Blog > Culture Talks: The Value of Mentorship Culture at Int4

Culture Talks: The Value of Mentorship Culture at Int4

icon__calendar 2024-02-02

Edyta Kazmierczak-Pawlak, Iwona Grzeluk, and Michał Michalski talk about the benefits of implementing Mentorship Culture at Int4. They believe that it has helped create a supportive and collaborative environment where team members feel encouraged to learn and grow, while taking individual development goals into consideration. According to the conversation, Mentorship Culture helps promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Int4. Moreover, the speakers agreed that Mentorship Culture will benefit Int4 in the future.

See the conversation below

Implementing Mentorship Culture

Edyta Kazmierczak-Pawlak: Well, so in January each year, we celebrate National Mentoring month and we’ve adopted Mentorship Culture more than four years ago. So this is a very good moment this month to talk about Mentorship Culture at our company and what we think about it. Whether that was a good choice and why, if that was a good choice? What are your thoughts Michał?

Michal Michalski: My thoughts on whether it was a good decision to implement the mentorship culture, right?

Edyta Kazmierczak-Pawlak: Yes.

Michal Michalski: Concentrating on the people and their growth is the best strategic approach that a company may have. Definitely, it was a good choice especially when you are as we are a company in a transition from a service type of company to a product-based one.  We have always valued learning, which is why we developed our three core values: Competences, Relationships, and Balance. Later, we were taking DE&I Culture into consideration, but you joined us and you know the rest of the story. 🙂 (laughter)

Edyta Kazmierczak-Pawlak: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more with you. When I joined the company, it was the very first day when I thought of the Int4 Team – omg, you’re all so educated,  you wrote so many books for SAP Press Book, did a course on Int4 Suite for Open SAP and you’re writing so many blogs. It was like joining my tribe of people who love continuous learning as I do. That is why, it was natural for me to introduce Mentorship Culture at Int4

Iwona Grzeluk: Edyta, I will challenge you here. You have always taught me that every company has a culture even though they do not name it. Moreover, some companies may name it but in fact they have something totally else inside their teams that they follow.

Promoting Inclusive & Diverse Culture

Edyta Kazmierczak-Pawlak: Yes (laughter), when the management asked me to implement DE&I culture at Int4, I was like – wait a second, every company has a culture. It may be not named but every company has a culture. So give me a little bit of time and I will just come back to you and propose something to you; and that was after a month or something, when I was like, there’s no point in looking for anything else because you were all highly educated and we had had SAP Mentors in the company on board, and you’re writing the books, you’re sharing so much knowledge into the community of SAP. So mentoring was for me obvious at that point and the only thing that we had to do was to name it, shape it, guide the team into the right direction that was aligned with the company goals. Which does not exclude DE&I to be clear. That was a very cool moment for me from the time perspective. 🙂

Everyone Can Be a Mentor

Iwona Grzeluk: Michał, there are two theories about how a mentorship should be shaped, giving some steps and creating a more formal or informal kind of relationship. So what from your perspective is better or what we have at Int4, how we cooperate from your perspective. How do you see that?

Michal Michalski: Yes, I would lean towards the informal kind of mentorship that we cherish here at Int4. As Edyta mentioned, we came to the conclusion that we already had this mentorship culture. It was hence informal, so what was like a kind of another eye opener. It was the fact that it’s a Mentorship Culture and it does not have to rely on having a mentor or mentors being so to speak formally assigned to you. It is more about this Mentorship atmosphere, expecting from people to develop rather than telling them what to do and what kind of decisions they should be making.  It’s more about awareness of everyone that they are actually not only mentees but mentors at the same time. To add to that, our Int4 Moves initiative for example is like showing a path to well-being, building relationships and creating a feeling of belonging.

Edyta Kazmierczak-Pawlak: That is a very important point you’re making here Michał. First of all, as you said the SAP environment, and IT in general, are such vibrant environments, and changing constantly that we actually need to learn for us to be up to date, and be able to advise our Clients at the best service level possible.

Iwona Grzeluki: All the time, every year, every month we have to learn new stuff. And I am talking about HR here as well 🙂 (sigh) For us to support the SAP hiring managers we really need to dive deep into the technicalities and do some Open SAP courses ourselves. Coming back to DE&I Culture. Edyta, you mentioned that it is included. I know what you mean, however, could you explain it a bit to the reader.

Edyta Kazmierczak-Pawlak: Sure, in brief, ok? 🙂 Diversity, equity, and inclusion are three closely linked values held by many organizations that are working to be supportive of different groups of individuals, including people of different races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, genders, and sexual orientations. We at Int4 are open to all aspects and each individual can feel that they are listened to and have an impact on the company. Mentorship Culture helps us realize this approach in a more efficient way from my perspective.

Michal Michalski: Most definitely, it’s also something that resonates with us right when you look at our team and the way we work and cooperate with each other and what kind of diverse team cooperates with us from all around the world.

Iwona Grzeluk: Of the records, you may not even know but when I joined the company the culture was already named. And compared to other companies that I used to work for, I was a bit skeptical.

Edyta Kazmierczak-Pawlak: Really? You did not mention that before. Wow.

