To mark National Mentoring Day, which takes place on the 27th October, we caught up with our people team to find out more about mentoring at Lexington. We also spoke to Lexington Graduate and Assistant Manager, Luke Saunders, to discuss the impact mentoring has had on his career.
Lexington provides mentoring to all Graduates as part of the Lexy Graduate Scheme and the people team opened the mentoring programme to Managers and Heads Chefs in 2015. It was introduced as a mechanism to enable the Lexy team to share and benefit from one another’s experience and knowledge.
Luke’s experience of mentoring
Luke joined the Lexington Graduate Scheme in 2016 and as part of the programme he was matched with a mentor – David Francis, General Manager at Lexington.
Luke said the mentoring was unlike another mentoring programme he joined at a previous employer. He said, “The programme is much more structured than many, which meant it delivered a really positive impact.” Mentors meet their mentee face to face at least once a month. They use this time to go through a set criteria, which included Lexington’s DNA, the graduate project and general news. They also speak regularly on the phone and via email.
The advice that a mentor can offer might seem obvious, but it can be invaluable for someone new to an industry, new to a role, or someone looking to progress quickly. As someone new to contract catering Luke was unsure what to expect. He said, “It was incredibly reassuring to have access to David’s insight and wisdom about some aspects of business. He has such a broad experience and has challenged me at all the right times to push myself to achieve my very best.”
Mentors can also help to identify gaps in projects or business plans. Luke had to work on a business project as part of the Lexington Graduate Scheme and develop an idea for the business to execute. Luke said, “David’s support thoughout the project was invaluable. He challenged my thinking and got me to look at things in different ways. This enabled me to develop my idea and thinking in a way that would really add value to the business.”
Additionally, mentors can really help to widen your professional network. Luke’s mentor, David, has been in the industry for a lot longer and was able to introduce him to people who could support him on his Graduation project.
He said, “David’s introductions have been a fantastic way to build an external network that’s helped me develop new perspectives on business issues.”
So, how does the Lexington mentoring programme work
There are 5 stages to the Lexington Mentoring Programme…
Stage 1: Registration
Managers and Head Chefs register their details online (to be a mentor and mentee) and answer a series of profile questions
Stage 2: Match
People team send the mentee relevant mentor profiles. The mentee submits top 3 choices and people team confirm the match.
Stage 3: Train
Mentors attend a bespoke mentoring training session with Lexington’s partner, Purple Cubed.
Stage 4: Meet
Mentees arrange monthly meetings with their mentor. Mentors receive a mentoring pack, submit agreed goals, action plan and monthly progress reports.
Stage 5: Conclude
Mentor and mentee reflect on what has been learned and discuss the next steps.
Emma Langford, People Manager at Lexington says, “The practical advantages of mentoring are clear. We’ve seen first hand the positive impact that mentoring can have on an individuals’ career and self-development but mentors themselves also get a lot from the process.”
Mentoring provides a mechanism for more experienced managers to share their knowledge and expertise by developing others. It is a fantastic way of driving learning and development for both mentees and mentors.