Like everything else, workplace mentoring programs have had to pivot this year with the new way we live and work and the current needs of humans. However, we’ve found some silver lining though with new insights that drive utilization and connection. Overall, the roadblocks of the year have helped to encourage new ways of communicating for mentors and mentees and the blockers have lessened.
Prior to the pandemic, the predominant preference for mentoring was for in person. The idea of having remote mentoring programs where people were not in the same geography was harder to adopt. Now, more and more employees are working remotely, so the application of any mentoring program really needs to be virtual, over the phone, or utilizing video conferencing. It’s a new norm and opportunistic for an increase in mentoring interactions. We’ve found that mentoring done virtually is just as effective, if not more effective, because there’s a lower intimidation factor. People are more willing to share when they’ve got a mentor that is not sitting right in front of them.
Mentoring is impacting the strong need for engagement at work. One of the key drivers for employee engagement is having somebody at work that you can count on and that you feel you can trust in having that relationship. So in times of stress, being able to talk to somebody that you trust who is a mentor can really help not only to break down the reasons for what is causing the stress but to also help reflect on possible solutions in order to get to a better outcome more quickly. Having a mentor you can trust can absolutely help with managing the stress of day to day and keep us on task.
Now just might be the best time to encourage mentoring at work leveraging the virtual communication platforms that you have in place already. People need human connection now more than ever before.