Authentic and Valuable Asset

Iwona Grzeluk: Well,  I used to hear my colleagues and friends that were working in inclusive, open, different types of cultures in different companies, and they were telling me that they did not feel authenticity behind it. They felt like those were only empty phrases, empty words and stuff. So I was really surprised hearing about Mentorship Culture and with time learning that it really works and it’s real and not forgotten. If you know what I mean. And as Edyta mentioned,  I am not used to the word tribe but you have a point actually; and I think it is something about it, like it’s a group of very ambitious, open-minded and focused on their professional goals experts.

Edyta Kazmierczak-Pawlak: I would add one more to what you’ve said – passionate about the SAP world. (grinning) 🙂

Edyta Kazmierczak-Pawlak: Michał, and what do you feel is the value in that? I mean Mentorship Culture, from your perspective as the Head of Services?

Onboarding and Skill Development

Michal Michalski: I’m gonna jump in another added value I suppose. I believe those who join Int4 may feel cared for since day one. The onboarding process that is based on our Mentorship Culture gives the newcomers the exact knowledge that is important and needed for them to be successful on the projects. Moreover, it is like giving everybody an understanding of a common goal, that we need to share our knowledge as we are not all on the same projects, exposed to the same SAP newest technologies. Not everybody at Int4 has hands on Machine Learning, Business Process Automation, etc? However thanks to the Mentorship Culture, which is knowledge sharing and our core values, all of us are enabled to jump right into such a project. That is why we have our ALD meetings with HR and team members where we mold the skillset and plan development individually. From my point of view, they are pivotal in our environment. 

Mutual Agreement and Individual Goals

Iwona Grzeluk: You are more than right. Drawing the paths together with our colleagues for them to grow in the areas such as AIF, BTP, Fiori, CPI, ABAP, BRF+, IS, BPA, Machine Learning/AI, RAP etc. is the key to the whole organization and its strategy.

Michal Michalski: And what I like about it is that those paths are mutually agreed and contain both the company goals, the team goals and personal goals of the individual consultant and once we all agree on those we can put them in action over the year and see how we grow.

Edyta Kazmierczak-Pawlak: This is the part that makes me the happiest person when I see our Team grow so much, and it gives me a lot of motivation not to stop developing myself, even though I hear here and there that I am overqualified. (laughter) Changing the course of our conversation. Michał, who is your Mentor?

Michal Michalski: Who is my mentor? I might seek a piece of a mentor in all of us at Int4. We are all mentors and we are all mentees to one another at the same time. And as you say, we learn best by teaching others and thanks to the fact that we have such an attitude to these matters, we have people giving and we have the same people taking and thanks to that we all grow. And that is why our Int4 Academy workshops are so important to us all.

Edyta Kazmierczak-Pawlak: Do you recall, like three years ago, I told you that you were my mentor.

Michal Michalski: Yeah, I recall that I had a big laugh about that.

Edyta Kazmierczak-Pawlak: Yes, you were so surprised. but yeah.

Michal Michalski: It was a very big word at that time still to me, right. 🙂 (laughter)

Mentorship Culture as Road Signs

Michal Michalski: I would mention the soft skills as well. What I like about it is that we have formalized it a bit in the form of training workshops, streams that are available on our learning management system platform along with the aforementioned paths and lessons or courses. Soft Skills is a tough and long term process if someone wants to work on that so it is cool that you have formalized that and we are able to jump into soft skills whenever we are ready to work on them.

Edyta Kazmierczak-Pawlak: Maybe we should wrap up a bit 🙂 as we are not going to be able to discuss every single item here. So I would like to take the opportunity, the Mentorship Month we are celebrating, and cherish the development of our Team and their engagement in sharing the knowledge they gain, not only within our company but within the SAP community as well. So much appreciated from my side as culture is people and their actions, willingness, engagement and all the shamanic events HR organize would be nothing without the like-minded people.

Michal Michalski: So from my side. Ultimately, everyone can be a Mentor. An honest and supportive person who wants to improve others and plans for their own development, and above all, wants to be more competent every day. So this is something we should definitely cherish in our fellow colleagues.

Iwona Grzeluk: I would sum it up that it depends on us, how we want to do it. What we can gain from it. That the Mentorship Culture is like the road signs. We help people. We navigate them. But there is a lot of space for their own ideas and their own development. Not to mention, all year round events that are organized to cherish our team’s moments.

Key Takeaways

  • Implementing Mentorship Culture has been a positive decision for Int4.
  • Informal mentorship is preferred to formal mentorship.
  • Mentorship Culture helps promote DE&I Culture.
  • Int4’s mentorship culture helps onboard new team members and develop their skills.
  • Int4’s mentorship culture is based on mutual agreement and includes both company goals, team goals, and individual goals.
  • Everyone at Int4 can be a mentor.
  • Mentorship Culture is like the road signs that help people navigate their development.

Additional insights

  • The speakers believe that Int4’s Mentorship Culture is authentic and not just empty words.
  • The speakers believe that Int4’s Mentorship Culture helps to create a tribe of like-minded people who are passionate about learning and SAP.

Coming soon

  • Case Study – Elevating Operational Excellence: An SAP Build Process Automation (SAP BPA) Story by Vijender Singh