How ATU grows their people by smart mentoring activities

In this artcile, we will see a mentoring use-case in retail sector. “We as ATU Duty Free, based in Istanbul, employ more than 2700 people and serve over 1 million customers worldwide each year. We carry out our operations reaching 27 airports in 8 countries and covering 27.000m2 selling space with more than 120 stores. Our biggest priority is to offer “Travel Happy” experience to the thousands of visitors we interact every day. While generating this experience, our professionals are the most important source of power for us.

Accordingly, we as the HR team offer many programmes for the development of our professionals, and aspire to make this development more innovative and effective each time. Recently, especially within the context of our leadership development programme “Be the Breath”, online mentoring practices have been one of the development methods from which we have received significant benefits. ‘Mentorink’ has contributed to the development of our leaders in many locations worldwide.

The development programme “Be the Breath” we operate for the internalisation and proliferation of the theme “ATU Style Leadership” that we have designed for all our leaders, has been quite successful in its own target group. Yet, we realised that, values taught in programme were not easily reaching out the teams in different locations. Conveying such value-added trainings to our other employees was both logistically challenging and very costly. There was also a lack of effective communication channel among our human resource spread into different locations. Therefore, especially the knowledge and the experience of our leaders in the operations in Turkey were not distributing organically to other teams as fast as we desire.

At this very point, our path crossed with Mentorink. Even though we were well aware of the importance of the mentoring practices and have conducted some trials, Metorink enabled us to offer a brand-new solution to the problem we mentioned above by making it easier and more systematic. The idea of ‘building a development focused communication channel’ for distant locations thanks to the new generation mentoring exercises excited us greatly. Over the last year, Mentorink enabled us to drive individual and organisational development and expand our company culture by penetrating our internal knowledge and experience organically. I’m also delighted that our mentoring programme has now been recognized as being designed in accordance with the EMCC Turkey Mentoring Standards.

Thanks to Mentorink, initially, we were able to launch an online mentoring programme that is specialised to our needs very rapidly and at a quite low cost. By the benefits of the online world, we have made it possible for our employees in different locations to gather up in the context of mentoring and build a one-to-one relationship based on trust. Secondly, we have ensured them to utilise their meetings more consciously, effective and result oriented by giving tailored guidance and providing inspiring materials serving the purpose of the programme. Lastly, while operating all this process automatically, being able to monitor the progress on Mentorink’s admin panel has made the process a lot easier for us. We were able to focus on the results without ever getting drowned in extensive effort requirements which strain most HR teams in classic/offline mentoring programmes. In summary, Mentorink enabled us to accelerate our individual and corporate development by building ‘effectively working’ mentoring relationships and made it a lot easier and affordable for us to manage it.

At a time where the benefits of traditional e-learning programmes are becoming increasingly questionable and everything is evolving to become more ‘social’, I believe that mentoring programmes will gain more importance. Mentorink offers an important opportunity for transforming the old, boring, ineffective mentoring practices into structured, result-oriented mutual-development experiences by taking advantage of the online world. We as ATU, will increase the number of such ‘mutual-development’ bridges between our employees in different locations. Additionally, we have also gone beyond our current leadership programmes and started to leverage such mentoring activities in more functional topics, developing special skills that are essential for our operations through smart mentoring relationships.”

by Zeynep Derya Levent – ATU Duty Free HR and Retail Institute Director