employee competencies.

The benefits of mentoring include facilitating the flow of information and ideas throughout the organization, improving cross-functional knowledge sharing, and developing professional competencies needed to implement and support the strategy. Furthermore, it can promote employees’ understanding of Kemira’s operations, policies and culture which will ideally lead to an improved common way of working.

Fresh perspective and wider networks

Mentoring is regarded as an efficient development solution among those of Kemira’s employees who have participated in the first mentoring program. The mentoring pair Per Andersson from M&I Sweden and Kaisa Karisalmi from R&D Finland has nothing but good to say about the process. “My superior entered me into the program, thinking it would help me build up new networks and develop my professional competencies,” Karisalmi reflects.

Andersson served as an excellent mentor for Karisalmi: having worked in several positions within the organization, he has an extensive personal network from which Karisalmi was able to benefit. ”My goal was to get Kaisa acquainted with daily life from the business point of view, as it is not as much present in R&D,” Andersson says. Through the mentoring program, Karisalmi has also been in direct contact with customers, bringing a whole new angle to her work within R&D.

Knowledge sharing throughout the company

Segregation between customer segments is common in global companies, but at Kemira, mentoring is one way of improving the cross-functional and -cultural collaboration and increasing the employees’ knowledge about the operations in the other segments and regions. According to Andersson, mentoring could serve as a tool for bringing the segments closer to one another, enhancing knowledge sharing over segment and region borders. “Through the mentor’s contacts, the mentee’s perspective is also broadened, widening the mentee’s internal knowledge about other departments,” Andersson concludes.