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  • Writer's pictureJoel Werner

How to Ensure Advancement and Inclusion of Minority Groups through a Mentorship Program

Diverse teams outperform monocultural teams when each individual’s differences are valued and leveraged. Employees are more engaged and perform better when they feel included—this much is obvious.

But all too often, differences are unappreciated, misunderstood, or ignored, to the detriment of minority individuals and the organization as a whole. A Cornell University study showed that mentoring is an effective way to promote and retain diverse employees, improving stats by up to 38% compared to non-mentored diverse employees.

Mentoring can help managers understand and utilize the unique contributions of all employees by creating an inclusive culture that embraces diverse viewpoints and promotes engagement. The two-way communication within the mentor-mentee relationship can help bridge intergenerational and cultural lines as well. But to be genuinely effective, mentoring needs to be conscious and structured.

Mentoring Should Include Everyone

According to a recent study by Harvard Business School professor Christopher T. Stanton, when mentoring participation is optional, the people who need it most are often the least likely to seek it out. The study was not able to precisely pinpoint why these individuals tended to opt out of mentoring. Some people may be too shy, embarrassed, or even overconfident to ask for help—but whatever the reason, they will not participate in a mentoring program if it is voluntary.

The study concluded that mentoring programs should therefore be mandatory for all newcomers to an organization.

Be Clear about the Program Goals

Like any project, a mentoring program should have clearly defined and measurable objectives that align with the goals and values of the organization. For diversity mentoring, program goals might include increased employee retention, particularly of diverse candidates, and improved leadership succession of diverse candidates.

Asking participants ahead of time for their input on program goals can be beneficial in ensuring their cooperation and commitment. Send out surveys or conduct interviews to find out what they want to achieve and use their responses to plan a great program.

Create Accountability

The corollary to creating mentoring goals is to hold both mentors and mentees accountable for progress. Regularly check in with each mentor-mentee pair to assess their progress against goals and document their learnings along the way. Finally, encourage structure for the mentoring relationships, such as set meeting times and locations.

Provide Mentor Training for Consistency

Mentoring is a skill and a leadership competency—just because someone has years of experience and a senior role, this does not automatically make them a good mentor. Diversity mentoring will involve different levels of experience and knowledge for mentors as well as mentees.

To ensure mentors create a safe space to explore and understand differences and all mentees actually benefit from the relationship, mentors must be equipped with mentoring skills. In addition, mentor training will also help your mentors feel supported and appreciated, and encourage them to take mentoring seriously. Trainings should emphasize cultural, racial, and gender awareness, as well as communication skills practice.

Obtain Leadership Support and Involvement

For a mentoring program to be credible and effective, it needs to be seen as a priority within the organization. Mentoring time should be protected and receive the visible commitment and support of the organization’s leadership.

Beyond their stamp of approval, top leadership can also actively participate in the program. Their leadership experience will be invaluable for the diverse high-potential mentees who may become future leaders in the organization. This is especially important as part of a longer-term project to bring more diversity to the executive leadership team.

Encourage Relationships

Establishing a formal mentoring program is essential, but not sufficient to sustain productive diversity within an organization. Mentorship can sometimes be challenging for mentees who see themselves as different from their mentors.

Research has shown that mentoring for diversity is more effective when participants get to know each other, meaning appropriate mentor and mentee relationships should be encouraged. Encouraging mentors to get to know their mentees personally and less formally—for example, through sports, shared interests, and life stories—can help diverse mentorships flourish.

The Value of a Mentor

According to Harvey Coleman, author of Empowering Yourself: The Organizational Game Revealed, there are three aspects to workplace success: performance, image, and exposure. Performance accounts for only 10%, an organization or individual’s perception of their ability to succeed accounts for 30%, and access to opportunities accounts for 60%.

Supervisory relationships focus on performance, but mentoring relationships focus on the other 90% of success: image and opportunities. A mentor can be an advocate for their mentee within the organization, helping to improve their reputation. They can also give the mentee feedback on their image and help them figure out ways to improve their profile. With regard to opportunities, the mentor can open doors to new experiences and valuable connections through their network.

2. Blog Post for []

[Meta Description: India has committed to net-zero emissions by 2070, and regulators and manufacturers see the beloved Indian scooter as low-hanging fruit for the switch to EVs.]

Title: Honda, Ola, and More: Who Will Win India's Electric Two-Wheeler Market?

