Australian Human Resources Institute

Mentoring for Affiliate and Professional Members


Business Challenge

AHRI represents around 20,000 human resources and people management professionals across Australia. AHRI assists members expand their professional networks, stay in touch with the latest industry developments, and build on their HR leadership and management skills.

As a professional association, AHRI looks for ways to create opportunities for meaningful connections between members and enable them to share knowledge and experiences. HR professionals are often at the “pointy end” of workplace issues, being involved in many aspects of organizational change. At the same time the contribution of human resources practitioners is sometimes under-valued by senior managers and peers. While AHRI wants to support all members in their career and professional development, it also looks for ways to provide senior members with a mechanism for “giving back” to the profession.


The Solution

The mentoring program was initially launched regionally and around eight years ago was implemented nationally. The program now attracts more than 1300 participants each year from across Australia (and a small number from other countries). The 12-month program is offered twice a year and is open to any AHRI member. Mentors are experienced HR practitioner members. Both mentors and mentees receive CPD points for their participation.

The 12-month program begins with a formal application process. Applications are hosted and managed centrally, but mentors and mentees are matched by a volunteer panel in their region. Mentors are matched with one or two mentees. Each region hosts its own events at which the program participants can meet, network and may hear a guest speaker.  “Training” or a program orientation is conducted by webinars offered to mentors and mentees in all regions. Participants are also provided with documents and templates to assist their mentoring relationship journey.

Mentees pay $150 to participate. Even though many mentors say they get a lot out of the program, they are not required to pay a fee.


What we like about this program

  1. The program has been fine-tuned and improved over time and continues to grow.
  2. Even though the program appeals to large numbers, there is enough program structure and support at a regional and national level to keep mentoring pairs engaged and on track.
  3. AHRI uses a hybrid funding model – mentees pay a fee and there is also a national sponsor. This gives mentees enough “skin in the game” to commit for the life of the program, and sponsorship support means activities such as networking events can be offered nationally.
  4. The program management and administration is centralized and resourced by AHRI staff


When asked about the key success factor of the program, Anne-Marie Brooks, who manages the AHRI mentoring program said “It’s about managing the relationships between mentors and mentees… helping them to develop sustainable relationships by providing support, tips and tools.” Of course, with members who are HR professionals, many of whom naturally mentor others in their organizations, there would be no shortage of experience and strategies about how to manage a mentoring relationship.



The growth results speak for themselves. Very few mentoring programs of this size run successfully and sustainably, anywhere in the world.

The vast majority of pairings work out successfully, and many mentees go on to become mentors in subsequent programs. Feedback from participants is consistently positive.


Key Learnings

The following two points summarise what AHRI has learnt from conducting the program and that informs future program development:


Mentor/Mentee matching is assisted by local knowledge

Regional volunteer panels know the geography of their region so are able to suggest pairings with a high likelihood of participants being able to meet face-to-face. They also know the local businesses and industries to enable matching within particular industries, sectors or specific interests.


Minimise the reliance on volunteers

AHRI volunteer state councils are very engaged and want to help make the program a success. Regional volunteers in this program assist in the initial matching process and host the events; the rest is managed by AHRI team members.


Where to Next

The AHRI team is interested in having an online mentoring platform to streamline the program management and host participant resources. As the program continues to grow, we think this will probably become necessary.

The AHRI mentoring program also currently offers six month mentoring programs for AHRI student and graduate members to assist in gaining valuable advice and support in the early stages of their career in HR. In addition a new stream in 2016 will accommodate people transitioning from other careers or duties into a role which has HR responsibilities.


Australian Human Resources Mentoring Program

*Regional matching allows most, but not all, pairs to meet face to face.
**Program events are run every few months for both program intakes.  Participants may be at different stages; i.e. events are not specifically organized to coincide with program stages.

AHRI mentoring program enquiries:

NOTE: Art of Mentoring was not involved in the development of the AHRI Mentoring Program. We feature it because it has many of the design features that we like to see in structured programs, and it is successful and growing.


Art of Mentoring can help any organization launch, run or evaluate a mentoring program. For more information please contact us or take a look at our website.

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