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Mentoring Is Key for Nurturing Islamic Finance Talent
In a recent piece titled “The Human Capital Report 2015” by the World Economic Forum, the Founder and Executive Chairman stated that talent, not capital, will be the key factor linking innovation, competitiveness and growth in the 21st century.
Talent remains a key concern for many industries, and Islamic finance is no exception. The Simply Sharia Human Capital (SSHC) report: “Islamic Finance: The Human Capital Challenge 2013 - Practitioner Insights,” looked at different aspects of talent, training and expertise in the industry. SSHC’s vision is that the industry needs to develop innovative human capital strategies for future growth and sustainability.
The report discussed a number of topics, from routes for new graduates seeking a career in Islamic finance to support for professionals upgrading to specialist skills, and tackling the gender gap. What is apparent is that there is one very powerful strategy that could form part of the solution to these issues and that is mentoring.
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), mentoring in the workplace has generally been a relationship in which a more experienced colleague uses his or her greater knowledge and understanding of the work or workplace to support the development of a more junior or inexperienced member of staff.
Mentoring is often misunderstood and undervalued, and many people often just think “it’s a nice thing to do.” But with the right approach, mentoring can be an extremely powerful tool for personal, professional and business development. And more importantly it’s a win-win situation for both parties, so the mentor can benefit just as much as the mentee. Mentoring can help to develop new skills and perspectives, overcome weaknesses and barriers, inspire confidence and creative thinking, and enhance business productivity.
Daud Vicary, President & CEO of INCEIF, the Global University of Islamic Finance in Malaysia told us: “Mentors are one of the most valuable sources for anyone entering a new industry. They are there to guide, nurture and advise professionals and students in how an organisation operates and what to expect when working within a specific sector.”
Experts such as Daud, have reinforced the importance of mentoring for the Islamic finance sector, as a way for educators and the industry working closer together; sharing ideas and as a key talent development strategy that would benefit the individual organisations in having a robust succession plan in place and ensuring strategic growth.
So how can we establish effective mentoring partnerships? There are a number of golden rules to follow:
- Goals and objectives should be agreed and mentee driven – successful mentoring is about focusing on the needs of the mentee and structuring the relationship with set objectives to enable the mentee to reach their goals.
- Boundaries need to be established – whilst there is much support and guidance a mentor can offer, there will be some limitations to their role. Effective referral and signposting mechanisms need to be created so that mentees can seek other advice and support when needed.
- Positive verbal communication and body language should be demonstrated – this is essential for a strong rapport and trust to be developed.
- Honest and constructive feedback given – feedback should be a healthy balance of positive comments and suggestions for improvement and development.
- Progress should be reviewed regularly – regular contact and support needs to be maintained so that the mentee can benefit fully from the partnership.
Mentoring can transform and shape future talent, but it can only succeed if there is structure and support from all levels within an organisation and the wider industry.
By Monira Ahmed, Careers Professional & Blogger; expertise in international careers, diversity and mentoring