Case Study – Australian Human Resources Institute

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 organisational 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 ten years ago was implemented nationally. The program now attracts more than 1000 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 using the Art of Mentoring program management platform. The platform’s algorithm suggests suitable matches for mentors and mentees, which are checked and ratified 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, as well as online training which is available on the platform. 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, the manager of 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 organisations, 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 check pairings and ensure 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.

Art of Mentoring can help any organisation launch, run or evaluate a mentoring program. For more information please contact us.

australian human resource institute


A guide to unleashing the hidden value in your organisation through high impact strategic mentoring programs.

Most human beings and organisations have one thing in common – they both want to do better. But it’s hard for one to achieve without the other. When you can harness both you can achieve great things.

Unfortunately, most organisational structures are hierarchical, which may aid efficiency but not necessarily “real” human interaction.

Solving the human equation is the cornerstone of great culture and the larger and more diverse the workforce, the more challenging it becomes, even before we factor in things like location, technology and pay rates.

Well designed and managed mentoring programs can have a dramatic impact on workplace culture and people engagement. A strategic mentoring program transcends hierarchy, creating relationships and interactions to build individual and hence organisational value.

In this guide we present you with proven practical insights on how to design, build, implement and automate a high influence mentoring program and create your own ripple effect.

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