With fuel prices at an all-time high in India and the nation committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2070, the race is on to convince Indians to trade in their beloved motor scooters for electric models.

Scooters use 70% of all the gasoline consumed in India, and e-scooters typically run at a sixth of the cost. New electric two-wheelers are hitting the market at about USD $1,000, equivalent to the top-selling gasoline models. Motor fuel is the second-most consumed oil product in India, and personal transportation has doubled in the last decade, with two-wheelers accounting for 80% of all vehicle sales. This means that the sector is seen as low-hanging fruit for regulators and manufacturers.

Currently, the leader in the electric scooter market is Hero Electric, which sold more than a third of all electric scooters sold in the year ending March 2020. But entrants like SoftBank-backed Ola are rushing for their share of the pie. In addition, traditional manufacturers are pivoting to electric models to try to maintain their market share. Bajaj Auto launched theirs last year, and Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) says they'll have an electric model ready next year.

Manufacturers are also addressing the lack of charging infrastructure in the vast country. They are building charging stations, and some models can go a whole week's commute on a single charge. Ola scooters are shipped with chargers that can plug in at home, and Hero’s have a removable, chargeable battery. But stakeholders want the national government to set clear and transparent goals on phasing out gas-powered two-wheelers.

Ola Plans to Go Public Next Year

Ola Electric is a division of the ride-hailing platform Ola, which is planning an IPO for early next year. The company acquired a Dutch electric scooter OEM in May 2020 and has just launched its S1 and S1 Pro e-scooters in India.

In addition, Ola plans to open the Ola Hypercharger network, which it claims will be the world’s largest, densest, and fastest 2W charging network, with 100,000 locations across 400 cities. It will provide 75km of range in just 18 minutes.

Ola is currently finalizing a pre-IPO fundraising round led by IIFL Wealth Management and Edelweiss Private Equity that would increase its valuation to $7 billion. With its IPO, the Bengaluru-based startup wants to raise at least $1.5-2 billion and secure a valuation of $12-14 billion. It intends to raise half through the primary issue and the balance with an offer for sale from early investors.

Bloomberg reports that Ola has selected banks, including Citigroup, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and Morgan Stanley, to handle the IPO. The travel cab market will take time to stabilize after the pandemic, but the company’s e-scooters may help push up its valuation. Ola Electric’s CEO, Bhavish Aggarwal, has tweeted that exports to the US will begin early next year.

HMSI to Launch Electric Scooter 2022

HMSI is India’s second-largest gas-powered two-wheeler maker, and it’s in the process of testing the electric scooter BENLY e, developed by its Japanese parent company. It’s not clear this will be the model released in India, but one is definitely on the cards for the next financial year.

HMSI will probably use the Honda Mobile Power Pack (MPP), a portable, swappable battery that stores electricity generated by renewable energy. The MPP battery can also be used in other light vehicles like rickshaws, but bringing it into India will require partnerships.

TVS Motor in Talks to Raise $500 Million

India's third-largest two-wheeler maker, Chennai-based TVS Motor, is also throwing its hat into the e-scooter ring. The company is hoping to raise up to $500 million from global private equity investors for its electric vehicle subsidiary created in October. The manufacturer can currently produce 650 e-scooters monthly, but will have a capacity of 10,000 units per month by January 2022. The funds will be primarily directed to building a global market. TVS’ recent acquisition of British bike maker Norton and Swiss company Ego Movement could help it take the lead in American and European markets. But TVS may leverage its Indonesian subsidiary to service a significant Southeast Asian market.

The company has already announced a large investment in its EV business, and it is preparing a product portfolio of two- and three-wheelers in the range of 5-25kW. They’re due to be released within the next two years. The company is adamant it will chase growth over profitability to cement its EV foothold.

TVS’ first EV offering, iQube, will soon be available across 1,000 dealerships in India's largest cities. In addition, it will soon launch its Creon concept-based scooter, claimed to be the most advanced electric two-wheeler in India.

The battle lines are drawn between legacy players and the more than 260 startups in the Indian two-wheeler market; others not mentioned above include Ampere, Ather Energy, Royal Enfield, Smarte, and Tork Motors.

Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, rather cheekily backs himself and other legacy manufacturers. As he quipped to The Economic Times, "I would bet on BET (Bajaj, Enfield, and TVS) — they are champions. And champions eat OATS for breakfast — Ola, Ather, Tork and Smarte.”

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