By Karina Talone, Human Resources, Xerox Spain

Cross Company Mentor

Left to right: Eva Ruiz, Carmen Hernandez, Miguel Angel Pantoja (X-change participant), Ana Pastor, Dolores Perez, Paloma Beamonte (center) General Manager, Xerox Iberia, and X-Change participants Angel Luis Alonso, Irene Ramirez, Jose Fernando and Blanco Sanchez.

(From the editor: The photo above was taken at the X-change kick-off event in 2017. The people are from several companies that participated in the program.)

“Share the Knowledge” has been a mantra in one form or another at Xerox for years. You may have something like this at your company; perhaps it’s called “collaboration” or “breaking silos.” (At Xerox, the operative phrase is “Set the Page Free.”)

Today, more than ever, knowledge and talent are the keys for business performance and success. At Xerox Spain, we have taken a step further and joined a program to share knowledge with other companies.

“Talent is our key asset, so talent development and retention might be our key challenge,” said Xerox Spain general manager Paloma Beamonte. “In a very challenging environment, Xerox must innovate at the same pace as — if not faster than – our customers and our market. This requires a proactive attitude among our employees to keep their skills updated, and motivated to keep Xerox a top-performing organization.”

Cross Company Mentoring

Jesus Moreno and Benji Matarranz participated in 2016 X-Change.

When Laura Cebrian, a Learning and Development Implementation manager, brought the X-Change program to my attention two years ago, I knew we had to get involved. This multi-company program allows us to speed up development of high potential employees in an open environment so that they can learn about best practices at other organizations. Participating X-Change companies use similar business models, but represent different industries. (No one has to worry about giving too much information to a competitor.) The mentors work at the executive level and are committed to engaging their mentees and sharing knowledge. The companies included GE, 3M, AIG, American Express, Oracle and Chanel.

The program consists on back-to-back shadowing, cross-mentoring, blended training initiatives and open house events. Carmen Hernandez and Eva Ruiz from human resources took responsibility for the multiple tasks of organizing events around these activities. Their commitment and energy made Xerox Spain’s participation possible – and successful.

Four of our employees participated in this program as mentees, and four more as mentors. It’s not surprising that this exposure to different organizational cultures allowed everyone to discover new ways of working.

Cebrian, who also acted as an X-Change mentor, pointed out: “Programs like X-Change are a great way to re-energize our employees, and bring fresh air into a highly tenured team.”

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Certainly, learning new ways of working from different organizations is an enriching experience. But the program also inspires employees to improve their performance and share best practices with colleagues in their own organizations.

Cross Company Mentoring

Open Day event in 2016 X-change edition. Xerox people organized a workshop in the showroom for all participants.

“Cross mentoring is a great opportunity to share personal and professional experiences with other people on strong career paths,” said Fernanda Franco a partner specialist for our Indirect Channels group, who was paired with an executive at American Express. “I was inspired to discover how consistency and determination can help you advance in your professional career.”

This type of networking opportunity allows everyone to develop their skills and capabilities by learning from others.

“X-change has given me the opportunity to discover great companies that I knew before, but was not aware of their incredible potential,” said Macarena Perlado, a product marketing manager. “What I have enjoyed the most is being able to work with people inside and outside Xerox, acquiring a more global vision, and be able to detect areas for improvement back here at Xerox.”

At the very least, the X-Change experience allows mentors and mentees alike to examine their own work habits. “I have learned so much from sharing how we work, our challenges and successes with the people I mentored,” Cebrian said. “The experience has given me a wider perspective that I now use when I make decisions for our business.”

Feedback from mentors and mentees across the program indicates success. More than 90 percent would repeat the program, recommend it to others, and believe it provides professional development. Eighty-five percent say they will apply what they have learned to their jobs.

X-Change has confirmed what we already know: Sharing is a very good idea.