“Sun Mentoring: 1996-2009” Published Today

Sun Mentoring: 1996-2009 Sun Labs Technical Report

Publication

I hope you will want to read “Sun Mentoring: 1996-2009”, the newest Sun Laboratories Technical Report by Katy Dickinson, Tanya Jankot, and Helen Gracon, published this morning. You can see the spotlight announcement on Sun Labs’ public home page at http://research.sun.com. The Report number is TR-2009-185.

Announcement
August 28, 2009- Sun Microsystems has benefited from a long-term successful culture of mentoring, especially in its worldwide engineering divisions. About 7,300 mentoring pairs have participated in one of Sun’s formal mentoring programs since 1996. Sun has developed several internal formal worldwide mentoring programs, three of which are still offered. To create this report, the authors analyzed Sun’s 1996-2009 mentoring program data, plus Sunwide data, plus information from a Gartner report on Sun mentoring which focused on the ROI of Sun’s mentoring programs.

Mentoring has paid off for Sun in increased productivity, efficiency, and greater satisfaction among participants. This report presents what Sun did and how Sun did it to allow others to take advantage of the company’s extensive and successful experience with this remarkably effective and versatile business method. So far as is known, this report is unique: no other company has published a long-term detailed analysis about its corporate mentoring program.

Abstract
This paper provides a summary of mentoring information, best practices, metrics, and recommendations developed during 1996-2009 by Sun Microsystems, Inc. Sun provides network computing infrastructure solutions that include computer systems, software, storage and services. The company has a strong corporate culture that values and promotes mentoring. Sun has offered several internally-developed formal mentoring programs, including:

  • SEED (Sun Engineering Enrichment & Development) Katy Dickinson has been SEED’s Director since 2001
  • Mentoring@Sun, managed by Helen Gracon since 1996
  • New Sun Vice Presidents, managed by Helen Gracon since 2004

Mentoring increases effectiveness and efficiency to achieve business results by doing real work, real time. Developing a corporate culture of mentoring is a good way to establish a network of communication across organizational silos, promote a wide variety of talents, and broaden the diversity of ideas and innovation available to the company. The ROI on Sun mentoring has been calculated to be 1,000% or greater.

Mentoring is near the top of most lists of tools that are effective at promoting professional development and advancement in industry. As a business method, mentoring works well generally and also is particularly valuable to women and minorities. These benefits are of special interest to engineering companies and are in addition to more objective productivity measures of mentoring success such as increased performance ratings, higher retention, and more promotions. SEED has been sponsored since 2001 by Dr. Greg Papadopoulos, Sun’s Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Research and Development.

The home page for SEED is http://research.sun.com/SEED.

Originally published: 28 August 2009
Key Links Updated, photo added: 8 April 2016

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